Microsoft has announced the present minimum specification requirements for devices eligible to run its soon-to-be-released Windows 11 OS, confounding large swathes of its user base within the process.
Traditionally, new versions of Microsoft’s Windows OS tend to possess very low minimum spec requirements, allowing the overwhelming majority of users to upgrade to every remake painlessly.
For example, both previous iterations of the OS, Windows 8 and Windows 10 required an easily obtainable 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM (or double that for the 64-bit version), and a paltry 16GB of storage (four more gigabytes required for the 64-bit version).
On the one hand, this allowed casual users to retain their laptops and computers for an extended period, provided their machines didn’t experience any technical faults. On the opposite hand, this enabled IT, administrators to more easily navigate bulk computer purchases and plan their updates accordingly, safe within the knowledge that moderately specified laptops and terminals could easily pass the minimum spec threshold when a subsequent version of Windows hit the market.
With the upcoming Windows 11, Microsoft has firmly bucked this trend, explaining that only recently. Comparatively, high-end components will be necessary if a user wants to upgrade to their new OS.
“We are confident that devices running on Intel 8th generation processors and AMD Zen 2 also because the Qualcomm 7 and eight Series will meet our principles around security and reliability and minimum system requirements for Windows 11,” Microsoft explained during a blog entry.
While newer and more high-end processors are often pursued or their ability to perform better, this doesn’t seem to be the rationale Microsoft makes them obligatory for Windows 11 users.
“Microsoft’s CPU selections for Windows 11 don’t appear much in the least to try to to with performance but appear as if security mitigations for side-channel attacks,” principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy Patrick Moorhead told American outlet the Verge.
“It also helps chipmakers focus driver work on the longer term, not the past,” Moorhead added.
Since the first reveal of the new minimum spec requirements, Microsoft has provided an update, explaining that more processors may become approved for Windows 11. However, Microsoft has explained that seventh-generation processors will be as far back because the company will go when it involves approving components.
“As we release to Windows Insiders and partner with our OEMs, we’ll test to spot devices running on Intel 7th generation and AMD Zen 1 which will meet our principles,” Microsoft said.
“We’re committed to sharing updates with you on the results of our testing over time, also as sharing additional technical blogs,” the corporate added.
Microsoft specifically cites three main reasons they need to resort to such high requirements: security, reliability, and compatibility.
In terms of security, the corporate explains that machines running Windows 11 will be ready to run new security measures, including Windows Hello, Device Encryption, virtualization-based security (VBS), hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI), and Secure Boot.
“The combination of those features has been shown to scale back malware by 60 percent on tested devices,” Microsoft noted.
“To meet the principle, all Windows 11 supported CPUs have an embedded TPM, support secure boot, and support VBS and specific VBS capabilities,” they added.