Can I install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware? Yes, using ISO or Media Creation Tool

Microsoft won't block you from installing Windows 11 on unsupported hardware, but it won't officially recommend or support this method.

Windows 11 update install
Windows 11 update install
  • Windows 11 will install on unsupported hardware, but only using an ISO or Media Creation Tool.
  • Unsupported PCs using the Windows Update won’t upgrade to the new version.
  • Microsoft also updates the minimum hardware requirement to include 7th Gen, Core X, and Xeon W processors.

Windows 11 will run on unsupported hardware, but it will only be possible using the Media Creation Tool or ISO file. When Microsoft first announced its next version of Windows, it introduced a new set of minimum requirements that revealed that older machines with anything lower than a 7th Gen Intel and 1st Gen AMD Zen processors would not run Windows 11. However, the company is now relaxing the enforcements that will allow millions of unsupported devices to upgrade to the new version, but there are several caveats.

First, the company won’t block older laptops and desktop computers from installing Windows 11, as long as you use the ISO file or Media Creation Tool to upgrade or perform a clean installation manually. However, the upgrade restriction will be enforced through Windows Update, so if the device is running Windows 10 but not compatible with the new version, it won’t upgrade automatically.

Second, since Microsoft will stick to its original minimum hardware requirements, the company says that the workaround is only meant to allow organizations to test Windows 11. However, anyone could upgrade at their own risk since there won’t be any guarantee on system stability and compatibility for drivers.

Furthermore, the company won’t be recommending to anyone to use this method to upgrade a computer with incompatible hardware to Windows 11, but it will be possible.

Technically, nothing much has really changed from the original announcement. The only difference is that when trying to perform a clean installation or in-place upgrade using the ISO file or Media Creation Tool, you will be able to continue with the installation. However, you will still be informed that the upgraded laptop or desktop will be in an unsupported state.

Microsoft defines an “unsupported state” as a device that does not meet the minimum system requirements, and as a result, they won’t be entitled to receive updates from Windows Update. While it is likely that these devices will receive updates anyway, the company will not be obligated to provide security and driver updates or technical support.

Fourth, although most unsupported devices will be able to upgrade, they will still need a 64-bit processor with at least two cores, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and TPM 1.2 to continue with the Windows 11 installation.

Alongside the upgrade changes, the company is adding some modifications to the minimum hardware requirements to include Intel’s Core X and Xeon W processors. Also, it’s adding the 7th Gen Intel Core 7820HQ to the compatibility list, which happens to be the processor inside the Surface Studio 2. However, the process is only supported on the device that originally came with Declarative, Componentized, Hardware Support Apps (DCH) drivers.

Finally, after some consideration and testing, Microsoft and AMD have also concluded that they won’t be supporting the 1st Get Zen processors.

The reasoning behind the new Windows 11 hardware requirements is that on tests, the company has reported 52 percent more kernel mode crashes (Blue Screen of Death) on the device configurations that do not meet the minimum requirements. On the other hand, computers that met the new requirements had only a 0.2 percent crash rate, translating to a 99.8 percent crash-free experience.

In conclusion, to answer the question of whether or not you can upgrade a computer that doesn’t meet the requirements of Windows 11, the answer is “yes.” However, it’ll be at your own risk. Also, consider that depending on how Microsoft plans to ship updates, you may end having to install drivers manually, you may not receive security updates, and you will be more likely to run into compatibility issues and crashes.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].