Windows 11 install unsupported state
Not recommended

How to install Windows 11 on an unsupported hardware

You can upgrade an incompatible computer to Windows 11 at your own risk, and here are two methods to complete the task.

If you have a computer with unsupported hardware, you may still be able to upgrade to Windows 11, but not from Windows Update. Instead, you will have to use the Media Creation Tool or ISO file to perform a clean install or in-place upgrade manually. 

Microsoft will leave the workaround open, but it won’t mention it anywhere in the documentation, nor it will be supported. According to the company, the ability to install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware will be an option for organizations to test Windows 11. However, anyone could upgrade at their own risk knowing that there won’t be any guarantee on system stability and compatibility for drivers.

All of this only means that if you choose to install Windows 11 on incompatible hardware, you will be able to continue with the setup manually, but you will be informed that the upgrade will be in an unsupported state. Microsoft defines an “unsupported state” as a computer that does not meet the minimum system requirements, and as a result, it won’t be entitled to receive updates from Windows Update. Although it is likely that these devices will receive updates anyway, the company won’t be obligated to provide security and driver updates or technical support.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to install Windows 11 on a computer with incompatible hardware. Since the device does not officially support the new OS, it’s not recommended to use this workaround unless you know the risks and you understand that stability, compatibility, and updates are not guaranteed. (See also this video tutorial on the Pureinfotech YouTube channel with all the steps to complete this task.)

Windows 11 system requirements for unsupported hardware

These are the unofficial minimum system requirements required to install Windows 11 on an unsupported computer:

  • Processor: 1GHz or faster CPU or System on a Chip (SoC) with two or more cores.
  • RAM: 4GB.
  • Hard drive: 64GB or larger.
  • System firmware: UEFI.
  • TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 1.2.
  • Graphics: Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver.
  • Display resolution: High definition (720p) display that is greater than 9” diagonally, 8 bits per color channel.

Install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware with ISO file

If you would be using the ISO file to perform a clean installation, you will need to create a bootable media using a third-party tool like Rufus or with Command Prompt to start the setup process with a USB flash drive. 

In addition, you also have to make sure the device can start from USB, which means you will have to change the UEFI settings. Since these settings are different on most computers, you will have to check your manufacturer support website for more specific details.

To install Windows 11 on an unsupported computer, use these steps:

  1. Start the unsupported PC with the Windows 11 USB flash drive.

  2. Press any key to continue.

  3. Click the Next button.

    Windows 11 Setup

  4. Click the Install now button.

    Windows 11 install option

  5. Click the I don’t have a product key option if you are doing a reinstallation. If Windows 11 was already activated after the installation, reactivation would happen automatically.

    Skip license key option

  6. Select the edition of “Windows 11” that your license key activates (if applicable).

  7. Check the I accept the license terms option.

  8. Click the Next button.

  9. Select the Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) option.

    Windows 11 custom install option

  10. Select each partition in the hard drive you want to install Windows 11 and click the Delete button. (Usually, the “Drive 0” is the drive that contains all the installation files.)

    Delete partitions Windows 11 setup

    Warning: When you delete a partition, it also deletes all data on the drive. Also, it is not required to delete the partitions from a secondary hard drive.
  11. Select the hard drive (Drive 0 Unallocated Space) to install Windows 11 on an unsupported device.

    Clean install Windows 11 on unallocated space

  12. Click the Next button.

  13. Select your region setting after the installation on the first page of the out-of-the-box experience (OOBE).

    Windows 11 OOBE region

  14. Click the Yes button.

  15. Select your keyboard layout setting.

    Keyboard layout

  16. Click the Yes button.

  17. Click the Skip button if you do not need to configure a second layout.

  18. If the computer is using an Ethernet connection, it will connect to the network automatically. If you have a wireless connection, you will need to set up the connection manually (a security key may be required).

  19. (Optional) Confirm a name for the computer.

    Windows 11 OOBE name PC

  20. Click the Next button. (The device will restart automatically.)

  21. Select the Set up for personal use option if you are setting Windows 11 Pro. The “Home” edition does not have this option.

    Windows 11 setup types

  22. Click the Next button.

  23. Confirm your Microsoft account email, phone number, or Skype identification to create an account.

    Create Windows 11 account

  24. Click the Next button.

  25. Confirm your Microsoft account password.

  26. Click the Next button.

  27. Click the Create PIN button.

    Windows 11 OOBE create PIN

  28. Create a new four-digit PIN.

    Create account PIN

  29. Click the OK button.

  30. Select the Set up as new device option. Or select to restore your settings from a previous installation.

    Windows 11 OOBE restore settings

  31. Click the Next button.

  32. Confirm your privacy settings that best suit your situation by turning on or off the toggle switch for each setting.

    Windows 11 OOBE privacy settings

  33. Click the Next button.

  34. Click the Next button again.

  35. Click the Accept button.

    Privacy settings continued

  36. (Optional) On the “Customize your device” page, select one or more ways you plan to use the device to allow the setup to suggest tools and services customization during this experience.

    Windows 11 OOBE customize experience

  37. Click the Accept button to continue. Or click the Skip button to skip this part of the setup.

  38. Select the Back up my files with OneDrive to automatically upload your Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folders to the cloud. Or Select the Only save file to this PC option.

    Windows 11 OOBE backup files to OneDrive

  39. Click the Next button.

  40. Click the No, thanks button to skip the Microsoft 365 setup.

    Skip Office installation

Once you complete the steps, Windows 11 will install in an unsupported state, which means that you may or may not get security or driver updates.

Install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware with Media Creation Tool

Alternatively, you can also use the Media Creation Tool to perform an in-place upgrade from any version of Windows 10 to Windows 11 on a device that doesn’t meet the system requirements.

To upgrade to an incompatible computer to Windows 11 with the Media Creation Tool, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft support website (not yet available).

  2. Click the Download tool now button.

  3. Save the installer to the device.

  4. Double-click the MediaCreationTool21H2.exe file to launch the tool.

  5. Click the Accept button.

  6. Select the Upgrade this PC now option.

    Upgrade this PC now

  7. Click the Accept button again.

  8. Select the option to keep your files and apps (unless it’s not already checked).

  9. Click the Install button.

    Media Creation Tool install option

After you complete the steps, the setup will continue upgrading the laptop or desktop computer to the new release of the operating system. However, Windows 11 will run in an unsupported state that won’t guarantee updates of any kind, nor you will be able to receive support from Microsoft.

This guide outlines two methods to install Windows 11, but it’s worth noting that you can also perform a clean installation using the Media Creation Tool by selecting the option to keep nothing during the installation or using the USB option to create a bootable media. Also, you can mount the ISO file in File Explorer to being the upgrade process without having to create a bootable media.