Windows 11 24H2 AI Explorer may only work on ARM, not Intel or AMD processors

According to new system requirements, an AI PC doesn't mean it will support all AI features on Windows 11.

Windows 11 Copilot UI
Windows 11 Copilot UI
  • Microsoft could make its biggest AI Explorer feature in 2024 exclusive to ARM-based devices.
  • The feature could also require a minimum of 16GB of RAM and 225GB of storage.
  • These requirements are in addition to the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chips with NPU.
  • This is according to new hardware requirements found in the latest preview of Windows 11 24H2.

If you were waiting to upgrade to Windows 11 24H2 to access the new “AI Explorer” feature, you would be disappointed that Microsoft plans to make it an exclusive feature for “AI PCs” with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon X Elite processor.

According to some leaked information posted by @thisbookisclosed on X, Windows 11 24H2 will require an ARM64 processor with Qualcomm NPU (QCOM0D0A), at least 16GB of memory, and 225GB of storage to access the “AI Explorer.”

The requirements were spotted in the latest preview of Windows 11 (build 26100.1) available in the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider Program.

Windows 11 24H2 requirements file
Windows 11 24H2 requirements file / Image: @thebookisclosed

Although this information isn’t official, it matches previous rumors that the next Windows version would increase the RAM requirement from 4GB to 16GB to run AI tasks.

The surprising piece of information is that the requirements are specific to Qualcomm hardware, meaning that some AI features for version 24H2 won’t be supported on AI PCs featuring processors with Neural Processing Units (NPUs) from Intel or AMD.

It’s unclear whether these new hardware requirements are a result of Qualcomm’s exclusivity or whether the NPUs are so different from architecture to architecture that the AI capabilities will also be limited depending on the class of processor.

Microsoft will host another media event in May 2024, during which the company is expected to launch the Surface devices for consumers (including a new variant powered by Snapdragon X Elite chips) and share more details on the upcoming AI features for Windows 11 24H2, which also includes the new “AI Explorer.”

The rumor is that the “AI Explorer” is internally touted as an advanced Copilot featuring a timeline functionality that tracks your activities and makes everything searchable on your computer through AI.

The new feature will allow you to access a timeline-like interface, which you can use with natural language to search for documents, web pages, conversations, and more across apps.

Now, a new question will arise among users: Will existing devices running Windows 11 be able to upgrade to version 24H2? The short answer is yes. If you have a computer already running the latest version of the operating system, you should be able to upgrade to version 24H2.

In fact, you will even be able to upgrade from Windows 10 to 11 as long as the computer has at least a supported 64-bit processor, 4GB of RAM, TPM 2.0, Secure Boot, and at least 64GB of storage.

The new system hardware requirements will only apply to access some specific AI features, such as AI Explorer.

It’s important to note that this is not definitive, as the requirements could change when the new version is released. It could also be the case where the feature will first come to ARM devices, and later on, it could expand to other architectures. However, if the company pushes these changes forward, it will be a slap in the face for Intel and AMD, as the latest processors won’t be enough to power every AI task.

If this is the case, a computer that meets the criteria to be an “AI PC” but cannot take advantage of all the AI features, is it really an AI PC?

Should Microsoft make all its AI features available for all AI PCs? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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].