How to upgrade to Windows 11, whether your PC is supported or not [Updated]

How to upgrade to Windows 11, whether your PC is supported or not [Updated]

Enlarge / You name it, we’ve tried installing Windows 11 on it.

Andrew Cunningham

We originally published this installation guide for Windows 11 shortly after the operating system’s release in October 2021. To keep it current and as useful as possible, we updated it in August 2022 to cover adjustments Microsoft has made to the Windows Installer for version 22H2, and some new fixes for unsupported systems.

Windows 11 has been available for almost a year and its first major update will be released sometime in the next few weeks. Even if our original review didn’t convince you to upgrade, you may be thinking about doing so now that it’s more established and some of the biggest early bugs have been ironed out.

We’ve gathered all sorts of resources to create a comprehensive installation guide for upgrading to Windows 11. This includes tips and some step-by-step instructions to activate officially required features like your TPM and Secure Boot, as well as unofficial ways to bypass the checks. system requirements on “unsupported” PCs, because Microsoft is not your parent and therefore cannot tell you what to do.

I’ve had Windows 11 running on PCs as old as a Dell Inspiron 530 from 2008, and while I’m not saying this is something should do is something you they can do.

How do I get Windows 11?

The easiest way to get Windows 11 is to check Windows Update on a fully up-to-date and compatible Windows 10 PC. But if you don’t see it there, or if you have a lot of computers to upgrade and only want to download the new OS once, there are other options.

Microsoft offers several ways to download Windows 11 manually. One is to use the Install Assistant application, which you install on your PC to trigger a normal update installation through Windows Update. The second is to use the Windows 11 Media Creation Tool, which automates the process of creating a bootable USB installation drive or downloading an installation ISO file. Once you have a USB drive, you can either boot from it to do a clean install, or run the Setup app from within Windows 10 to do a normal update install. You can also burn the ISO to a DVD, but installing from any USB drive, even an older USB 2.0 drive, will be much faster, so you shouldn’t do this. Finally, you can download an ISO file directly from the Microsoft site.

Do I have to pay for it?

Windows 11 is a free upgrade to Windows 10. So if you’re running Windows 10 Home or Pro on your PC, regardless of whether or not your PC is officially supported, you’ll be able to install and activate the equivalent edition of Windows. eleven

If you are installing Windows 11 on a new PC that you built yourself, you must officially purchase a Windows 10 or Windows 11 license. These can be purchased from retail sites like Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, or directly from Microsoft for between $120 and $140. unofficiallyyou can buy a working Windows product key from product key reselling websites for between $15 and $40. Many of these sites are sketchy and we won’t link to any of them directly, but it is an option to get a working key.

Also, unofficially, I’ve had some success using older Windows 7 and Windows 8 product keys to activate equivalent editions of Windows 11. It’s an open secret that the Windows 10 installer would continue to accept these older product keys long after release. Official version”. The Windows 10 free upgrade offer expired in 2016, and in our tests at least, those keys have continued to work for Windows 11.

What does my PC need to be “supported”?

Let’s reiterate the Windows 11 system requirements:

  • A “compatible” 1 GHz or faster dual-core 64-bit processor from Intel, AMD, or Qualcomm
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB of storage
  • UEFI Secure Boot supported and enabled
  • A Trusted Platform Module (TPM), version 2.0
  • A DirectX 12 compatible GPU with a WDDM 2.0 driver
  • A 720p screen larger than 9 inches in size

Windows 11 Home requires a Microsoft account and Internet connectivity; Windows 11 Pro can still be used with a local account in Windows 11 version 21H1, but in the 22H2 update, the Pro version will also require a Microsoft account sign-in. There are solutions for this that we will see later.

The processor requirement is the most restrictive; Supported processors include 8th Generation Intel Core processors and newer, as well as AMD Ryzen 2000 series processors and newer. These are all chips that were released in late 2017 and early 2018. Older computers can’t officially run Windows 11. This is a big difference from Windows 10, which made sure to support pretty much anything that could run Windows. 7. either windows 8

We delve deeper into the reasoning behind these requirements (and whether they hold water) in our review. But the big three are the CPU requirement, the TPM requirement, and the Secure Boot requirement.

How can I know if my PC is compatible?

When you open Windows Update in Windows 10, it might tell you whether or not your PC is compatible. But the easiest way to check manually is with Microsoft’s PC Health Check app. The first versions of this application were not very good, but the current version will tell you if your PC is compatible and also why is or is not supported.

If you’re not using a supported processor, plan to upgrade to a supported CPU or skip to the section where we talk about installing Windows 11 on unsupported PCs.

If your processor is supported but doesn’t meet the TPM or Secure Boot requirements, the good news is that unless something is seriously wrong with your PC, both should be features you can enable in your PC’s BIOS.

How do I get into the BIOS of my PC?

You can usually enter your BIOS by pressing any key after you turn on your PC, but before Windows starts to boot. The key varies, but the most common include the Delete key, F2 (for Dell systems), F1 (for Lenovo systems), or F10 (for HP systems).

The consistent but most roundabout way to open your BIOS is to go to the Windows Settings app, then Windows Update, then Recovery, then Restart now under “Advanced startup”. On the basic blue screen you see below, click Troubleshoot, then Advanced Options, then UEFI Firmware Settings.

How do I enable my TPM?

Enabling your processor’s embedded firmware TPM is easy, but finding the settings to do it sometimes isn’t. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, try searching for “[manufacturer of your computer or motherboard] enable TPM”, because many manufacturers have created help pages specifically for Windows 11.

For Intel systems, if you cannot find a setting marked “TPM” somewhere in the chipset or security settings, search for “Platform Trust Technology” or “PTT” and enable it. AMD systems generally refer to it as “fTPM”, although you may also see it called “Platform Security Processor” or “PSP”.

Once you’ve enabled your TPM, restart Windows and look at Device Manager or use the Health Check app to make sure it’s working properly.

How do I enable secure boot?

Any computer made since Windows 8 was released in 2012 should support Secure Boot, which helps prevent unsigned and potentially malicious software from loading during your PC’s boot process. You should be able to enable it in your PC’s BIOS if it’s not already enabled, usually in a “Security” or “Boot” section. As with enabling your TPM, if you can’t find the setting, check your PC or motherboard manual.

If your computer won’t boot after enabling Secure Boot, don’t worry, you just need to take a couple of extra steps. Most likely it won’t boot because your hard drive or SSD is configured with an MBR (or Master Boot Record) partition table instead of the newer GPT (GUID Partition Table) format that Secure Boot and UEFI require.

To check, right-click the Start button or use the keyboard shortcut Windows + X and then click Disk Management in the menu that appears. Right-click on any drive that Windows is installed on (on most computers, this will be Disk 0, but not always if you have multiple hard drives), then click Properties, then check the tab Volumes. If your partition style is listed as MBR then you will need to convert the drive.

If your drive uses the older MBR partition style, you will need to convert it to GPT before you can enable Secure Boot.

If your drive uses the older MBR partition style, you will need to convert it to GPT before you can enable Secure Boot.

Andrew Cunningham

To convert from MBR to GPT on Windows 10:

  • Open Settings, then Windows Update, then Recovery, and click “Restart now” under “Advanced startup.”
  • When your PC restarts, click the Troubleshoot button, then Advanced Options, then Command Prompt.
  • In the command prompt window, type mbr2gpt /validate to make sure the unit can be converted. Then write mbr2gpt /convert to convert unit.
  • When you’re done, re-enable Secure Boot in your BIOS and your PC should boot normally.

If this conversion fails for some reason, the easiest option may be to perform a clean reinstall of Windows 10 or 11 with Secure Boot enabled. When you format the drive and install Windows from a bootable USB stick, it will use GPT instead of MBR.

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