A PC needs a minimum of 4GB RAM memory and 64GB of storage, a graphics card compatible with DirectX 12 or later, an 8th generation or newer processor and a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 to *officially* run Windows 11. While TPM is included in all modern PCs, the compatible processor list is indeed short and absurd.
Only 8th generation or newer processors are officially supported. Owners of relatively recent PCs with 7th Gen Intel Core CPUs are ineligible for Windows 11. While processors like Core i7-7660U are not on the list of supported CPUs, it is still possible to install the OS by modifying Registry.
In one of the Windows Insider webcasts where the company teased a new colourful Task Manager, one of the employees was spotted running Windows 11 on Core i7-7660U. A Program Manager at Microsoft showed off his Windows 11 desktop and Task Manager running on a device equipped with Core i7-7660U.
It’s possible that the screenshot is from a virtual machine, but it doesn’t really matter as virtualization uses the underlying physical CPU, which means the employee’s hardware was indeed running Windows 11 installation on a Core i7-7660U.
Revisiting Microsoft’s absurd CPU requirements for Windows 11
The list of supported Intel processors didn’t change and won’t be changing when Windows 11 version 22H2 launches in the fall. Microsoft has previously said it “analyzed” the 7th- generation of Intel hardware including the powerful Core i7 lineup and concluded that the lineup doesn’t deserve to be officially supported.
In a long blog post, Microsoft justified the new system requirements by citing the performance and security benefits of new processors. By enforcing the stricter standards, the company plans to make Windows 11 PCs more secure, reliable and faster than their predecessors.
According to Microsoft telemetry, devices failing to meet the minimum system requirements had 52% more kernel mode crashes. On the other hand, supported hardware had a 99.8% crash-free experience.
This data doesn’t mean Windows 11 is bug-free. In fact, a quick glance at Feedback Hub reveals that the operating system is plagued with numerous bugs, including a slow context menu.
Microsoft’s CPU requirements don’t make sense, but the company’s argument is acceptable when it comes to the security argument.
That’s because the TPM 2.0 enables hardware-based authentication and it significantly improves the overall security standard of the operating system by enforcing features like secure storage of Bitlocker disk encryption keys.