It looked like it was all over for any CPU older than Intel's eighth-generation chips and AMD's Ryzen 2000 series for Windows 11, which would be locked forever to the new operating system. Fortunately, however, this may not be the case: Microsoft has confirmed that it is studying compatibility with the 7th generation AMD Ryzen 1000 and Intel CPUs with the release of the first privileged version of Windows 11.
"As we publish to Windows Insiders and partner with our OEMs, we will try to identify devices that work with Intel 7th Generation and AMD Zen 1 that can meet our principles," the company said in a post to block.
"We are committed to sharing updates with you about our test results over time, as well as sharing additional technical blocks."
From Microsoft The Windows 11 CPU requirements may be subject to change, so that will probably be music for some PC owners. Currently, Microsoft claims that anything lower than the eighth generation of Intel or AMD's Ryzen 2000 series will not cut it for Windows 11, but it is still unclear what exactly prevents older CPUs, some of which are which are still relatively modern, work as intended with the new OS.
For example, Microsoft says that Ryzen 2000 CPUs will work with Windows 11, but the Ryzen 1000 series chips will not, although there have been relatively few changes between the Zen and Zen + architectures at the center.
Intel's chip generations are perhaps even more iterative at the point of no return for Windows 11. 7th-generation Kaby Lake and 8th-generation Coffee Lake from Intel are based on nearly identical architectures, but only the rear chips will work.
Most modern chips will even exceed the actual minimum specifications for Windows 11: a 1 GHz or faster processor with two or more cores.
Microsoft argues that there are more things than that, and says the fourth three guiding principles for Windows 11: security, reliability, and compatibility. They don’t really make things as clear, needless to say, and the actual underlying requirements of Windows 11 remain as nebulous as ever.
Microsoft also removed a line from its latest blog post specifying that Intel 6th Gen and AMD pre-Zen chips would definitely not work with Windows 11, it reports Tom Warren of The Verge. Not sure what this means for older CPU compatibility? Neither do we.
There will be more to report on the Windows 11 compatibility saga before the operating system launches later this year, but that seems clear. For now, Microsoft has released its Health Check for PC application, so you'll need to explore your PC's specifications to see if yours is compatible with your operating system update.