I installed Windows 11 on an incompatible PC and it is running fine (for now)

The new Windows has arrived. The very first official version of the system was made available on June 28, 2021 by Microsoft. We installed it on a machine that was marked as incompatible. Feedback from experience.

With the announcement of Windows 11 on June 24, Microsoft has raised some controversy over the compatibility of its new operating system with certain PCs. A time listed as compatible with the vast majority of computers in circulation, Windows 11 now seems to be reserved for machines with a processor validated by Microsoft (i.e. all those released after around 2017). Enough to encourage PC owners to buy new hardware at the worst possible time.

Technically, my HP Specter computer bought in early 2017 is therefore not compatible with the new system because of its 7th generation Intel processor (the 7200U for the curious). But during the beta-testing phase, Microsoft lets incompatible computers test its system in order to make potential adjustments to the minimum technical requirements of Windows 11. So I took the plunge, and since I had registered for the Windows Insider program before June 24, I was able to install this first version of Windows 11 on my machine.

First successful contact

After a long download, an equally long installation, and several reboots, my computer displayed the Windows 11 login screen without flinching. Once my password entered, the new Windows interface, with its centered Menu and its aesthetic redesign, presented itself to me without a single error message.

The system seems to be working quite correctly, even though my machine hissed severely during the first half hour of use. In view of the many adventures that my PC has known for 5 years, nothing abnormal, the fan already tended to get excited even on Windows 10. Once the whole system is in place, the processor is almost never mounted beyond 50% use.

A working environment under Windows 11 // Source: Screenshot

Even with Photososhop and several Firefox windows open, the machine held up (even if the 8 GB of RAM are used to the maximum). Everything is not instantaneous like on a newer machine, and the PC is not faultless when it comes to performance, but a 5 year old machine rarely is anyway. I quickly regained my habits and even started my working day on it without ever being disturbed by the usual hiccups of a machine pushed to its limits.

Android apps aren’t here yet

The test is obviously limited. The system came out yesterday (June 28, 2021) and I only installed it on one machine. A machine, moreover, not so old, and which still has many years ahead before it becomes obsolete. But this shows all the same that this new Windows can be deployed easily on certain machines considered to be “incompatible”. It will be necessary to see, however, if the next beta does not complicate matters.

This rather conclusive experience is not due to the prowess of my proud computer. This first version of Windows 11 is also rather neat. The graphic redesign flatters the eye: everything seems more modern and more sophisticated, especially on the side of the file explorer which needed a fresh start for many years. The focus on the animations during the deployment and the minimization of a window also gives a very fluid side to the whole.

Windows 11 and its centered Start Menu // Source: Screenshot

However, all the features announced during the conference are not yet there. For example, it is impossible to install Android apps on Windows via the Microsoft Store. Others, like the predefined arrangement of windows, are present, but still a little capricious, not all software being compatible yet.

Microsoft’s funny policy

Other small potentially annoying bugs like the fact that the taskbar is not displayed on a second screen remind us that I am still on a beta version, but nothing fundamentally blocking at the moment. Even window “groups” that maximize 2 apps side by side work well.

The fact that I can spend my working day comfortably on a Windows 11 machine gives encouraging signals about the maturity of the system and its compatibility with third-party applications. However, we do not advise you to install Windows 11 on your main machine: you never know which bug may still be hiding in the system and which applications will have trouble functioning. The list of bugs found by Microsoft is available on the company’s blog.

If Windows 11 is still far from being finished, this first contact with the system is rather encouraging, and its effectiveness on a machine technically marked as incompatible still questions a little more about the current policy led by Microsoft.

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