What if my PC is not compatible with Windows 11?

24 hours after the officialization of Windows 11, Microsoft seems caught in the panade because of problems concerning the compatibility of Windows 11. A certain artistic vagueness seems to reign as for the list of the eligible PCs for this update.

Since the officialization of Windows 11 by Microsoft on June 24, 2021, the most technophile corners of the Internet are rustling with anguish. Many machines, however recent and expensive, would not be compatible with the future version of Windows. Even some Surface computers marketed directly by Microsoft would be unable to run Windows 11.

If you have also taken the test and the Microsoft tool tells you that your machine is not compatible, here are some tips.

Do not panic

The first thing to do if you think your machine is not eligible for the update is to take a step back. Microsoft’s communication is very muddled and does not help at all to see clearly on the subject.

First, the compatibility check tool provided by the company seems to be doing its own thing and showing false negatives. Even technically eligible machines face an error message stating that Windows 11 is not compatible.

The dreaded Windows 11 incompatibility message

This would be due to the fact that there are, in reality, two different levels of compatibility to run Windows 11. A first nicknamed “minimum threshold” (whose requirements are detailed here) and a second more stringent named “threshold advised ”which is more stringent on compatible processors. As a result, machines with more than the minimum required threshold (like our test machine) are listed as incompatible, because their processors are not part of the list established by Microsoft.

A test software update should arrive soon according to Steve Dispensa, a product manager at Microsoft. It is therefore urgent to wait for the moment.

Check TPM compatibility

The most discriminating criterion for moving to Windows 11 is probably the need to have a TPM chip. Behind this acronym hides a small cryptographic module which takes care of encrypting certain aspects of your system. Most computers since 2015 have it, but if you want to verify that this is the case with your machine, there is a not (too) complicated way to do it.

Go to the Windows search bar and type ” tpm.msc “. This should open a window that will tell you whether or not the module is enabled. If this is not the case, you will have to go snooping in the BIOS (the boot system) of your machine.

Checking TPM compatibility is not too complicated on Windows // Source: Screenshot

This usually involves hammering a key when you start your computer and before Windows starts up. It is often the “F2”, “F10” or “Esc” key that provides access to this advanced management tool. If you can’t find the correct key, a quick search for “BIOS + your computer model” should help you out.

Once in the BIOS, look for an indication of the acronym “TPM” (or “PTT” depending on the motherboard,) and check that the option is activated. If not, make the change and restart your machine.

Wait for the fall

The problem with Windows 11 is ultimately not so much related to its eligibility criteria – which are not that demanding – as to the chaotic communication from Microsoft on the subject.

It’s a safe bet that the publisher of Windows will not put millions of users on the floor by imposing a threshold that is too high for its new system. This would only fragment Windows and make life harder for development teams.

The best thing to do is therefore to wait for the situation to settle down and to see if, by next fall, Microsoft will have improved its communication on the subject. And if it turns out that your computer is really not compatible, fear not, Windows 10 will still be maintained by Microsoft until 2025.

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