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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]

Zoom / You name it, we tried installing Windows 11 on it.

Andrew Cunningham

We originally published this installation guide for Windows 11 shortly after the OS was released in October 2021. To keep it as up-to-date and useful as possible, we updated it in August 2022 to cover Microsoft’s modifications to the Windows installer for version 22H2, and some new solutions for unsupported systems .

Windows 11 has been shutting down for nearly a year, and Its first major update It will be released sometime in the next few weeks. even if Our original review It didn’t convince you to upgrade, you might be thinking about it now that it’s more established and some of the biggest early bugs have been fixed.

We’ve gathered all kinds of resources together to create a comprehensive installation guide for upgrading to Windows 11. This includes tips and some step-by-step instructions for getting officially required features like TPM and Secure Boot to work, as well as official and unofficial ways to get around system requirement checks on “unsupported” PCs Because Microsoft is not your father and therefore cannot tell you what to do.

I’ve been running Windows 11 on old computers like the Dell Inspiron 530 from 2008, and while I’m not saying that’s something you should You do, it’s something you Can an act.

How do I get Windows 11?

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

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Microsoft offers several ways to Download Windows 11 manually. The first is to use the Installation Assistant application, which you install on your computer to run a normal upgrade installation via 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 ISO file for installation. 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 upgrade install. You can also burn an ISO to a DVD, but installing from any USB drive, even an old USB 2.0 drive, will be much faster, so you shouldn’t do that. Finally, you can just download the ISO file Directly from the Microsoft site.

Do I need to pay for it?

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

If you are installing Windows 11 on a new PC that you have created yourself, you must officially purchase a Windows 10 or Windows 11 license. It can be purchased from retail websites such as AmazonAnd the NewAnd the best buyor directly from Microsoft Between $120 and $140. UnofficialYou can buy a working Windows product key from product key resale sites for anywhere from $15 to $40. Many of these sites are sketchy, and we won’t link to any of them directly, but it’s one option for getting a working key.

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Also, unofficially, I’ve had some success using old Windows 7 and Windows 8 product keys to activate equivalent versions of Windows 11. It’s an open secret that the Windows 10 installer will continue to accept these old product keys long after the “official” Windows upgrade offer 10 free Expired in 2016And, at least in our tests, these switches continued to work with Windows 11.

What does my computer need to “support”?

Let’s repeat the Windows 11 system requirements:

  • A “compatible” 1 GHz or faster 64-bit dual-core processor from Intel CorporationAnd the AMDor Qualcomm
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 64 GB of storage
  • UEFI Secure Boot is supported and enabled
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM), v2.0
  • DirectX 12 compatible GPU with WDDM 2.0 driver
  • 720p screen larger than 9 inches

Windows 11 Home requires a Microsoft account and Internet connection; 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 you to be signed in to a Microsoft account. There are solutions to this that we will cover later.

Processor requirements are the most restrictive; Supported processors include 8th generation and later Intel Core processors as well as AMD Ryzen 2000 series and later processors. These are all chips released in late 2017 and early 2018. Older PCs can’t officially run Windows 11. This is a huge departure from Windows 10, which has made a point of supporting pretty much anything that can run Windows 7 or Windows 8.

We delve deeper into the reasons behind these requirements (and whether they are valid or not) In our review. But the big three are the CPU requirements, TPM requirements, and Secure Boot requirements.

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How do I know if my computer is supported?

When you open Windows Update in Windows 10, it may tell you if your PC is supported or not. But the easiest way to check manually is with Microsoft Health Check app from Microsoft. Older versions of this app weren’t very good, but the current version will tell you if your PC is compatible as well Why It is compatible or incompatible.

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

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

How do I get into the BIOS of my computer?

Normally, you can enter your BIOS by pressing a few keys after your computer boots up but before Windows starts to boot. The key varies, but common keys include Delete, F2 (Dell systems), F1 (Lenovo systems), or F10 (HP systems).

The consistent but more circumvented method of opening the BIOS is to go to the Windows Settings app, then Windows Update, then Recovery, and now reboot under Advanced Startup. On the basic blue screen you then see, click on Troubleshoot, then Advanced, then UEFI Firmware Settings.

How do I enable my TPM?

Enabling the TPM for the firmware built into the wizard is easy, but sometimes finding the setting to do it 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 special help pages due to Windows 11.

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

Once the TPM is enabled, reboot into 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 PC built 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 run it in your computer’s BIOS if it isn’t already enabled, usually in either the Security or Boot section. As with enabling the TPM, if you can’t find the setting, check your computer or motherboard manual.

If your computer won’t boot after you enable Secure Boot, don’t worry—you just need to take a few extra steps. The failure to boot is most likely due to the HDD or SSD being setup using the MBR (or Master Boot Record) partition table rather than the newer GPT (GUID Partition Table) format that both Secure Boot and UEFI require.

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

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

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

Andrew Cunningham

To convert from MBR to GPT in Windows 10:

  • Open Settings, then Windows Update, then Recovery, and click Restart now under Advanced startup.
  • When your computer restarts, click the Troubleshoot button, then Advanced Options, then Command Prompt.
  • In the Command Prompt window, type mbr2gpt /validate To check to make sure the drive can be converted. then type mbr2gpt /convert To convert the drive.
  • When done, re-enable Secure Boot in your BIOS, and your computer should boot normally.

If for some reason this conversion fails, the easiest option might 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 drive, it will use GPT instead of MBR.