How to upgrade to Windows 11, whether your PC is supported or not [Updated]

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

Andrew Cunningham

We originally published this Windows 11 installation guide shortly after the OS was released in October 2021. To keep it current and as useful as possible, we updated it in August 2022 with tweaks that Microsoft made to the Windows installer for version 22H2, and some new fixes for unsupported systems.

Windows 11 has been out for almost a year and the first major update will be released sometime in the coming weeks. Even if our original review didn’t convince you to upgrade, you might think 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 to create a comprehensive installation guide for upgrading to Windows 11. This includes advice and some step-by-step instructions on how to enable officially required features like your TPM and Secure Boot, as well as official and unofficial ways to update the system requirements. Bypass “unsupported” PCs, because Microsoft is not your parent and therefore cannot tell you what to do.

I’ve had Windows 11 on PCs as old as a 2008 Dell Inspiron 530, and while I’m not saying it’s something you should do it, it’s something you can to do.

How do I get Windows 11?

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

Microsoft offers several ways to manually download Windows 11. One is to use the Installation Assistant app, which you install on your PC to trigger a regular upgrade installation through Windows Update. The second is to use the Windows 11 Media Creation Tool, which automates the process of creating a bootable USB installation disc or downloading an ISO installation file. Once you have a USB drive, you can boot from it to do a clean install or run the Setup app from Windows 10 to do a normal upgrade install. You can also burn the ISO to a DVD, but installing from any USB drive, even an old USB 2.0 drive, is much faster, so don’t do that. Finally, you can just download an ISO file directly from Microsoft’s site.

Do I have to pay for it?

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

If you install Windows 11 on a new PC that you built yourself, you must officially purchase a Windows 10 or Windows 11 license. These can be purchased from retail sites such as Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy or directly from Microsoft for between $120 and $140. unofficiallyyou can purchase a working Windows product key from product key resale websites for between $15 and $40. Many of these sites are vague and we won’t link to any of them directly, but it is an option to get a working key.

Unofficially, I’ve also had some success using legacy Windows 7 and Windows 8 product keys to activate equivalent editions of Windows 11. It’s an open secret that the Windows 10 installer would continue to accept these older product keys long after the “official” free upgrade offer for Windows 10 expired in 2016, and in our testing, those keys continued to work for Windows 11.

What does my PC need to be “supported”?

Let’s repeat the Windows 11 system requirements:

  • A “compatible” 1 GHz or faster dual-core 64-bit processor from Intel, AMD, or Qualcomm
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64 GB storage
  • UEFI Secure Boot supported and enabled
  • A Trusted Platform Module (TPM), version 2.0
  • A DirectX 12 compatible GPU with a WDDM 2.0 driver
  • A 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 also requires a Microsoft account login. There are solutions to this that we will discuss later.

The processor requirement is the most restrictive; supported processors include 8th generation and newer Intel Core processors, as well as AMD Ryzen 2000 series processors and newer. These are all chips launched in late 2017 and early 2018. Older computers can’t officially run Windows 11. This is a major departure from Windows 10, which supported just about anything that could run Windows 7. or Windows 8.

We go into more detail about the reasoning behind these requirements (and whether they are correct) in our review. But the three big ones are the CPU requirement, the TPM requirement, and the Secure Boot requirement.

How do I know if my PC is supported?

When you open Windows Update in Windows 10, it can tell you whether your PC is supported or not. But the easiest way to check manually is with Microsoft’s PC Health Check app. Early versions of this app were not very good, but the current version will tell you if your PC is compatible and Why it may or may not be compatible.

If you are not using a supported processor, please schedule an upgrade to a supported CPU or skip to the section where we talk about installing Windows 11 on unsupported PCs.

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

How do I get into my PC’s BIOS?

Usually, you can enter your BIOS by pressing a key after you turn on your PC, but before Windows starts up. The key varies, but common ones are the Delete key, F2 (for Dell systems), F1 (for Lenovo systems), or F10 (for HP systems).

The consistent but more cumbersome way to access your BIOS is to go to the Windows Settings app, then Windows Update, then Recovery, then Restart Now under “Advanced Startup.” In the blue basic screen that you then see, click on Troubleshoot, then on Advanced options and then on UEFI firmware settings.

How do I enable my TPM?

Enabling your processor’s built-in firmware TPM is easy, but finding the setting to do so sometimes 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 help pages specifically for Windows 11.

For Intel systems, if you can’t find a setting marked “TPM” anywhere in the chipset or security settings, search for “Platform Trust Technology” or “PTT” and enable it. AMD systems usually just refer to it as an “fTPM”, although you might also call it the “Platform Security Processor” or “PSP”.

Once you’ve enabled your TPM, 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 computer made since Windows 8 was released in 2012 should support Secure Boot, which prevents unsigned and potentially malicious software from loading during your PC’s boot process. You should be able to enable it in your PC’s BIOS if it isn’t already enabled, usually in a “Security” or “Startup” section. As with turning on your TPM, if you can’t find the setting, check your PC or motherboard manual.

If your computer doesn’t boot after enabling Secure Boot, don’t worry, you just need to go through a few extra steps. The failure to boot is most likely because your hard drive or SSD is set up with an MBR (or Master Boot Record) partition table instead of the newer GPT (GUID Partition Table) format that Secure Boot and UEFI both require.

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

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

If your drive uses the older MBR partition style, you must 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 PC restarts, click the Troubleshoot button, then Advanced options, then Command Prompt.
  • In the command prompt window, type mbr2gpt /validate to check if the drive can be converted. Then type mbr2gpt /convert to convert the disc.
  • Once it’s done, re-enable Secure Boot in your BIOS and your PC should boot normally.

If for some reason this conversion fails, the easiest option is to cleanly reinstall Windows 10 or 11 with Secure Boot enabled. When you format the drive and install Windows from a bootable USB stick, it uses GPT instead of MBR.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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