Can I Run Windows 11 on My Computer?

All your questions about upgrading, answered

This article briefly explains the requirements for running Windows 11 and whether or not it’s worth your time to upgrade.

Some computers may not be eligible for the upgrade because they are incompatible. This article will also explain how to check compatibility to see if that’s even an option for you.

Why Would My Computer Not Run Windows 11?

The requirements to Windows 11 are remarkably similar to Windows 10’s requirements. That said, compatible computers must meet a few specialized requirements related to the CPU and motherboard. Only certain types of hardware are supported in the new operating system.

New Specialized Requirements for Windows 11

Your computer may meet the minimum requirements to run Windows 11, but that doesn’t mean you can install it. That statement is a bit confusing, but we’re going to clear it up. Compatibility is questionable for some computers because of the required security specializations in the latest Windows release.

Some specialized requirements may prohibit incompatible computers from running Windows 11. These include TPM 2.0, UEFI, and Secure Boot. If your computer’s hardware does not support these functions, you will not be able to run the latest version of Windows. Microsoft chose these requirements to improve the security of the new operating system.

Can My Computer Run Windows 11?

Most computers manufactured within five or more years meet the minimum specifications and can run Windows 11. However, that does not necessarily mean they include support for the new security specializations.

Running Windows 11—or installing it—isn’t just about the performance hardware like memory (RAM), processing speed (CPU), and beyond. The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 requirement, for example, calls for a hardware chip that’s tamper-resistant and designed to protect encryption keys. This chip is something your motherboard needs to have, and older boards do not include it.

Your computer may meet the minimum hardware requirements to run Windows 11, meaning the processor is fast enough, and you have enough RAM, among some of the other requirements. However, even if that’s the case, your computer still may not be able to run Windows 11 if the security specializations are unavailable.

How Do I Know If My PC Is Compatible with Windows 11?

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to check whether or not your computer is capable of running Windows 11. Microsoft offers a Windows tool called PC Health Check, which will scan your computer and tell you if it’s compatible. If it’s not eligible, it will also tell you why.

Here’s how to check Windows 11 compatibility:

  1. Download and install the PC Health Check app from Microsoft. If you have the latest version of Windows 10, with all updates, you may already have the app installed.

  2. Open PC Health Check.

  3. Click the blue Check Now button at the top to check Windows 11 eligibility.

    Check Windows 11 Eligibility with PC Health Check App - Check Now Button highlighted
  4. In the pop-up window, the Health Check app will list the main reason why you cannot run Windows 11. You’ll see an all-clear message with green checkmarks across the board if you can run it. You can click See All Results to see if you passed the other minimum requirements.

    Check Windows 11 Eligibility - PC Health Check App with See all results highlighted

You’ll notice in the screenshot above the test computer does not meet the minimum TPM 2.0 requirements. It’s important to note you may still see this message when your computer supports the functionality—like the test computer. The reason the message shows is the feature is not enabled. The computer would pass the check if we enabled TPM 2.0 and re-scanned with the PC Health Check app.

How Do I Enable TPM 2.0 on My Computer?

To enable the TPM chip, you will need to access the BIOS settings on your computer before booting into Windows. This process is different for each computer brand and is specific to the brand of the motherboard. If you have a custom computer, the BIOS interface and access method will be defined by the motherboard brand you have installed.

How Do I Know if My PC Is Eligible for Windows 11?

Many computers are eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 11, especially if you purchased them recently. There's a simple way to check whether or not you can download and install Windows 11.

Before checking eligibility this way, you will need to ensure your Windows 10 is up-to-date, including downloading and installing all previously available updates from Microsoft. Be sure to update Windows first.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Check for Updates.

  2. Allow the system to scan for available updates. Depending on how long it's been since you updated Windows last, it may take a while.

  3. After the list updates, the system should tell you if a Windows 11 update is available. If it is, you are eligible to upgrade and may proceed.

When Should I Upgrade My Computer?

Almost all brand new computers sold at retailers and online now either come with Windows 11 already installed or include a free upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 10. Then, the pressing question is when is a good time to upgrade your current computer, especially if it's not eligible to run Windows 11?

If you didn't know, Windows regularly supports its older operating systems and software, even after releasing new products. That's the case here, too. Microsoft will support Windows 10 until October 2025.

It means if you don't want to upgrade to Windows 11 or you don't have the funds, there's no rush. What's more, if you know you'll be getting a new computer within the next few years, and your current system is running fine, it's always a good idea to wait. Windows 10 will still be receiving software and performance updates, including patches for critical security issues should they appear.

FAQ
  • How can I speed up Windows 11?

    If your PC is running more slowly on Windows 11, try removing Windows 11 startup programs to boost performance speeds. Also, browse the web with Microsoft Edge instead of Chrome to try out Edge’s Performance Mode feature.

  • Where is the Control Panel in Windows 11?

    To open the Control Panel in Windows 11, click the search icon on the taskbar, type Control Panel, and select Control Panel in the results. Another way to access the Control Panel: Press the key combination Windows Key + R, type CMD, press Enter, type Control, and press Enter.

  • How do I update to Windows 11?

    To upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, click Start, type Windows Update, and select Windows Update settings. Select Check for updates. If the Windows 11 update is available, select Download and install.

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