Windows 11 is Microsoft’s latest and greatest operating system, but you might be part of the group that’s unable to run it. As you already know, Microsoft is doubling down on security, reliability, and compatibility, and is standing firm by its Windows 11 system requirements.
Don’t have a TPM 2.0 chip? Don’t have an Intel 8th generation (or select 7th generation) or Intel AMD Ryzen 2000 or newer processor? Don’t have a secure boot enabled PC? Then you’re out of luck and won’t be able to enjoy Windows 11 as you have what’s come to be known as “unsupported hardware.”
Well, we put together this handy guide to explain the current situation and some workarounds. We’ll also do our best to keep it updated as the situation evolves.
Using the official Windows 11 ISO Files
You might think that because Microsoft released official ISO files for Windows 11 Insider build 22000.132, then you can use it to install the OS on any PC. Well, don’t be mistaken.
We tried these new ISO files to install Windows 11 on a Dell desktop PC with TPM, as well as Secure Boot, but with an Intel 6th generation Intel Core i7 processor. It didn’t work. When we booted up from installation media, the installer notified us that our PC is unsupported.
Using an official Windows 11 ISO file on unsupported hardware will not work in its current Windows Insider state, but there is hope that it might work in the future. Microsoft told The Verge that users with unsupported PCs will also be able to install Windows 11 at their own risk using ISO files, sans the system reliability and driver compatibility. However, even if you do manage to install Windows 11, you won’t get critical security updates via Windows Update. So, you’ll be installing and might get left behind with an unsupported build of Windows 11.
Using the Windows Insider Dev Channel
Another trick to install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware involves the Windows Insider Program and the Dev Channel. Microsoft initially allowed Windows Insiders with unsupported hardware to opt their devices in to test Windows 11. This went on up until late July, but that has since changed and has been “blocked” by Microsoft. Now, when you try to enroll on unsupported hardware, you’ll see that your device is no longer eligible for Windows 11.
At one point, there was (is?) a workaround for this. You can try enrolling your device into Release Preview, and then switching over to the Dev Channel via a script. The folks at XDA Developers explained how to run the script and use the registry editor to do so, but when we tried it, we kept getting switched back to the Release Preview branch.
Using a hybrid installer
There’s a third trick making the rounds on the internet as a method to install Windows 11. You can create what’s known as a “hybrid” installer. We’ll mention XDA Developers again, as they have a more in-depth guide and are the original source for this method. However, proceed at your own risk as messing with these kinds of files can impact your PC.
First, you’ll need to create a Windows 10 Installer by downloading the most recent Windows 10 Windows Insider build from Microsoft, then you can use Rufus to burn it to a USB device. After that, download the Windows 11 ISO file (we have our own guide on how to do this,) and when it finishes, you can double click it to mount it and copy the install.wim or install.esd over to your Windows 10 USB (you might have to convert it using the listed instructions.)
Once finished, you can use the Windows 10 installer to install Windows 11. (We couldn’t get this to work either. It looks like Microsoft has disabled copying the files between the installers, but some folks on Reddit have used this method successfully.)
Are changes coming soon?
Right now, it definitely looks like there are not many ways to get Windows 11 running on unsupported hardware. Microsoft looks to be making it harder to do so, rather than easier and as more and more methods pop up, the company is shutting it down. Yet Microsoft’s statement to The Verge makes it seem as though it might be possible to get Windows 11 on any PC but at your own risk,
The best and safest way to ensure that you can get Windows 11 is to upgrade your system for it by getting a new CPU, adding a TPM 2.0 chip. Of course, doing so might be expensive, so you might as well consider getting a new PC altogether. Or you could just, you know, stay on Windows 10, which is supported, even on these “unsupported on Windows 11” devices until 2025.