When Microsoft announced Windows 11, it also announced some fairly strict hardware requirements to go along with the refreshed UI coming with the latest version of Windows. Setting a security floor, Microsoft is requiring that all Windows 11 devices include TPM and Secure Boot, but is also drawing a line at 8th gen processors or equivalent, with some recently announced exceptions. For some Windows users, who have been testing Windows 11 on these unsupported 6th and 7th generation processors, the requirements don’t seem to make a lot of sense.
Now one motherboard manufacturer, Asus, has announced that it’s working to extend Windows 11 support to these older CPUs via a BIOS update (via WindowsLatest). The Z270 motherboards, for 6th and 7th gen processors, will now “(s)upport Windows 11 by default, (with) , no settings changes required in the UEFI BIOS.” Asus is teasing the same support for its STRIX Z270F GAMING motherboards as well.
It’s unclear whether these motherboards will add features to the motherboards that the 6th and 7th generation CPUs lack, or if the UEFI/BIOS changes will perform some kind of workaround to the Windows 11 requirements. One difference between 8th gen and 6th or 7th gen processors is how they handle HVCI, or “Hypervisor-protected code integrity,” also known as “Memory Integrity.” 8th gen processors have this feature built in to the CPU, while 6th and 7th gen processors run HVCI in emulation, which means that features enabling HVCI, including perhaps the upcoming Windows Subsystem for Android, will run slower on the earlier CPU generations.
If Asus is able to meet Microsoft’s requirements for HVCI (or other features) via a firmware update, it could be good news for users of the Asus motherboards. However if Asus has “hacked” the BIOS to fool Windows 11 to think that these CPUs are compliant when they’re not, well it will be interesting to see what Microsoft has to say.