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Windows 11 Requirements: Over The Top?

I, among many, was very surprised when Microsoft decided to renege on its promise of  “Windows 10, the last Windows Operating System” and release a Windows 11. I was even more surprised, probably shocked would be a better description, at the mandatory Windows 11 requirements. Then again, considering Microsoft’s ever-increasing dictatorial attitude, I guess one shouldn’t be overly surprised.

Comments such as “relax, you can still run Windows 10 until 2025” in response to complaints are, in my opinion, missing the point. While it’s true that Windows 10 will still be supported until October 2025, why should users who own healthy PCs that are perfectly capable of running Windows 11 be denied the choice of upgrading just because of Microsoft’s over-the-top requirements?

The TPM requirement is of particular concern. TPM is an obscure security protocol (at least it was until Microsoft announced Windows 11) that has always been niche. In fact, it’s so niche that, even when supported, it is usually disabled. I have already explained in a previous article that many modern PCs do not support TPM:



It is more than conceivable, in fact quite likely, that a user could pay $$$$ for a brand new high-end machine tomorrow that will not meet Windows 11’s TPM requirement.

Windows 11 Requirements Create Expensive Doorstops

Computer doorstop

Also, consider this; many users own PCs that are 2- 3 years old, quite a few of which will fail to meet requirements for Windows 11. In four years’ time, when Windows 10 reaches end-of-support, those machines will be 6- 7 years old and potentially still going strong. What then are those users supposed to do when they are unable to run Windows 11? Continue running Windows 10 even though the now unsupported operating system is destined to become a security nightmare, or perhaps install Linux? Or maybe use the old machine as a rather expensive doorstop?

Secure Boot And TPM

Windows 11 TPM

Secure boot was first proposed as a mandatory requirement for Windows 8 but, in the face of a tumultuous user backlash, Microsoft ended up adjusting its licensing terms to allow manufacturers to include an option to disable it. Now, with Windows 11, we have another mandatory security protocol called TPM. Both Secure Boot and TPM were created largely to help protect corporate environments involving multiple networked PCs with multiple users. I seriously question their necessity for home users.

I have been running Windows machines for more than 20 years without Secure Boot (disabled since Windows 8) or TPM, yet have never experienced any repercussions, and I suspect most home users could say the same. TPM has been introduced to help protect against firmware attacks and Ransomware in particular. Answer me this; if you were a cybercriminal looking to cash in on Ransomware, would you target your average home users whose financial resources would be questionable, or wealthy organizations? I have little doubt that cybercriminals consider potential returns when selecting their targets and I seriously doubt that home users would be anywhere near the top of the list.

Furthermore, the types of attacks that TPM is reported to protect against cannot do any harm without some sort of user interaction — such as opening a malicious email attachment or clicking on a malicious link. The chances of that happening are vastly elevated in a corporate environment where multiple users are involved and, while the risk remains for home users, it is nowhere near as severe, especially if the home user is security conscious.

Regardless, should we not at least be given the choice? After all, we own our PCs and, at some time down the track, have paid good money for the Windows operating system, surely we should have some say? Make TPM optional and then users can choose for themselves whether they want the additional security or not. Or, better still, make TPM mandatory for enterprise deployments and optional for home users. Simple really.

I read recently where Microsoft has announced that the company has no intention of softening its Windows 11 requirements:

Microsoft Program Manager Aria Carley recently addressed the issue during an Ask Me Anything webcast. When asked about the controversy, Carley said: “Group policy will not enable you to get around the hardware enforcement for Windows 11. We’re still going to block you from upgrading your device to an unsupported state ~ source

I believe that to be an unwise decision and one that may well result in serious repercussions for the Redmond giant. I certainly hope so.



23 thoughts on “Windows 11 Requirements: Over The Top?”

  1. I currently have 3 computers in our household, a Dell Inspiron 3793 laptop, a HP 15″ notebook and a Dell Inspiron 3880 PC. The Dell and HP laptops are almost 2 years old, the PC is coming up on 1 year.
    All three machines came with a TPM installed and passed the Windows 11 PC Health Check. I had noticed that for the last 6 or 7 years or so that Dell had been installing TPM in their laptops, at least the two that preceded my current 3793 and a couple of other laptops I got for other family members did. I use the Pro versions of Windows and also use Bitlocker. If the computer has a TPM, Bitlocker doesn’t require the use of a password or USB key to unlock the drive on startup, which is usually how I know the computer has one.
    I was surprised to find out the Dell 3880 has a TPM module installed, as none of my previous Dell PC’s had one. Might be that computer manufacturers had a heads up from Microsoft.
    I can understand the concern that those with older machines and those who build their own have about Microsoft’s requirements for Windows 11. It may be that Microsoft will change it if enough businesses balk at upgrading because their systems don’t meet the hardware requirements and they don’t want to upgrade their systems yet.
    Guess we’ll find out when Windows 11 is released.

    1. I will be keeping what machines I have running either Windows 10 or switching them over to Linux. I already have two machines running Linux and see no reason what-so-ever to go to Windows 11. Perhaps if the Dictators at Microsoft grow a brain but as that is unlikely Windows 10 will be my last Microsoft OS.

  2. These Corporates always bluff and bluster until there is enough of a backlash. Then it’s “We’ve heard you and we are going to relax the previously announced restrictions…”

    I bought a brand new legitimate retail copy of Windows 10 Pro for $ 11.50 AUD the other day and it activated perfectly as an infinite copy of my current motherboard and CPU. I’ll try not to lose any sleep just in case I’m wrong and might by some slim chance have to pay $ 15.00 for Windows 11 !

  3. Thanks for your easy to understand explanation about Windows 11.
    For sometime now I have felt controlled by Microsoft and some other web sites that make it near impossible to opt out of things.

  4. Walter Lesaulnier

    For the answer to why Microsoft has such extreme requirements to Win 11, just look at all the ads for new PCs that come with Win 11 pre-installed on Microsoft Win 11 related web pages- including the page the “compatibility” tool takes you to when run.

  5. I’m a home user with not a lot of knowledge about the complicated workings of my computer. I did a check on my PC and it is not up to snuff for Wndows 11. I have been having issues recently with my computer crashing. I’ve been looking to buy a new tower. So with all this talk about Windows 11, I’m at a loss as to what I should do! What should I look for?!

    1. If you are considering a new computer, check some of the manufacturers websites. HP and Dell, for example, note which models will be upgradable to Windows 11.
      As for what else to look for, it depends upon what the computer will be used for and what your budget is.

    2. Hey Pat,

      Please do not rely on manufacturer’s and vendors claims that a PC is upgradeable to Windows 11.

      If at all possible, your best course of action would be to wait until Windows 11 certified PCs are released before buying. I understand you might not be able to wait that long but if you can, that will ensure the machine you buy will definitely run Windows 11.

  6. All this TPM 2.0 does if force evreyone into buying a new desktop. I have an HP desktop that does not have TPM and this requirement is going to make it so I have to spend a lot of money for no reason at all.

  7. This is going to be an expensive lesson for both Microsoft and consumers.

    The current chip shortage has already sent prices soaring in the automotive industry and is soon coming to the entertainment industry as Intel is reporting hardships supplying chips for computers, cells and gaming systems just to name a few and others will soon follow suite behind them.

    It will cost Microsoft a small fortune to build Windows 11 compatible computers because of this shortage and in all likeliness that increase will be passed down to consumers which means if PC’s follow suite just like the automotive industry, PC’s soon will increase at a minimum 50% in price. I think Microsoft is betting on consumers laying out whatever it takes to have a Windows 11 compatible PC ….. Personally I think Microsoft is going to learn a very hard lesson that will force them to lower it’s hardware standards for the OS.

    It’s not that I think the OS sucks, I have tried it and it actually looks and performs pretty well but I uninstalled it because what is the sense of running it if Microsoft is only going to plug the hardware compatibility hole on the final release, I’m not gonna test it if I will not be able to run the final product.

    Personally …… like millions of others, will run Windows 10 until 2025 and will more than likely switch to Linux afterwards.

  8. In various posts, Microsoft (AKA Bill Gates) has expressed that they are an environmentally conscious corporation; clean air, clean water, endangered species, etc.). Are they intentionally oblivious to the hypocrisy? Millions of useful PCs will be added to the global ash heaps for no defensible reason. This obfuscation (i.e., I’m going to close my eyes, turn my back, and pretend that didn’t happen) may run afoul of the Right to Repair movement that is currently on fire throughout the country. Forty states have introduced right to repair bills since 2018, including 27 states with active bills in 2021 (see https://uspirg.org/feature/usp/right-repair).

    1. Walter, I don’t know. I don’t know where to look for that information. As I said in my original post, I don’t know a lot about the workings of my computer.

  9. I’m not sure if you are asking everyone or continuing a previous conversation. However, according to MicroBrain (AKA Bill Gates), my computer with Gigabyte X399 AORUS Gaming 7 motherboard, 32GB DDR4 RAM, and 3.4GHz, 16 core/32 thread AMD 1950X Threadripper processor with 40MB of combined cache is incompatible with Windows 11.

    Pardon my French but …WTF?

  10. The only reason I have WINDo$e machines is 95% of amateur radio software is designed for Windo$e…
    Microsoft took a small stance awhile back getting into Linux….
    Windo$e-11 may be the
    proverbial “Straw”…..
    I hope so.. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving group… M/S laid off a ton of software Engineers a couple of years ago. Their customer base then became the un-paid Beta testers for M/S…. That’s been a disaster also….
    Regards,
    Jim-In-Kansas

    1. M/S laid off a ton of software Engineers a couple of years ago. Their customer base then became the un-paid Beta testers for M/S…. That’s been a disaster also….

      Couldn’t agree more Jim.

  11. Jim

    My computer has Intel chipset with PTT. Intel created PTT to help with enabling TPM on computers that do not have dedicated support. The technology was created back in 2013; therefore, many Intel CPUs may be able to run Windows 11 via PTT. My laptop doesn’t have a TPM chip, but I turned on PTT in bios and it now passes the Win 11 test apps.

    I understand AMD Zen CPUs come packed with an alternative to PTT known as fTPM. So, that may work too.

    Therefore, your computer may run Win 11 using the builtin Intel or AMD chipsets TPM eventhough they don’t have a separate TPM chip. Go to your Bios and look for PTT (or fTPM) and see if can toggle that on.

    JD

      1. In that article Intel is calling firmware TPM TXT, on my Dell laptop, Intel is calling it PTT….When Win 11 comes out, it is going to be really confusing! MS should just drop the whole TPM for home version anyhow. From what I understand TPM is only really of value in the corporate/business end.

        1. In that article Intel is calling firmware TPM TXT, on my Dell laptop, Intel is calling it PTT

          Correct. Look up the specs for any modern Intel “i” series CPU and under “Security & Reliability” you will see “Intel Trusted Execution Technology”.

          Furthermore, MS originally stated they would allow older TPM versions but then changed their tune and only the latest TPM 2.0 will satisfy Windows 11 requirements.

          MS should just drop the whole TPM for home version anyhow

          Amen to that JD. You won’t get any argument from me.

  12. I can already see Windows 11 being more confusing to consumers then Windows Vista was for compatibility. Nothing wrong with a optional security improvement like TPM 2.0 but many consumers don’t need it by default. It’s ridiculous that some CPU’s that are still capable are losing support in Windows 11 but run Windows 10 just fine. Heck, I have a 8 year old notebook with a Core i5 that runs Windows 10 just fine. The optics of this will have a negative effect for Windows users who have never had to really consider what hardware or security they have baked into their device.

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