For Windows fans, the long wait is finally over. Windows 11 is here with us. The new operating system builds on many features found in previous versions of Windows, but make no mistake about it. Under the hood, you'll find important updates aimed at improving your PC's performance and security.
For example, it comes with a new Mac-like design where taskbar icons are now centered in the middle of the screen and application windows now feature rounded corners.
While most Windows users are excited about these changes, the more demanding system/hardware requirements are among their biggest concerns. It's an open secret that most PCs won't succeed because they're just not powerful enough.
Microsoft will give users the option to upgrade to Windows 11 for free, but given the new requirements, it's important to know if your PC is equipped for the upgrade well in advance.
In this article, we'll explore all the ways you can tell if your PC can run Windows 11 to help you plan, prepare, and avoid interruptions to your workflow.
How do I know if a PC can run Windows 11?
After more than six years of uncharacteristic "silence" from Microsoft, the tech giant has finally delivered Windows 11, but not with as much fanfare and enthusiasm as previous major upgrades.
The new operating system is already touted as one of the fastest and most secure versions of Windows to date, with features designed for both work and play. But before you upgrade your device current or buying a new PC, it's important to make sure it can support all the features of Windows 11.
Notably, Windows 11 comes with stricter hardware requirements than Windows 10. Your device will need at least two cores of a compatible 64-bit processor, a minimum of 64 GB of storage, and UEFI system firmware. with secure boot capability.
If you're curious if your device meets these requirements, there are a few methods that will help you figure it out.
Now, let's go through each method in detail.
Method 1 – Using Microsoft PC Health Check
As with all other major upgrades, Microsoft has been keen to release information about its new operating system to encourage adoption and facilitate a smooth migration among users. Senior executives have made media appearances and written a ton of blogs about what has changed and what hasn't.
But perhaps due to the large number of changes and some complex issues that could pose a problem even for seasoned developers and Windows technicians, Microsoft has decided to offer an automated solution as well.
In the weeks leading up to the unveiling of Windows 11, the company announced that it had developed a dedicated tool to help users gauge their PC's ability to run the new operating system. Microsoft's PC Health Check app, among others, evaluates your system's features to determine if they can support Windows 11.
Here's how to use the app:
- Download the app from Microsoft's Windows 11 page.
- Open the app, agree to the terms of service, then tap the "Install" button.
- Once you've successfully installed the app, you should see a message at the top of the app's home page "Introducing Windows 11". To check your PC's compatibility with Windows 11, click "Check now".
After following these steps, the Health Check app will intelligently run in the background and assess whether your PC is up to the task.
If your PC is ready for Windows 11, you will see a message saying, "This PC meets the system requirements for Windows 11". You will receive a message stating: "You can get the free upgrade when available".
But if your system is not compatible with Windows 11, you will see a message saying, “This PC does not currently meet the system requirements for Windows 11”. The application also lists the requirements that your PC does not meet under this message. You will also receive links to more information.
While you can fix and fix some of the issues listed, there's not much you can do for others. For example, you may be able to enable Secure Boot and TPM 2.0. But there is nothing you can do if your processor is not currently supported by Windows 11.
Although the Health Check app made it easy to assess PC compatibility with Windows 11, its performance wasn't flawless. Several reports suggest that its evaluation process is flawed.
In fact, Microsoft pulled the app from circulation just days after its initial release, saying the move was to address issues with the app's "level of detail or precision." Some users have claimed that they can run Windows 11 on their PC even after the app says they can't.
Although the updated app is now available, some users chose to give it a high profile and look for other ways to gauge compatibility. This brings us to method 2.
Method 2 – Using WhyNotWin11 app
The WhyNotWin11 app is an open-source program developed as an alternative to Microsoft's Health Check app. It scans your PC system to test compatibility with Windows 11 and then displays the results.
Here's how to use it:
- Download and install the application on your PC.
- After successful installation, the application will ask you if you want to run it as an administrator of your PC. Click "Yes" to accept this request.
After that, the app will scan all software and hardware components in your system to determine if they are suitable for Windows 11. You will see an "OK" message on the app's home screen if everything is fine. Otherwise, you will get a red cross.
Although its interface may not be as user-friendly or aesthetic, the WhyNotWin11 app seems to offer better information. It goes into much more detail if it considers your PC to be incompatible with Windows 11.
You can run the WhyNotWin11 app on Windows 10 or any of its predecessors.
Method 3 – Go Manual
If you are well versed in Windows issues and have a good understanding of your PC, you can manually assess your system's compatibility with Windows 11. Although Microsoft has released a comprehensive list of Windows 11 requirements, here is a brief description of it. which you need :
- Processor: At least two cores of a compatible 64-bit processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or more
- RAM: At least 4 GB
- Storage room: A minimum of 64 GB (may increase after later updates)
- System firmware: UEFI, compatible with secure boot
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM): Version 2.0
- Graphic card: Must support DirectX 12 or later, with WDDM 2.0 driver
- Displays and Signage: A minimum of 9 inches at high definition resolution (720p) and at least 8 bits per color channel
- Internet connection: Required to complete installation (Also required for updates and some features)
In addition to the above requirements, you need a Microsoft Account (MSA) to complete the installation of Windows 11 on your device.
If you want to know if your PC can run Windows 11, Microsoft's PC Health Check app can help. It's simple and easy to use. All you need is to download and install it on your device.
However, the app encountered a few issues that raised doubts about its accuracy among users. If you want a more in-depth assessment of your system, with a breakdown of all the key issues, you can opt for the WhyNotWin11 app.
Even better, you can examine your device and compare it with the features required for Windows 11 as documented on Microsoft's official site.
If your PC is not compatible with Windows 11, you have three options. First, you can continue to use Windows 10. In fact, Microsoft has committed to continue supporting Windows 10 until at least 2025. That means you'll always get security updates and any other kind of support you might need.
Second, you can try to resolve the raised issues. For example, there are ways to enable TPM 2.0 or even Secure Boot on most PC models on the market today. If your PC does not have enough storage, you can install a new hard drive with a higher volume.
If none of these options work, you can always search for a new PC model that supports the new operating system.
What do you think of Microsoft's latest Windows update?
Let us know in the comments section below.