Windows 11 Compatibility Test Confuses Users

John Lister's picture

A surprise requirement for Windows 11 has left many users fearing their computer may not be compatible with the new system. The need for a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) has led to a price spike for the component, though there's no real need to panic or pay over the odds right now.

The requirement came to light when Microsoft published a downloadable PC Health Check tool that told users whether their PC met all the hardware requirements for running Windows 11, which is due for release later this year.

That led to a lot of confusion with users seeing the answer was "No," but the tool not saying where the problem was. Most of the requirements such as graphics card or minimum memory are fairly basic for modern computers so a lot of users will be baffled by the apparent failure.

Scalpers Cash In

The most likely explanation in many cases is that the computer doesn't have an installed and active Trusted Platform Module (TPM). That's a physical component that uses cryptographic keys for features such as encrypting entire hard drives or checking that a machine has the correct set of hardware and software during the boot process.

It seems Windows 11 will make a TPM mandatory as part of an overall effort to improve security on Windows computers. Specifically it's looking for the 2.0 version of the TMP standard. (Source:

Some users have responded by rushing to buy a TPM that simply plugs in to the motherboard on their computer. Those normally cost around $20 but some sellers are now asking as much as $100 after a spike in demand.

Patience is a Virtue

For most users, this isn't necessary. The most likely explanation is not that their machine doesn't have a TPM, but rather that it hasn't been switched on. Doing so normally requires a change in the BIOS settings. How to access these settings depends on the specific computer but usually involves a key press that interrupts the boot process. (Source:

While that's simple enough for more confident users, most people shouldn't worry about it for the moment. It seems inconceivable Microsoft will launch Windows 11 while millions of users are either unable to install it or uncertain about the changes they need to make. The chances are that either Microsoft will ditch the requirement, or it will have to issue either an automated fix or extremely clear instructions for making any necessary changes.

There's also no real rush for Windows 11 as Microsoft will continue to support the latest editions of Windows 10 until at least 2025. In the unlikely event that TPMs really do prove a widespread barrier to Windows 11 upgrades and Windows 10 use remains widespread, that deadline might well be extended.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you run the PC Health Check tool yet to check for Windows 11 compatibility? Did you understand the results? Are you confident Microsoft will clear up the issue?

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Average: 4.8 (14 votes)


jamies's picture

Noted that the specifications seem to be a moving target for win 11
BUT maybe the most important is the actual meaning of the extra note re win-home.
and UEFI being required - remembering that while it is OJ for systems that run windows, it seems that Microsoft systems have actually had the checking built into the startup turned off. in that windows 10 will boot from drives setup as MBR and from USB connected storage medium systems

And TPM - is version 2.0 needed, or will windows11 work on systems with earlier versions, or none at all ( as per Russian or Chinese systems).

and 4GB is it really going to work in less RAM than windows 10 seems to need ( as in 2GB RAM ws specified as enough for win-10, but my system seems to want at least 8GB of RAM and pagefile for most MS apps and win-10 facilities. with undications that 16GB RAM is actually needed for some facilities
2 core CPU - OK, but some MS software requirements seem to be 6 core CPU - and anyhow, it seems as if you will need a newer, and more capable CPU than an intel I7

64 GB storage - well win-10 seems to want at least 30 for itself, and the update facility is looking to reserve -a lot - maybe 20+GB
and the last major update on my old system causer the incremental update to write an extra 40GB to the backup archive - and that was after the run following the declaration that the update was installed

I'd consider the actual requirements for a system to run the 2025 version of win-11 to be at least:
16GB RAM (or 8 of RAM + 8 of pagefile)
at least 120GB of storage
a 6 core CPU, I9 capability or better
a full HD - but preferably 4K display chipset -
and I wouldn't believe the 8 bit colour 9" screen
firstly 8 bit colour - that's tha basic colour set from Vista and earlier
and why a 9" screen - won't the virtual environment goggles work, or a display onto your glasses and - what about the better than HD, ( maybe by 2025, a 4k screen) that you can get on some phones with screens under 7"

And - re the system specs - I'd be looking for at least 2 fully featured USV-c ports 3.2 and DP and HDMI and 2 way fast charge of devices and the laptop - with casting to a 4K 32" tv for use of the small portable system when at home.

Also what about windows on a raspberry Pi

And don't forget to check there are drivers for your existing components - and things like personal clouds and the expensive laser, or high quality photoprinter, or scanner.

My advice - consider getting a new system for the forced 2025 move from windows 10 0 maybe look for that in 2024 before the panic buying that sees the stores empty at premium markups.
probably 4 times the throughput of current mid-range systems delivered with Pro , a 256GB M2 mode SSD as well so you can use the bitlocker and sandbox VM's for security and a 3 year warrantee from 2024 to 2027 rather than voiding your current system's warrantee by adding a TPM chip and more memory.

rohnski's picture

Part of the problem is that MS is writing a single "requirements" spec for all platforms, from 5" phone to insane "workstation".
I ran both versions of the "Health Check" tool, they released it on the 24'th, then updated it on the 25'th and pulled it again on the 29th ...
My 5 year old laptop met all the requirements, EXCEPT CPU. But for days, I couldn't figure what part of the CPU was deficient.
Yesterday, I found an article that explained on the intel side, at least an i3-8100 CPU is required. But not why.
Finally, the 30th, I found an article that finally explained why. MS says that Win 11 (kinda/sorta) requires specific Virtualisation hardware support for "Containers".
Why couldn't MS say that from the start: One of the new features is improved security through the use of "containers". This requires specific hardware features in newer CPU chips ...
These 3 articles summarize and clarify the minimum requirements:

One issue I take with all of the media is they keep saying that if you bought a computer in the last 3.5-4 years you should be OK. It's not years, it's the CPU chip spec that counts Sure, that is when 8th gen, ix-81##, came out (I've seen Sept and Nov 2017 as the release date?). But so what. Builders still make and sell devices with chips that do not support Win11 in lower cost "economy" builds.

Yesterday I did a quick search and found a couple of computers with i7-7700 (high end) chips for sale right now at a major name brand retailer. They are being sold as high end devices with lots of RAM and 1TB SSD's. So someone who paid $2500 or more for these computers today, is not going to be pleased when they learn they can't "upgrade" their expensive new computer to Win 11...

nospam_5346's picture

The other obstacle is not supporting any Intel CPU prior to eighth generation. You can still buy seventh generation computers. There is a similar floor for AMD CPU’s.

That, along with the TPM requirement makes it impossible for a large number of people to upgrade.

I have a six core processor that runs at 3.7. I could over clock it if I wanted to. I’ve looked at i9 processors which run at the same speed. So why is my processor not on their supported list?

This will affect people who build their own computers more than others I believe. I built a computer that’s still capable of running anything I throw at it. And probably will past 2025. However, it was more than 4 years ago. It seems Microsoft doesn’t want anything older than 4 years old to run Windows 11.

As for TPM, do home users really need it? I doubt most do.

Also, for Windows 11 Home users, a Microsoft account is required.

buzzallnight's picture

because M$ is going to have some awesome new Icons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Draq's picture

My CPU showed as incompatible. It's an Intel J-2900 soldered on the motherboard. Even if it were compatible, I'm not sureI'd upgrade since upgrading between major versions seems to cause issues for a lot of people without a clean install, and I'd rather not do a clean install. I also hope they ditch that ridiculous Microsoft account requirement for setup on the Home version. What a freaking pain.

eric's picture

The real problem is Microsofts poor and inconsistent communication on the matter.

Requiring EUFI and TPM 2.0 are both good things. I'd even go so far as to say requiring 8th gen Intel or higher is good for Microsoft, if not necessarily for retail users.

Wait, let me explain. Let's revisit the dark Balmer days of Vista. The stated system requirements were simply too low to run Vista with default option enabled. Instead of the majority of users focusing on great new GUI enhancements, and some actually good under-the-hood improvements, most people absolutely hated Vista because it ran like absolute dog crap on common specc'd computers of the time. Overall, if you had a beefy computer then Vista actually ran well. But the vast majority of PCs at the time simply weren't powerful enough, which ended up with the eternally horrible reputation that Vista ended up with. By the time Windows 7 came out, PCs had pretty much caught up with the needs of the software. (and MS did a few tricks to make it feel faster at startup).
Fast forward to today, Windows 11 coming soon. Look, I support over 3000 computers at my job. 6th gen Intel sys8, even with SSDs are getting long in the tooth. There is a very noticeable drop in performance with current versions of Windows 10,compared to the Win 10 versions that were current with the 6th gen release. 6th gen, quad core i5, 8GB RAM, SATA SSD systems quickly show their age under anything beyond the most basic tasks in current Win10. HDD instead of SSD? Forget about it. I fully expect 7th gen Intel systems to reflect similarly poor performance levels over the next 2 or 3 iterations of Win10.(there WILL BE more W10 updates).
I cannot possibly be the only person to notice this. I'd like to think all the Win10 telemetry data that MS collects has influenced their decision for 8th gen minimum.
What are they supposed to do? Continue the old "we support everything" mantra, and end up with a public perception repeat of Vista for Win11? I wouldn't, if it were my call. It's always been true in tech - if you want the latest software, with the best performance, you need to be on modern hardware. The fact is, 6th and 7th gen Intel is outdated. If I ran a development company, you would be hard pressed to convince me to out in the extra development hours, as well as sacrifice performance of my new product, to support people who want to run 5 or 10 year old equipment. Everything else in this world is "pay to play", and computing is certainly no exception.
Yes, please take your older equipment and turn it into a Linux box. You'll have a fantastic experience as far as performance goes. Dealing with with the tediousness inherent to Linux, and lack of features is something you can decide if it's worth the effort for you. I genuinely hope it works out well for you; and that you stop complaining about not wanting to pay to stay modern with other products.

EUFI and TPM 2.0
It absolutely boggles my mind when I see Windows 10 computers booting in legacy mode instead of EUFI. Why? Just, why would people do that? (especially other techs!)
The cybersecurity threat is growing faster than software vendors can keep up. If I were a developer, I would 100% not offer support if you were determined to run insecure hardware and/or settings. Microsoft is legit trying to make both Windows 11 and Microsoft Defender at least try to stay defensible in security matters.

For everyone that screams conspiracy partnerships with OEMs to drive new PC sales, I say you're totally wrong.
I say Microsoft HAS to push for newer, higher, hardware and hardware settings requirements solely for the good of their own reputation. Otherwise, we end up with something as insecure as XP and as performance throttled as Vista - and those both would do serious damage to the outstanding public image gains Microsoft has made since Nadella took the helm.

As a side note, let's also look back at the release of MacOS Catalina,and the 64 bit only app requirement it introduced. The blowback to Apple very quickly took a back seat to the blowback directed at developers and vendors who were too slow to adopt 64 bit for their products. Why? Why did the outrage shift from Apple to the developers? Why is Microsoft seeing more outrage here for a very similar move?
For starters, Apple controls their hardware, so there was no demand for consumers to ensure they had T2 security chip compatibility. Either your Mac had this, or it could not upgrade beyond a certain level of MacOS, right?
Hardware requirements aside, what really happened is that most people just finally accepted that Apple was pushing to drive things forward. Out with the old 32bit architecture that would require new hardware and OS versions to be hampered to support old software.
It was never a question that we NEEDED to move beyond 32 bit, it was just who was going to make that call for their platform? Apple did it. And the initial backlash they received soon turned, rightly so, towards developers and vendors who didn't keep up.
Microsoft is doing a very comparable thing here. They are trying to keep forward momentum in the PC industry, in bot performance and security.

Let's face it - If Apple and Microsoft don't mandate and require forward changes, developers and vendors will absolutely sit on their heels and always do the absolute minimum required. We simply cannot count on anyone outside of Apple and Microsoft to drive these kinds of changes. And for the icing on the cake, this is the first time Microsoft had made such impactful and beneficial requirements for a new OS. They have been quietly upping the ante for Office 365, but that's never going to be as widely felt as what they're doing for Win11.

In summary: like it or not, Microsoft is doing good things here, just with very poor communication about those things. The changes they're pushing for, just like Apples pushes over the past couple of years, are necessary, even vital, to generate and maintain forward momentum in the industry.