Windows 11 is here, but can I get it?

Microsoft introduced the final public release of Windows 11 to the world on October 5th 2021 and as you might expect are hailing it as the most advanced and secure Windows yet.  This is great news for the Windows system which has been the focus of Malicious software and virus' for decades. Unfortunately there is a catch to this and its a big one.  In the past to get access to the new operating system either required an in place 'upgrade' or a fresh install and was available to pretty much everyone.  With Windows 11 however, you need to have a computer which meets a pretty stringent specification most of which requires pretty modern components.  The headline requirements are:

 

  • 1Ghz CPU (Processor) which most machines will easily surpass,

  • 4Gb of system Ram - again if you are running windows 7 or above, the chances are you already have this,

  • 64Gb or free storage space, again no problem. 

 

Here now lies the issue:  The CPU must be one from a compatibility list that is dictated by Microsoft and its a very modern list.  Most CPU's that are older than 3 years will not qualify, rendering them unable to be upgraded beyond their current OS.  From the Intel line-up, this means an 8th Generation or newer Core 'i' CPU or a Zen 2 (or second generation) or newer AMD Ryzen CPU.  The full list can be found here.  This unfortunately rules out 6th and 7th gen Intel CPU's that are still recognised as some of the best Intel have released and are still very capable processors.

The next issue is the inclusion of TPM 2.0.  TPM (or Trusted Platform Module) is a hardware chip that is used to store encryption keys and can be accessed by the operating system to encrypt and protect files etc.  This is a good thing but unfortunately, up until now, its not been widely adopted beyond those power users running the 'Pro' versions of Windows who use the Bit Locker encryption provided by Windows 8 and beyond (it was actually available on windows vista, but you needed the 'Ultimate' version to be able to take advantage).  Consequently, many motherboards do not have this facility even if the CPU is a newer one.  Some motherboards do have something called a TPM header, this will allow you install a TPM chip which would need to be purchased separately.  Up until the announcement of Windows 11 TPM chips were available and were reasonably priced.  Now they are either out of stock or are significantly more expensive to obtain.  

In addition to the above, any new user must sign into windows 11 using a Microsoft account.  For most, this is not a deal breaker, but if you are a user that only wishes to have a 'local' account and not be signed up for Microsoft's services, then you would be better placed stickling with Windows 10 until its officially killed off in 2025. 

I qualify - now how do I get it?

The easiest way to obtain Windows 11 is to do an in place 'upgrade' from Windows 10.  You can do this from the 'Windows update' section of the settings menu.  If you get confirmation that the PC qualifies you can simply proceed with the upgrade from there.  The update is being rolled out on a phased basis so although you may qualify, you may not get the 'upgrade button' straight away.  however, to force the upgrade you can go to the Microsoft Windows upgrade assistant page and download the upgrade from there.  The link for this page is here.  Remember to make sure you have a backup of any data you don't want to lose in case anything goes wrong.  The second way would be to download the Windows 11 ISO and do a fresh install.  This is far more technical and will also mean your programs and files will be erased from the PC and you will need to reinstall then once Windows 11 has completed its installation.  

Here is a link to the Microsoft page that can get you started on checking for compatibility and to get the upgrade.  

Get Windows 11 | Microsoft

I don't qualify - but I would like to get it

There are a couple of options open to you here, both of which are likely to have a significant cost attached.  First off, you can purchase a new PC that is Windows 11 compatible.  Should you wish to go down this route, please get in touch and we can put together a quotation for a custom built machine that will qualify for Windows 11 and be tailor made for your specific usage requirements. The other way, is to upgrade your current PC.  If this was a 'custom built' machine, you maybe able to replace the motherboard, CPU and memory to ones that qualify for Windows 11.  If you have purchased an 'off the shelf' model from Dell, HP or the like, this may be more difficult and would depend on the actual model you chose at the time.  Please get in touch and we would be more than happy to resolve this for you.  A brand new custom built PC from us can cost as little as £500 and will offer ultra fast storage, modern components and more efficient power supplies and a 24 month onsite (where possible, geographic restrictions apply) warranty.

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