Reassurance from head list representative on Windows 11 requirements: do not panic, things are not complete yet, PC Health Check utility updated #AdminNotice #win11


Hello forum members, Microsoft staff, Insiders and others,

First, thanks for keeping the discussion of Windows 11 lively and civil. Keep the discussion going.


I’m sure many are wondering if your system is ready for Windows 11. At this time, you can assume that computers produced from 2018 onwards are fully compatible; Microsoft clarified this in the updated Windows 11 specifications document. In reality, there are three sets of requirements, one on top of the other:


  • Any computer capable of running Windows 10, meant for Windows Insiders: a 32-bit or 64-bit processor supporting Physical Address Extension (PAE), No-eXecute (NX), Streaming SIMD Extension (SSE) version 2, and in 64-bit processors, support for CMPXCHG16B (compare and exchange 128 bits), LAHF/SAHF, and PREFETCHW instructions; 2 GB of RAM (on 64-bit systems), 32 GB of storage. This is a compromise meant to let Windows Insiders running older systems test Windows 11 Insider Preview builds provided that folks joined the dev channel by yesterday (June 24th). I expect this combination won’t last unless Microsoft decides this compromised baseline will be the new Windows 11 baseline based on feedback from millions of Insiders.
  • Baseline for Windows 11: 1 GHz or faster 64-bit multi-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB or greater storage device, UEFI firmware with Secure Boot capability, Trusted Platform Module 1.2. This means potentially any computer produced from 2015 onwards are compatible. However, since Microsoft specified minimum processor requirement, not everyone will meet the next set of requirements.
  • Fully compatible: processors produced from 2018 onwards, TPM 2.0 present.

Of these, I expect Microsoft will push the “fully compatible” specs as Windows 11 baseline.


How much does Windows 11 cost? Same as Windows 10 (will need to pay if purchasing from retail channel; free if upgrading from a previous Windows release). If you are using Windows 7 or 8.x, it might be possible that an intermediate upgrade to Windows 10 must be performed before upgrading to Windows 11 as not all system from older era are fully compatible (see above) unless a direct upgrade route is offered.


What if my system is running Windows 10 and doesn’t meet “fully compatible” status based on my findings and PC Health Check? You will receive Windows 10 updates until October 14, 2025. By then I expect only one Windows 10 semi-annual channel (SAC) update will be left, and unless Microsoft changes SAC support duration (18 months of support, one year extension for Enterprise and Education fall releases), the latest SAC update might be Version 24H1 that must be released no later than early April 2024; this, too is subject to change without notice.


Speaking of PC Health Check, the utility was updated to be a bit more informative. If you ran the tool on a system not ready for Windows 11, you would have seen “your system isn’t compatible”. Now the tool will state why your system cannot run Windows 11 (on my computer equipped with an Intel Haswell processor, the utility correctly points out that I have an unsupported processor), which is better than what we saw yesterday. But I don’t think the utility should be trusted fully – there was one case (reported by a member) where the utility flagged a Haswell system as ready for Windows 11 (I expect it will show a different result now), along with the utility (and hence the baseline requirement) being updated based on what Windows Insiders will report to Microsoft as early as Independence Day (July 2-5, 2021) weekend in United States.


Is Windows 11 accessible and usable by screen reader users? That we will find out for sure as early as next week, but based on reports from Insiders running build 21390 (the latest Windows Insider Preview build), things are looking okay. I have asked members of Insiders subgroup to report their findings to the parent (this) forum so you can prepare accordingly. I expect screen reader vendors will prepare their products for Windows 11 user interface changes (I can assure you that the internal system version on Windows 11 is still 10.0, as evidenced by Windows 11 SDK files; the build reported is 22000, and that, too, can change).


I (the outgoing Win10 Forum head list representative) am saying all this to reassure you: do not panic. I, Nimer( the incoming Win10 Forum head rep/owner), Austin and countless others share your excitement, frustrations, disappointments, and thirst for information. This forum has gone through this phenomenon many times over the course of Windows 10 era (from October 2014 until now); if you think about it, this makes us more resilient and better prepared for what is to come. It also reveals that we are learning to recognize times and seasons – things, including support for a given Windows release (or a family of them) will come to an end eventually, and Windows 11 isn’t an exception.


A few things to remember:

  • If you do have updated info on Windows 11, please provide links to articles and other reputable sources for verification purposes.
  • This forum cluster will accept discussions surrounding Windows 10 and later (including Windows 11 and future releases), although I advise avoiding discussions about unsupported releases unless talking about upgrades (in a way, questions and comments about Windows 7 and 8.x are acceptable provided that they are about upgrading to Windows 10 and later). This will take full effect after January 2023 when support for anything other than Windows 10 and later ends.
  • Listen to advice from Windows Insiders as you prepare for Windows 10/11 era.
  • Screen reader advisories will still continue for Windows 10. This also means advisories will also cover future releases such as Windows 11. Just like in the past, these advisories will be sent shortly before a feature update is released. For a given screen reader, notices from vendors (in case of Narrator, Microsoft) can override advisories from this forum unless reality (user experience reports) says otherwise. I expect vendors will issue Windows 11 advisories in the fall (for NVDA users, I can assure you that I will keep an eye on Windows 11 for a while).
  • Unless Microsoft changes their maintenance strategy, cumulative update (KB alert) announcements (monthly and preview) will continue to be a regular feature of this forum, now expanded to cover Windows 11 and future releases (as for how that could look like, you will come across one once Windows 11 is released to release preview Insiders). The very last cumulative update for Windows 10 is tentatively scheduled for October 14, 2025.


Thank you. Please stay safe and healthy (do not forget that we are still living through a pandemic).