Earlier today, Microsoft finally took the wraps off of its repeatedly-leaked new operating system, Windows 11. It brings along a host of changes, from a UI overhaul to tighter integration with Teams. Microsoft also plans to include support for the newest hardware standards and to streamline the update process. As with most advances in software, new features necessitate the use of updated hardware, and this is also the case with Windows 11. The new operating system upgrade is expected to arrive later this year, so you’ll want to be sure that your existing PC can meet the minimum system requirements. The same goes for any new devices you might plan on buying that will use Windows 11.
Windows 11 minimum PC system requirements
The minimum required system specifications for Windows 11 are as follows:
- Processor: 1GHz or faster with 2 or more cores - 64-bit-compatible
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Storage: 64 GB or larger storage device
- System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
- Graphics: DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
- Display: >9” with HD Resolution (720p)
- Internet connection: Microsoft account and internet connectivity required for setup for Windows 11 Home
Most of these requirements should be easy to meet, even for more modest laptops and desktop PCs. One of the bigger changes from Windows 10 will be the internet connection requirement to set up Windows 11 Home edition installations. This was available in Windows 10 but could be bypassed in favor of using offline accounts.
The new TPM 2.0 requirement for Windows 11 could end up causing some headaches for users who would otherwise have hardware eligible for upgrading to the new operating system. TPM stands for Trusted Platform Module. It is a collection of hardware and software that are used for security and encryption purposes. Use of this system is common for corporate or business fleet deployments of laptops or desktops. Microsoft has serious plans to increase the security of Windows PC, and requiring TPM 2.0 will be the first step.
As this is not a feature that is heavily advertised for hardware intended for the DIY PC gaming market, your system may not be ready to meet this requirement, even if it is relatively new and powerful. Many motherboards lack the required hardware module and/or have the feature disabled at the BIOS level by default. Some motherboards have onboard headers for a TPM module, but the module itself will need to be purchased and installed by the end-user before TPM functionality can be enabled in the BIOS.
As an example, my personal PC uses the ASUS ROG Maximus Hero XI motherboard to hold the Intel Core i9-9900K CPU. This is not an old platform by any means but is not TPM 2.0 compliant out of the box. To upgrade to Windows 11, I must purchase a special ASUS TPM module and install it into the motherboard’s TPM header, then update my BIOS and enable TPM 2.0. Be sure to check with your PC, laptop, or motherboard manufacturer for more information on TPM 2.0 compatibility before you upgrade to Windows 11 later this year.