Windows 11 has been released, but Microsoft will not automatically update unsupported computers, so users must perform the process manually.
Microsoft has made it very clear that it wants to restrict Windows 11 installation to certain PCs with appropriate hardware security features. Unfortunately, these requirements prevent many older but still usable PCs from undergoing Windows 11 upgrades. This means that sooner or later, users will need to buy new hardware to adapt to Windows 11.
Despite Microsoft’s requirements, users can install Windows 11 on older personal computers with a little ingenuity and some tricks. The key is to replace the key files in the Windows 10 ISO and Windows 11 ISO.
How to install Windows 11 on an unsupported old computer
It is important to note that the successful installation of Windows 11 still requires TPM 1.2 or higher and UEFI boot capabilities.
The reason for Microsoft’s hardware restriction is VBS and core isolation requirements. Older CPUs do not contain the subsystems required to effectively run the VBS protocol, which means that unless VBS and core isolation are disabled, the overall performance of these PCs will be significantly reduced.
1. To start upgrading the system, please download the ISO file for Windows 10 and Windows 11 from Microsoft.
2. Now that you have two ISO files, install the Windows 10 ISO by double-clicking the file name, and you will see a new drive (E:) containing multiple files and subfolders.
3. Create a new folder, assuming it is on your desktop, name it “Windows11_Special_Install”, and then copy the contents of the installed Windows 10 ISO to this new folder. This will create a modifiable version of the installed ISO file.
4. Uninstall the Windows 10 ISO by right-clicking on the drive (E:) and selecting “Eject” from the context menu.
5. Now, install the Windows 11 ISO file by double-clicking, navigating to the “sources” subfolder and scrolling down to the file named “install.wim”.
6. Copy the Windows 11 version of install.wim to the Windows11_Special_Install/sources folder and replace the Windows 10 version of the file.
7. Uninstall the Windows 11 ISO file by right-clicking on the drive and selecting “Eject” from the context menu.
8. Now, run the setup.exe application from the Windows11_Special_Install folder and follow the prompts to reinstall Windows 10. Of course, you will not install Windows 10, you will install Windows 11. The installation process is very smooth, it will automatically skip TPM, CPU, memory, hard disk, and startup security checks.
9. After installation and updates are complete, you should run the official Windows 11 operating system on a PC with an unsupported CPU. You can copy the contents of the Windows11_Special_Install folder to a USB flash drive so that you can install Windows 11 on other old computers.
Warning: Microsoft officially does not support such operations. Although the Microsoft blog post says that the company knows that users have taken these drastic actions, they have not taken steps to stop them, and they currently have no plans to do so-but that doesn’t mean they won’t, so users are needed at your own risk.