Skip to main content

Windows 11 won’t stop older PCs, but it might make you sign this waiver

Windows 11 won’t stop older PCs, but it might make you sign this waiver


Microsoft reserves the right to deny updates

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Image: Microsoft

Today, Microsoft officially reinstated its PC Health Check app for anyone to download, letting you easily see whether your computer is ready for Windows 11 ahead of its October 5th debut. (The company had previously removed the app because it was somewhat misleading, and when a more robust version returned in late August, it was only available to Windows Insiders.) You can find the app at the very bottom of this page if you scroll down, or click here if you don’t mind direct downloads.

But in some ways, the new PC Health Check app is still misleading because it suggests my perfectly good 7th-gen Core i7 desktop gaming PC isn’t ready for Windows 11, despite the fact that I’ve already installed Windows 11 and am running it with no major issues. In fact, I took this screenshot of my system that “doesn’t currently meet Windows 11 system requirements” from inside Windows 11 — a beta version that’s just a stone’s throw away from final.

My 7th-gen i7 might be more capable than a supported 8th-gen i3, but no official support for me.
My 7th-gen i7 might be more capable than a supported 8th-gen i3, but no official support for me.

This is a long-winded way of saying what Microsoft revealed to us in August: Windows 11 will not block PCs with older CPUs from installing Windows 11 just because those CPUs aren’t on its whitelist.

Instead, Microsoft is reserving the right to deny you Windows Updates, up to and including security updates, if those CPUs become a problem down the line. That brings me to the waiver.

When I recently tried to upgrade my system to the Windows 11 beta, the installer popped up an unusual message: a press-button-to-accept acknowledgment that my PC would “no longer be supported” and that I might even be voiding my PC’s warranty if I were to continue.

The Windows 11 upgrade waiver I spotted.
The Windows 11 upgrade waiver I spotted.

Microsoft disputes the idea that this is a waiver, and tells The Verge it doesn’t collect any data when you press that “accept” button (though it does collect telemetry in general, and knows when a system meets its system requirements). Here’s the company’s full statement:

The notification is not a waiver, it is a warning. We do not recommend users to install Windows 11 on PCs that do not meet Windows 11 minimum system requirements. We are warning users of the potential consequences of ignoring this recommendation and the risks associated with installing Windows 11 in PCs that do not meet the minimum system requirements.

The PC Health Check app is handy if you aren’t sure about some of the other Windows 11 requirements, particularly ones that might make you dig into your BIOS to turn on your TPM 2.0 module or Secure Boot — things that your system might totally already have and are fairly easy to switch on but are often turned off by default.

Microsoft will hold a Surface event tomorrow, September 22nd. We’ll be live, and here’s what to expect.

Update September 27th, 6:28PM ET: Added Microsoft statement and stance that this is not a waiver, but rather a warning.