How to Tell if Your PC Can Run Windows 11
For Windows fans, the long wait is finally over. Windows 11 is here with us. The new operating system builds upon many of the features found in previous versions of Windows but make no mistake. Under the hood, you’ll find significant updates aimed at improving the performance and security of your PC.
For example, it comes with a new Mac-like design where the Taskbar icons are now centered in the middle of the screen, and application windows now feature rounded corners.
Although most Windows users are enthusiastic about these changes, the more demanding system/hardware requirements are some of their utmost concerns. It’s an open secret most PCs won’t make the cut because they just aren’t powerful enough.
Microsoft will give users an opportunity to upgrade to Windows 11 for free, but given the new requirements, it’s important to find out if your PC is equipped for the upgrade well in advance.
In this article, we’re going to explore all the ways you can tell if your PC can run Windows 11 to help you plan, prepare, and avoid disruptions to your workflow.
How Can I Tell if a PC Can Run Windows 11?
After more than six years of unusual “silence” by Microsoft, the tech giant has finally delivered Windows 11, albeit not with as much fanfare and excitement as in previous major upgrades.
The new OS is already being heralded as one of the fastest and most secure versions of Windows to date, with features that are designed for both work and play. But before you upgrade your current device or purchase a new PC, it’s important to make sure it can support all the bells and whistles of Windows 11.
Notably, Windows 11 comes with more stringent hardware requirements than Windows 10. Your device will need at least two cores of a compatible 64-bit processor, a minimum of 64GB storage, and UEFI system firmware with Secure Boot capability.
If you’re curious about whether your device meets these requirements, there are a few methods that will help you figure it out.
Let’s now go over each method in detail.
Method 1 – Using Microsoft’s PC Health Check
As with all other major upgrades, Microsoft has been keen to spread information about its new operating system to encourage its uptake and facilitate a smooth migration among users. Top executives have made media appearances and written a ton of blogs on what’s changed and what hasn’t.
But perhaps due to the sheer number of changes and a few complex issues which could pose problems even among seasoned developers and Windows technicians, Microsoft has also decided to offer an automated solution.
In the weeks leading up to the unveiling of Windows 11, the company announced it had developed a dedicated tool to help users assess their PC’s ability to run the new operating system. Microsoft’s PC Health Check app, among other things, evaluates your system’s features to determine if they can support Windows 11.
Here’s how to use the app:
- Download the app from the Windows 11 page at Microsoft.
- Open the app, agree to the terms of service, and then hit the “Install” button.
- Once you’ve installed the app successfully, you should see a message at the top of the app’s home page “Introducing Windows 11.” To check for your PC’s compatibility with Windows 11, click on “Check Now.”
After taking these steps, the Health Check app will run intelligently in the background and assess whether your PC is up to the task.
If your PC is ready for Windows 11, you’ll see a message that says, “This PC meets Windows 11 system requirements.” You’ll get a message that says, “You can get the free upgrade when it’s available.”
But if your system isn’t compatible with Windows 11, you’ll see a message that says, “This PC doesn’t currently meet Windows 11 system requirements.” The app will also list the requirements your PC doesn’t meet below that message. You’ll also be provided with links to more information.
Although you could fix and resolve some of the issues cited, there’s little you can do about others. For example, you might be able to activate Secure Boot and TPM 2.0. But there’s nothing you could do if your processor isn’t currently supported by Windows 11.
Although the Health Check app has made it easier to evaluate PCs for compatibility with Windows 11, its performance hasn’t been beyond reproach. There have been several reports suggesting that its evaluation process is flawed.
In fact, Microsoft did withdraw the app from circulation just days after its initial release, saying the move was intended to resolve issues to do with the app’s “level of detail or accuracy.” Some users have claimed they’ve been able to run Windows 11 on their PCs even after the app indicated they couldn’t.
Although the updated app is now available, some users have opted to give it a wide berth altogether and look for other ways to evaluate compatibility. This brings us to method 2.
Method 2 – Using the WhyNotWin11 App
The WhyNotWin11 app is an open-source program developed as an alternative to Microsoft’s Health Check app. It runs through your PC’s system to test for compatibility with Windows 11 and then displays the results.
Here’s how to use it:
- Download and install the app on your PC.
- Once the installation is successful, the app will ask you if you want to run it as your PC’s administrator. Click on “Yes” to agree to this request.
After that, the app will scan all your system’s software and hardware components to determine whether they are suitable for Windows 11. You’ll see an “Ok” message on the app’s home screen if all is well. If not, you’ll get a red cross.
While its interface may not be as friendly or aesthetically pleasing, the WhyNotWin11 app seems to offer better information. It goes into much greater detail if it deems your PC as incompatible with Windows 11.
You can run the WhyNotWin11 app on Windows 10 or any of its predecessors.
Method 3 – Go Manual
If you’re well versed in matters Windows and have a good understanding of your PC, you could manually evaluate your system’s compatibility with Windows 11. Although Microsoft has released a comprehensive list of Windows 11 requirements, here’s a brief breakdown of what you need:
- Processor: At least two cores of a compatible 64-bit processor with a speed of 1Ghz or faster
- Ram: At least 4GB
- Storage: A minimum of 64GB (could go up after subsequent updates)
- System Firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM): Version 2.0
- Graphics Card: Must support DirectX 12 or later, with WDDM 2.0 driver
- Display: A minimum of 9in at high-def (720p) resolution and at least 8 bits per color channel
- Internet Connection: Required to complete installation (Also needed for updates and select features)
In addition to the above requirements, you need a Microsoft Account (MSA) to complete Windows 11 installation on your device.
Stay in the Know
If you want to know if your PC can run Windows 11, Microsoft’s PC Health Check app can help. It’s simple and easy to use. All you need is to download and install it on your device.
However, the app has had a few issues that have sowed some doubt about its accuracy among users. If you want a more thorough evaluation of your system, complete with a breakdown of all the key issues, you could opt for the WhyNotWin11 app.
Better yet, you could examine your device and compare it with the features required for Windows 11 as documented on Microsoft’s official website.
If your PC isn’t compatible with Windows 11, you’ve got three options. First, you could continue using Windows 10. In fact, Microsoft has pledged to continue supporting Windows 10 through at least 2025. This means you’ll still get security updates and any other kind of support you may need.
Second, you could try to resolve the issues raised. For example, there are ways to enable TPM 2.0 or even Secure Boot on most PC models on the market today. If your PC doesn’t have sufficient storage, you could install a new hard drive with a higher volume.
If none of these options work, you can always raid the market for a new PC model that supports the new operating system.
What are your thoughts about Microsoft’s latest Windows upgrade?
Let us know in the comments section below.