How to Upgrade Your ‘Unsupported’ PC to Windows 11

Microsoft released Windows 11 in October 2021, ushering in a new era of the popular operating system with a refreshed visual design and useful new features. However, the rollout also brought stricter hardware requirements, leaving many PCs ineligible for an upgrade.

Read Also: How to Clear Your Update Cache on Windows 11 & 10

Windows 11 demands more powerful and secure device specifications to enable key capabilities like the integrated Android app support. But even if your current PC doesn’t meet the minimum processor, RAM, TPM 2.0 or graphics standards, you may still want access to the upgraded UI, gaming optimizations, Teams integration and productivity tools Windows 11 offers.

The good news is there are a few possible workarounds to upgrade even if your system is marked as incompatible or “unsupported.” Here we will walk through everything you need to determine if your Windows 10 PC can somehow make the jump and what steps are involved.

First we’ll help you verify if your device truly falls short of Windows 11 requirements. If it does, you’ll learn pros and cons of forcing an unsupported upgrade anyway versus staying on Windows 10. For those willing to accept the risks, we’ll provide detailed methods to perform the upgrade, get Windows 11 installed on an unsupported PC and tips to resolve any post-installation headaches.

Let’s start by examining how to check if your PC’s hardware specs meet the Windows 11 minimum standards.

Is My PC Compatible With Windows 11?

Before attempting any workaround, first confirm whether your Windows 10 PC definitively falls below the Windows 11 minimum hardware requirements.

The three key specs to check are processor generation, RAM amount, and TPM 2.0 support:

Minimum Requirements:

  • CPU: 1GHz or faster, 2 or more cores, 64-bit compatible
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
  • Graphics Card: DirectX 12 compatible
  • Display: 720p, 8-bit per color channel
  • Full requirements from Microsoft here

You have a couple options to quickly validate if your device meets the bar.

Using Windows PC Health Check App

The official way is to download and run Microsoft’s PC Health Check app. This small utility scans your entire system and reports whether your specific hardware configuration satisfies Windows 11 requirements.

To use:

  1. Download and install the PC Health Check App
  2. Agree to the privacy policy
  3. Click “Check Now” to run the automated checks
  4. View your compatibility results

If found incompatible, it should provide details on which particular standards your PC fails to meet.

Checking Specs Manually

Alternatively, you can check your full system specs manually without any extra apps.

Here’s what to look for in your Windows Settings or Device Manager:

  • CPU: The model needs to be 8th generation Intel Core (8000 series) or newer, or AMD Zen 2 or newer. You can view this in Settings > System > About.
  • RAM: At least 4GB capacity. Check in Settings > System > About.
  • Storage: Note total storage over 64GB. Seen in Settings > System > Storage.
  • Graphics driver: Needs WDDM 2.0 support and DirectX 12 or later. See Device Manager > Display adapters.
  • TPM 2.0: Look in Settings > Windows Security > Device Security > Security processor. Enable this if disabled.
  • Secure Boot: Check in Settings > Update & Security > Recovery and enable if necessary.

If you meet all the above Windows 11-ready criteria except TPM 2.0, there are still ways to upgrade and just enable TPM later.

Now let’s examine the pros and cons of moving to Windows 11 on non-supported hardware.

How to Upgrade an Unsupported PC to Windows 11

If you have an older or lower-spec PC but still wish to migrate to Windows 11, there are a few unofficial methods to force the upgrade path.

The general approach relies on bypassing or tweaking the compatibility checks to trick the Windows 11 installer into proceeding.

Below we outline a couple common options. Please read carefully as some techniques may seem technical if you aren’t familiar with manually editing Windows files and settings.

Method 1: Install Windows 11 Anyway

The most straightforward approach is to simply attempt installing Windows 11 regardless of any compatibility warnings.

This relies on creating Windows 11 installation media, booting from it, then performing a clean install onto your unsupported PC.

Steps to Install:

  1. Download legitimate Windows 11 ISO file from Microsoft’s Software Download site.
  2. Using software like Rufus, create a bootable Windows 11 installer USB drive with the ISO.
  3. Restart your PC, enter BIOS settings (by pressing F2, F10 or DEL at startup), and enable both TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot if available.
  4. Boot from the USB drive and proceed with a clean install of Windows 11.

The main downside is eventually losing access to Windows Updates after initial installation.

Method 2: Registry Edits

More complex but effective is editing the Windows registry to bypass hardware checks, allowing you to upgrade your existing Windows 10 system to Windows 11.

How to Use Registry Editor:

  1. Type “regedit” into the Windows search bar and hit enter.
  2. Navigate carefully through the folders to find relevant registry keys.
  3. Right click keys and modify values to reflect the following recommendations:

Recommended Registry Tweaks



This tricks Windows into allowing your current Windows 10 system to upgrade despite any hardware incompatibility.

After upgrading, you can use this Open Source patcher to help re-enable Windows Updates too.

While effective, manual registry edits do come with potential to cause harm if done improperly. Proceed carefully.

Method 3: Third Party Tools

Skip the manual workarounds by using purpose-built tools for the job. Applications like the following handle all the heavy lifting automatically:

  • Rufus – Creator adds official TPM check bypass
  • UUPdump – Retrieves Windows 11 files for easy install

These streamline upgrading unsupported devices. But they still result in periodic loss of Windows Updates after running Windows 11 unless you apply additional community patches.

Now that you have Windows 11 installed through one method or another, let’s make sure it worked properly.

Verifying Windows 11 Upgrade Success

After installing Windows 11 on your previously unsupported PC, verify everything is working as expected before daily use:

Check for Windows 11 Branding

Confirm visual branding reflects you are in fact running Windows 11.

  • Desktop watermark says Windows 11
  • Settings > System > About shows Windows 11

Verify You Have Latest Windows 11 Build

Open a command prompt and input “winver” – ensure you are on Version 21H2, Build 22000+:

Edition: Windows 11 Home
Version: 21H2
Installed on: ‎7/‎18/‎2022
OS build: 22621.525
Experience: Windows Feature Experience Pack 1000.22621.525.0

Test Receiving Windows Updates

Attempt checking for system updates via Windows Update section of Settings app.

You may get error messages about unsupported hardware depending on the upgrade method used.

If you aren’t getting Windows Updates, research community patches like WhyNotWin11 to restore them.

Troubleshooting Problems After Upgrading

With Windows 11 now installed, avoid post-install headaches by preemptively resolving two common issues:

Display Driver Errors

Many unsupported graphics cards or drivers cause display problems like black screens after upgrading.

If you encounter issues, use the Windows Update Assistant to install certified display drivers.

Or boot into Safe Mode to install drivers directly from your manufacturer.

Boot Issues

An unsupported CPU risks having trouble booting Windows 11, leaving you unable to load the OS.

Use Start Repair tool to fix boot files, or reinstall Windows 11 cleanly if necessary.

Driver Incompatibility

To avoid peripherals like printers, scanners or accessories failing to work due to outdated drivers, manually download updated Windows 11 drivers from your device manufacturer websites.

Now that you hopefully installed Windows 11 seamlessly, let’s recap the key steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I upgrade to Windows 11 for free?

A: Yes, Windows 11 is a free upgrade for existing Windows 10 users. Simply access it through Windows Update once eligible.

Q: What are the risks of installing Windows 11 on an unsupported PC?

A: You risk losing access to important Windows Updates for bug/security fixes, potential stability or performance problems, and lack of support from Microsoft for troubleshooting issues.

Q: If my PC fails Windows 11 requirements at first, can I upgrade components to become compatible later?

A: Yes, you may be able to install new hardware like a supported CPU, TPM 2.0 module, RAM or drives at a later date to meet Windows 11 standards and regain access to updates.

Q: Can I upgrade an old PC with Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 11?

A: No, you can only upgrade to Windows 11 from a Windows 10 machine. You must first update the older Windows version to Windows 10 before attempting the Windows 11 upgrade.

Q: What PC components are easiest to upgrade to achieve Windows 11 compatibility?

A: Installing more RAM or larger/faster storage drives are two affordable components you can upgrade without replacing the entire system if you barely miss their original Windows 11 requirements.

Q: If I force Windows 11 to install on unsupported hardware, do I lose app compatibility with any Windows 10 programs?

A: You shouldn’t lose app compatibility since Windows 11 continues to support Windows 10 apps. However, certain apps may have decreased performance or stability on aging, unsupported hardware in Windows 11.

Q: Can I still receive driver updates if I force Windows 11 onto an unsupported PC?

A: You may still get crucial driver updates for your specific hardware components even without full Windows Updates. However, updating graphics drivers may pose issues leading to display problems unless installed properly.


Installing Windows 11 on a PC not officially meeting system requirements definitely carries risks of losing access to updates, potential instability and lack of troubleshooting assistance down the line.

However, with the right prep work and following our steps to perform registry tweaks or cleanly install Windows 11 anyway, an unsupported upgrade is certainly within reach.

The process can be tedious and continued patching necessary. So relying on an older or restricted device for daily use still isn’t advisable over time.

But for temporarily accessing Windows 11 benefits before your next full device upgrade, utilizing these unofficial methods lets you preview the OS and extend an aging PC’s viability just a while longer.

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