Microsoft may withhold security updates from unsupported Windows 11 PCs - Ars Technica

proceed with caution —

MS would really, really like you to use an officially supported PC.

Andrew Cunningham - 8/30/2021, 2:34 PM

The latest Windows focuses heavily on improved task management, prettier UI, and a much more ambitious Microsoft Store.

Enlarge / The latest Windows focuses heavily on improved task management, prettier UI, and a much more ambitious Microsoft Store.

There are still a lot of question marks about running Windows 11 on unsupported hardware. We know that Microsoft won't go to extraordinary lengths to keep you from running it, we know that the new OS won't be offered to older PCs automatically using Windows Update, and we know that although Microsoft's preferred security settings can degrade performance on older hardware, those settings still won't be the defaults for new installs. But now, Microsoft has added another question to that list: Will unsupported PCs be able to get updates?

The company hasn't out and out refused to offer updates for PCs that don't meet the official requirements, but Microsoft told the Verge that old PCs running Windows 11 wouldn't be "entitled" to Windows Updates, including security and driver updates. Assuming Windows 11 receives major updates once every six months or so, as Windows 10 does, those releases may also need to be installed manually on unsupported computers.

However updating unsupported PCs works in Windows 11, it's clear that Microsoft doesn't want to encourage the use of the operating system on PCs that don't meet the minimum performance and security requirements. The news that unsupported Windows 11 installs would be allowed at all was told to reporters on background, and not announced in last week's official post on the Windows blog. The company has told us that running Windows 11 on unsupported PCs was "not recommended" and that these installs are best used for temporary test machines and not hardware you rely on day to day. The company has continually reminded users that Windows 10 will be receiving a 21H2 update in the fall and that it will get security updates through October 14, 2025. It all adds up to a giant implied "just because you can doesn't mean you should."

We'll be testing the release version of Windows 11 on a range of unsupported hardware as part of our review of the operating system to give people who install the OS on older hardware some idea what they're in for. But if you want to be guaranteed a seamless automated upgrade experience, the safest way is still to use a PC with the requisite security hardware and a supported CPU. And while Microsoft recently added a handful of previously borderline processors to that CPU support list, it isn't budging on older chips.