- Windows 11 is finally out to the public to download on supported hardware.
- Unlike the Windows 10 update, Microsoft has rather strict hardware requirements for the Windows 11 upgrade, which poses several compatibility issues this time around.
- Being unable to install Windows 11 on unsupported CPUs is one such issue that restricts you from upgrading. But fortunately, there’s a Registry hack that saves the day!
Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 11, is now available to download on compatible hardware. Hardware that needs to concord strictly with the company’s Windows 11 system requirements sheet that requires TPM version 2.0 and at least 7th-gen Intel Core or 2nd-gen AMD Ryzen CPU, among other requirements.
Of course, these are the recommended system requirements, and you can run Windows 11 even on less powerful computers. However, there’s a catch here: Microsoft’s official upgrading tool won’t let you upgrade your PC to Windows 11 if it doesn’t meet the recommended system requirements.
As such, you may get error messages like “This PC doesn’t currently meet Windows 11 system requirements“, be it due to incompatible CPU or lack of TPU 2.0 support.
While we’ve already got you covered on installing Windows 11 on PCs without TPM 2.0, this guide will help you solve the other problem: how to install Windows 11 on unsupported processors.
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Steps to Install Windows 11 on Unsupported CPUs
If you’re following this guide, we assume you’ve already established that it’s your CPU that’s causing a bottleneck while upgrading to Windows 11—and not other factors like lack of TPM 2.0 support or Secure Boot.
However, if you haven’t, we recommend you download Microsoft’s PC Health Check app and run a compatibility check to find out if your device has the minimum system requirements required to run Windows 11. In the case of an unsupported CPU, the app would throw an error message, as shown in the image below.
Once done, follow the steps below to install Windows 11 on your PC running an unsupported CPU. For this guide, we’ll be using a Windows 11 ISO (offered by Microsoft) and installing it on the system via the setup wizard—without needing to reformat it or use an installer USB drive.
Step 1: Download Windows 11 ISO
First things first, you need to download the Windows 11 ISO on your system. To do this:
- Head over to Microsoft’s Download Windows 11 page using the link below.
- Scroll down to the Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO) section.
- Click on the Select Download dropdown button and choose Windows 11.
- Hit the Download button.
- Click on the Choose one dropdown under Select the product language and choose your preferred language.
- Tap Confirm.
- Click the 64-bit Download button under Download to begin downloading the Windows 11 ISO file.
Depending on your internet connection, it might take you some time to download this file, which sits at around 5.1GB. So in the meanwhile, you can proceed to step 2.
Step 2: Modify Windows Registry to Bypass CPU Check
Windows Registry is a database comprising various configuration settings referenced by the system to function. Tweaking or modifying an entry (or key) here lets you control how the system references that particular key, and in turn, allows you to control the system behavior for the same.
In this case, we’ll be adding a new Windows Registry key to get the system to ignore the CPU requirement and let us install Windows 11 on our machine with an unsupported CPU. Follow the steps below to perform this:
- Open Run (Windows + R), type regedit, and hit Enter to launch Registry Editor. Alternatively, click Start and search regedit or Windows Registry.
- Tap the search box/address bar right below the toolbar and enter the following path:
- In the right pane, right-click on the blank space and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value from the menu.
- Add the following as the name of the value: AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMorCPU.
- Double-click on the value you just created, and enter 1 into the Value data.
- Hit OK to save the value.
- Exit the Registry Editor.
In most cases, this Registry edit wouldn’t require a restart. However, if you perform the next step and the Windows 11 installer still throws the same error message, you must restart your PC and attempt to upgrade again.
Step 3: Install Windows 11 Using the Setup Wizard
Finally, with the Windows 11 ISO downloaded and the new Windows Registry added, you can now move on to installing Windows 11 using the following steps:
- Head over to the folder where you’ve downloaded the Windows 11 ISO file.
- Right-click on the file and select Open with > Windows Explorer to open the ISO file.
- Double-click the setup.exe file and hit Yes in the User Account Control prompt.
- After the wizard finishes preparing the update and presents you with the first Windows 11 Setup screen, click Next.
- Hit Accept on the Applicable notices and license terms screen.
- Select an option on the Choose what to keep screen and hit Next.
- On the What needs your attention screen, hit Accept. [It’s basically an acknowledgment that Windows requires you to accept, wherein it states that continuing with the installation on an unsupported CPU would result in your PC no longer being supported and entitled to future updates.]
- Finally, tap Install on the Ready to install screen to begin Windows 11 installation on your PC.
Sit back, relax, and let the Windows 11 installation process finish! Bear in mind that your PC may restart a few times during the process. So if you’ve got multiple operating systems running on your computer, make sure you promptly attend them and select Windows for each restart.
We’ve successfully managed to get this method to work on our Dell Vostro 14-5459 laptop on Windows 10 Home (in dual boot with Linux), running an Intel Core i5-6200 CPU (and 8GB RAM), which qualifies as unsupported hardware that doesn’t meet the Windows 11 hardware requirements.
Also, if you’re worried about the Windows 11 installer breaking the GRUB and rendering your dual-boot system unusable, it likely won’t. But, in case it does, you can simply repair the GRUB to get it working again.
Successfully Upgrading Your PC With Unsupported CPU to Windows 11
If you followed the instructions in this guide correctly and everything went smoothly, you should’ve been able to upgrade your PC running an unsupported CPU to Windows 11 with ease. Although there might be a few other ways to get this done, we feel this is the easiest method to get Windows 11 running on a computer with an unsupported CPU.
Once you’ve managed to upgrade your PC, you should be able to access all the Windows 11 features. Moving forward, if for some reason you don’t like Windows 11 or experience issues with it, you can roll back to Windows 10 with the help of our guide here.
FAQs About Installing Windows 11 on Unsupported CPUs
As per the official Windows 11 compatibility page, Microsoft will only offer guaranteed support for machines running 8th-gen Intel Core or higher and Ryzen 2000 or newer processors. So if you've got any older CPU than that, you might have to resort to using the guide above. Of course, since Microsoft won't support this installation, you might want to tread the path at your discretion.
However, if there are compatibility issues with your device's hardware, you can follow the steps in this guide or here to install Windows 11 on your system.
According to Microsoft's system requirements guidelines, your i5 should be 8th-gen or higher to officially support the Windows 11 upgrade.
At the time of writing this guide, Windows 11 is available to download for free to all Windows 10 users. So if you have a genuine copy of Windows 10, you can upgrade your PC to the latest version for absolutely free.
Yes, as long as you have a genuine/licensed version of Windows 10.