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Microsoft to make it difficult for old PCs to boot Windows 11 with next update

Microsoft has confirmed that PCs that are more than 15 years old and cannot officially anyway run Windows 11 will not support the next version by any means.

Edited By: Shubham Verma

Published: Feb 13, 2024, 10:40 AM IST | Updated: Feb 15, 2024, 12:03 AM IST

Microsoft will make it almost impossible for very old PCs to run Windows 11.
Microsoft will make it almost impossible for very old PCs to run Windows 11.

Story Highlights

  • Microsoft has announced the next major Windows update is coming soon.
  • The Windows 11 2024H2 version will not run on PCs older than 15 years.
  • But the unsupported PCs that are not that old will still continue to run Windows 11.

When Microsoft introduced Windows 11, it laid out clear guidelines on the minimum requirements a machine was supposed to have to be able to run the new Windows version. According to the guidelines, old PCs that did not meet the security standards could not officially run Windows 11. But people found different ways to make it happen. Despite the omission of a large set of old computers, Windows 11 was still running on unsupported PCs. That is going to partly change with the next Windows update called Windows 11 version 24H2, which will make it quite difficult for PCs to boot Windows 11 because they are too old.

The Windows 11 version 24H2 will be the first build to no longer boot on CPUs that do not comply with the POPCNT (population count) instruction. That simply means that PCs that are more than 15 years old and cannot officially anyway run Windows 11 will not support the next version by any means. POPCNT became standard on CPUs somewhere during the mid-2000s right after AMD introduced the Barcelona architecture, followed by the launch of Intel’s first-generation Core i-series CPUs. This means that pretty much all PCs launched over the past 15 years have POPCNT, but some people found a way to run Windows 11 on older machines.

What are these PCs anyway?

Some PCs running chips such as Intel Core 2 Duo have been running Windows 11 unofficially, although not the way modern machines do. The boot time for these machines was high and the overall experience was slow. But, at least Windows 11 could run on these machines, offering people some of the latest features. Microsoft is now tightening the noose on these machines.

The next Windows update will bar old machines from even booting Windows 11. So if you have somehow managed to sneakily run Windows 11 on your unsupported machine, you will have no option other than buying a modern PC should you decide to let the update install. In other words, your old PC should be able to continue running Windows 11 the way it has been as long as you do not install the update. It will, however, be difficult since crucial updates to Windows are required to support all the features. At the same time, the Windows 11 version 24H2 will not impact machines that are old but not older than 15 years, such as the ones running Intel 7th Gen or AMD Ryzen 1000 series CPUs. That is because they comply with the POPCNT instruction, which the next Windows 11 update will necessarily require to work.

The next Windows 11 update (version 2024H2) will be the next major upgrade, which will be based on a new version of the Windows platform called Germanium. It will pack generative AI features heavily and come with some advanced features, such as an advanced Copilot. It will start rolling out soon.

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Author Name | Shubham Verma

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