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Microsoft Slightly Expands List Of Windows 11 Compatible CPUs

The company says that several additional high-performance Intel chips also meet the requirements for running Windows 11, but no additional AMD processors will be added to support the operating system.

Microsoft said Friday that the list of processors that will be compatible with Windows 11 has been expanded slightly to include several additional high-performance Intel chips.

In the company’s latest update about processor compatibility for the forthcoming operating system, Microsoft said that no additional AMD processors will be added to the list of compatible CPUs for Windows 11. The successor to the widely deployed Windows 10 operating system, Windows 11 is planned to launch during the holiday season.

[Related: Lenovo’s Vladimir Rozanovich On Windows 11, Taking Market Share And The ‘One Lenovo’ Rollout]

While Microsoft had previously said that older PCs running some seventh-gen Intel chips might ultimately support Windows 11, the company has only added one seventh-gen Intel processor to the Windows 11 CPU list—the high-powered Intel Core 7820HQ. And even with that chip, Microsoft specified in a blog post Friday that Windows 11 will only be offered on “select devices that shipped with modern drivers based on Declarative, Componentized, Hardware Support Apps (DCH) design principles, including Surface Studio 2.”

Microsoft said that the only other older Intel chips that will support Windows 11 are the Intel Core X Series processors—high-performance Core i9 chips that were launched in late 2019. The company also added Intel Xeon W processors, which just debuted this quarter, to the Windows 11 compatibility list.

As for AMD chips, while Microsoft had previously said some AMD Zen 1 processors might be able to run Windows 11, that will not be the case.

“After carefully analyzing the first generation of AMD Zen processors in partnership with AMD, together we concluded that there are no additions to the supported CPU list,” Microsoft said in its post.

Besides those additional high-performance Intel chips, Microsoft company has said that its hardware requirements for upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 include having a processor from Intel’s eighth generation and newer, or AMD’s Zen 2 series and up.

While not mentioned in the blog post, it may be possible for users to run Windows 11 on non-compatible hardware by continuing to run a PC in the Windows Insider program or through the manual creation of a Windows 11 installation using the Media Creation Tool in Windows, ZDNet reported. CRN has reached out to Microsoft for comment.

In the blog post Friday, Microsoft said that Windows 11 “has raised the security baseline to make it the most secure version of Windows ever.”

“We have used the more than 8.2 trillion signals from Microsoft’s threat intelligence, reverse engineering on attacks as well as input from leading experts like the NSA, UK National Cyber Security Center and Canadian Centre for Cyber Security to design a security baseline in Windows 11 that addresses increasing threats that software alone cannot tackle,” Microsoft said in the post. “We have carefully designed the hardware requirements and default security features based on an analysis of the most effective defenses.”

In an interview with CRN last week, Lenovo North America President Vlad Rozanovich said that the CPU compatibility requirements for Windows 11 appear to reflect security protections included in newer CPUs against side-channel vulnerabilities such as Spectre and Meltdown. “Those are things that the CPU guys have gotten their arms around” in the recent generations of processors, Rozanovich said.

Solution provider partners of Microsoft have told CRN that the decision to increase the security requirements in Windows 11 is a positive move. “It’s great to see Microsoft taking more serious steps in making sure their OS is as secure as possible,” said Miguel Zamarripa, CIO of Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Simpleworks IT, in a previous email to CRN.

Microsoft has said that the upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 won’t be offered until 2022. That suggests that the original announcement from Microsoft that Windows 11 would be available this holiday only applies to new devices.

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