Windows 11 Upgrade: How to Navigate Processors, TPMs, Secure Boot, Dual Boot, ISOs, and More


I don’t know what to call it anything else: Windows 11 upgrade situation is a confusing mess. Depending on when your PC was built, what components you chose, and how it was configured, there’s a good chance Microsoft is trying to talk you out of installing the free upgrade, which is available at a later date. day earlier today. Millions of people will likely be told that their systems are incompatible, and Microsoft reserves the right to suspend security updates if you install on older systems.

But as far as we can tell, Windows 11 is largely Windows 10 with a new lick of paint, and there’s a good chance your Windows 10 computer is running Windows 11 just fine. Do we recommend it? Not necessarily, but this article could help you determine if your PC is ready for the ride.

Here’s a basic checklist of what you’ll likely need and how you might meet each requirement.

  • Basic system requirements: 1 GHz dual-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, UEFI motherboard, TPM 2.0, DX12 graphics card, 720p display

  • UEFI must be enabled
  • TPM must be activated
  • Secure Boot must be enabled
  • The processor must be on Microsoft’s approved list if you want an in-place upgrade
  • 64 GB of free space if you want to dual boot Windows 11

Before going any further, why not try Microsoft’s official PC Health Check tool? (Direct download here.) If you’re successful, you’re probably already fine. Just wait for the official Windows update and you should be good to go.

But if not, your first steps should probably be to enable your TPM and Secure Boot settings.

How to activate the TPM

As we discussed in June, you probably already have a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) on your PC, built into your desktop or laptop motherboard or CPU. (If you don’t, there are ways around the problem, but let’s start by saying you do.)

Windows may see your TPM, and you can easily check by running the aforementioned PC Health Check tool or pressing Win + R, while typing tpm.msc in the window that appears and pressing Enter to see what type of TPM might be present and if it is “ready to use”.

If not, don’t give up yet! It might just be disabled in your BIOS and you will need to look for it.

Once you are in the BIOS, the TPM setting has a wide variety of names. (My desktop motherboard called it “Intel PTT” (Platform Trust Technology), but it could be an “AMD PSP fTPM” or just a “Security Device”.) If you don’t see d An obvious place to check, Microsoft suggests looking for a submenu called “Advanced,” “Security,” or “Trusted Computing.”

Oh, and depending on your BIOS, you might need to use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move around and maybe even the PG UP / PG DOWN buttons to turn things on and off again. (I apologize if you know, but it’s no longer safe to assume.)

Understood? Great! But don’t exit BIOS just yet.

If you only have a TPM 1.2, not TPM 2.0, you’re still out of luck: Microsoft will allow you to change a registry key in Windows to allow upgrades “if you recognize and understand the risks. “. If so, press Start, type regedit, to research “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEM Setup MoSetup ” find it Allow upgrades with unsupported TPM or CPU key and set its value to 1.

How to enable secure boot

Once you’re in your motherboard’s BIOS, you should probably also be able to locate a submenu for Secure Boot. It can be buried in a “Security”, “Start” or “Authentication” tab.

Slide it to “On”, if it is not already.

Secure Boot is easy to find in the UEFI of a modern Dell laptop, less with a random desktop motherboard.
Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

If you want to check if Secure Boot is already enabled from Windows (maybe saving yourself a trip to the BIOS), there are also a couple of ways to do that: in addition to Microsoft’s PC Health Check tool (direct download) you can hit Start and type System information, and launch this app to see a variety of things, including Secure Boot failover status and your current BIOS mode.

I can’t enable Secure Boot and I’m not at all sure I have UEFI.

Unless your PC is very old, you probably have the option UEFI BIOS, but you may not currently be using it. You may be using a “legacy” BIOS that uses Master Boot Record (MBR) partitioned disks instead of the modern GUID Partition Table (GPT) standard required by Windows for UEFI.

If that sounded like a load of alphabet soup, you might want to stop here! Microsoft has an MBR to GPT converter tool, but playing around with partition tables fundamentally endangers your disk data. This tool did not work for a Edge member of staff, who then used a different method which ended up erasing his entire partition. (Sorry Cam!)

If you don’t care about your data, you might as well do a clean install of Windows 11. And if you care about that data, why not try dual-booting Windows 11 instead? Also, these might be your only easy options if your processor is too old.

“The processor is not supported for this version of Windows.” To help!

While there is always tips for bypassing Microsoft’s restrictions – a Edge Writer tricked the Windows 11 updater by using a combination of old and new Frankenstein-style ISOs – the company typically does not allow PCs with older processors to install Windows 11 on their system. operating Windows 10 and keep existing settings and files.

This means that you will usually have to create a new drive partition or overwrite an existing partition, which makes dual booting particularly appealing.

You can find Microsoft’s official lists of supported processors at these links:

Typically, 8th Generation or newer Intel processors are supported, as is AMD Ryzen 2000 and newer.

How to do a dual boot of Windows 11 or properly install the operating system

Whether you’re starting from scratch or just dipping a toe in the water with a dual boot, the process should be pretty much the same – you’ll need to free up space, download the ISO, or the Windows tool. 11, burn it to a bootable drive and use it to install Windows.

For a dual boot, you don’t need a second drive in your PC – you can just shrink your existing partition with Microsoft’s Disk Management Tool. Hit Start, start typing “Create and format hard drive partitions” and hit enter to launch it. Make sure your disk has enough space, then right click and choose Reduce the volume. You’ll want to shrink it down to at least 65,536MB (64GB) so that there is enough room for Windows 11 – I gave my 128GB (131,072MB) laptop just to be sure. However, you can’t shrink more than you have, and you might want to leave some space for your current operating system to breathe.

The Reduce volume option in Disk Management.

To actually install this ISO, all you need is an external USB drive – an 8GB USB 3.0 dongle should work fine – and software to burn it to disc. Microsoft has their own media creation tool that we’ll link to soon, and I’m a huge fan of Rufus for burning my bootable USBs using downloadable ISOs as well.

Power users might want to try AveYo’s Universal MediaCreationTool, which can also download the image and bypass the TPM for you.

If all goes well, you will restart your computer with that USB drive plugged in to start the process. You may need to press a key like F12 while booting your system and manually select your external drive, if it doesn’t load automatically.

Now be sure to choose the right place to install Windows 11 – if you minimize your drive to make room for a dual boot, you’ll tell Windows to install in the unallocated space, and if you overwrite an existing drive to a clean install (file loss oh!), you will choose this drive instead. For a desktop computer with multiple drives, you may want to turn off and unplug the others before choosing the installation location. It’s too easy to hit the wrong button and erase data, and we would hate to have that happen to you.

Once you have a dual boot, it’s not too difficult to switch between the two operating systems. Hit it the Windows to bring up the Start menu, type UEFI and choose Change advanced startup options, then select Restart now. Once you have restarted in the advanced boot menu, choose Use another operating system and it will present you with your choice of operating system.


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