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Windows 11 system requirements, can your old laptop or computer support it?

Windows 11 is going to be available for free later this year, and this seems like the right time to figure out if your PC will support it or not.

Story highlights
  • You will be able to download Windows 11 for free later this year.
  • Your old PC may support Windows 11 if it meets certain requirements.
  • Most recent computers that run Windows 10 will likely be able to run Windows 11.

Microsoft's long-anticipated Windows 11 is finally launched, and along with that, people have got what is the biggest dilemma for buying gadgets -- whether they should invest in a new machine or if their old one is good enough to last a few more years. And this dilemma especially comes striking when a new operating system is out. Such as Windows 11. Microsoft's new Windows brings a number of changes, including a clutter-free and pretty design for PC users. And because Windows 11 looks so enticing, people are asking if their old computer can run it or if they need a new PC or laptop for new Windows.

I have the answer to your questions, but first a brush-up on what Microsoft has introduced with Windows 11.

Out and out, the Windows 11 operating system is a big upgrade over Windows 10, which has been here for over six years now. The biggest change is the new design in Windows 11 where the Start menu has found a new home at the centre of the taskbar, there are widgets now to give you the information in one place, you have a new sound for Windows bootup, you can see new icons and fonts, among other new visual elements. The whole redesign is based on the shift that people showed in the pandemic, which is why there is an easy-to-access Teams button right on the taskbar, integrated well with Windows.

There are many exciting features that make Windows 11 a fun and worthy upgrade over Windows 10, so let us now talk about whether your machine can have it or if you would need a new one.

Windows 11 requirements

Windows 11 is an advanced operating system, much like Apple's macOS. But what is unlike macOS is the diversity in the hardware. There are many OEMs that ship Windows on their PCs, laptops, convertibles, and whatnot. And that is why Microsoft has to have a set of prerequisites for its operating system to deliver what it promises.

The minimum system requirements for Windows 11 are:

Processor - You need to have a processor or System on a Chip (SoC) with at least 1GHz clock speed, two cores, and a 64-bit architecture. This includes pretty much all Intel's Core, Pentium, Evo chipsets, as well as AMD's Ryzen chipsets, among others.

RAM - Your PC should have at least 4GB of RAM to be able to run Windows 11. If your old PC has 2GB of RAM, you cannot install Windows 11 and that is why you will need to go shopping for a new one or physically increase the RAM on your PC.

Storage - 64GB is the minimum storage your PC needs to have. I think it is a pretty small requirement, so most old PCs and laptops will be covered.

System firmware - Your PC needs to have UEFI and Secure Boot for Windows 11. UEFI is very similar to BIOS and is essential for connecting a computer's firmware to its operating system. Secure Boot is a set of programs that check whether your operating system is secure for running on a machine.

Graphics card - Microsoft recommends DirectX 12 compatible graphics cards with WDDM 2.x for Windows 11. Nearly all graphics cards from Intel, Nvidia, and AMD recently launched support DirectX 12, but you may want to check whether your PC has a compatible one or not. Do not worry, you do not need to do much for that, but I will tell you more about this a bit later.

Display - Your PC needs to have at least a 9-inch screen with HD (720p) resolution. Most laptops have either 14-inch or 15.6-inch screens, while monitors come in different sizes all bigger than 9-inch, so display should not be a problem for your old PC.

Internet - You will need the internet to activate Windows 11, besides, of course, downloading it on your PC. Only Windows 10 users with a genuine copy are eligible to download Windows 11.

How to check if your PC is compatible with Windows 11?

It is very simple. If you are not familiar with the jargon that Microsoft just threw at you, there is a tool that will check whether your PC has the required hardware for Windows 11. This tool is called PC Health Checkup and it is free to download from the Microsoft website. Just run it on your PC or laptop, and the tool will tell you whether your machine can support Windows 11 or not.

Windows 11 is going to be free to download, as well, but only for people with genuine Windows 10 already on their computers. Microsoft said the rollout should begin sometime in November and will continue into 2022. But if you cannot wait for that long, you can be a part of the Windows Insider Program and test Windows 11 beta versions until the stable release.