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    How to upgrade to Windows 11, whether your PC is supported or not / ArsTechnica · Friday, 12 August - 18:00

You name it, we've tried installing Windows 11 on it.

Enlarge / You name it, we've tried installing Windows 11 on it. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

We originally published this install guide for Windows 11 shortly after the OS was released in October 2021. To keep it current and as useful as possible, we updated it in August 2022 to cover tweaks that Microsoft has made to the Windows installer for version 22H2, and some new workarounds for unsupported systems.

Windows 11 has been out for nearly a year, and its first major update will be released at some point in the next few weeks. Even if our original review didn't convince you to upgrade, you might be thinking about it now that it's more established and some of the biggest early bugs have been fixed.

We've pulled together all kinds of resources to create a comprehensive install guide to upgrading to Windows 11. This includes advice and some step-by-step instructions for turning on officially required features like your TPM and Secure Boot, as well as official and unofficial ways to skirt the system-requirement checks on "unsupported" PCs, because Microsoft is not your parent and therefore cannot tell you what to do.

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    Microsoft open-sources its cute 3D emoji, albeit without Clippy / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 10 August - 16:00

Microsoft open-sources its cute 3D emoji, albeit without Clippy

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

As part of its Windows 11 design push, Microsoft also published fun redesigns for all of its emoji characters that added more character and texture than the older Windows 8- and 10-era versions. Today, the company is going one step further, open-sourcing the vast majority of these new "Fluent" emoji designs and publishing them to Github for anyone to modify and use.

Each open-sourced emoji has three iterations: the fully 3D version, complete with texture and color gradients; a flat "color" version that retains the basic color but removes textures and gradients (these are the ones you'll see if you open Windows 11's emoji menu); and a monochromatic "high contrast" version. All files are being made available as .svg vector graphics files so that they can be resized and otherwise manipulated without any loss of quality.

There are just a couple of Microsoft's designs that it hasn't open-sourced, including the paperclip that looks like Clippy (the character is apparently copyrighted). A couple of other emoji were excluded because Microsoft's versions exclude the Windows logo. There is no generic version of the paperclip emoji listed among the emoji Microsoft has published .

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    Parallels Desktop 18 for Mac adds ProMotion support / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 9 August - 19:30

A marketing splash image for Parallels Desktop 18, from the company's YouTube video about the release.

Enlarge / A marketing splash image for Parallels Desktop 18, from the company's YouTube video about the release. (credit: Parallels )

Mac-based virtualization software Parallels launched a new version today. As with most updates to the suite, Parallels Desktop 18 adds support for new Apple hardware features, improves Windows virtualization, and expands compatibility.

The two headlining features of Parallels Desktop 18 are ProMotion support and several new features and optimizations for playing Windows games on Macs.

The first feature is pretty straightforward: Parallels now fully supports automatic refresh rate changes up to 120 Hz, matching the ProMotion feature in the M1-based 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro .

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    Windows 11 encryption bug could cause data loss, temporary slowdowns on newer PCs / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 9 August - 17:31 · 1 minute

Windows 11 encryption bug could cause data loss, temporary slowdowns on newer PCs

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has published a knowledge base article acknowledging a problem with encryption acceleration in the newest versions of Windows that could result in data corruption. The company recommends installing the June 2022 security updates for Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022 "to prevent further damage," though there are no suggested solutions for anyone who has already lost data because of the bug.

The problems only affect relatively recent PCs and servers that support Vector Advanced Encryption Standard (VAES) instructions for accelerating cryptographic operations. Microsoft says affected systems use AES-XTS or AES-GCM instructions "on new hardware." Part of the AVX-512 instruction set , VAES instructions are supported by Intel's Ice Lake, Tiger Lake, Rocket Lake, and Alder Lake architectures—these power some 10th-generation Core CPUs for laptops, as well as all 11th- and 12th-gen Core CPUs. AMD's upcoming Zen 4 architecture also supports VAES, though by the time these chips are released in the fall, the patches will have had plenty of time to proliferate.

Microsoft says that the problem was caused when it added “new code paths” to support the updated encryption instructions in SymCrypt , Windows’ cryptographic function library. These code paths were added in the initial release of Windows 11 and Windows Server 2022, so the problem shouldn't affect older versions like Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019.

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    Old PCs are getting booted out of the Windows 11 Insider Preview / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 1 September, 2021 - 15:34 · 1 minute

Older-but-still-functional PCs like this Dell Latitude with a 6th-generation Intel processor can currently access Windows 11 Insider Preview builds, but that may end soon.

Enlarge / Older-but-still-functional PCs like this Dell Latitude with a 6th-generation Intel processor can currently access Windows 11 Insider Preview builds, but that may end soon. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Many older PCs have been happily running the Windows 11 previews for months now despite Microsoft's stringent official system requirements, but that's about to change. ZDNet reports that some users of unsupported PCs are beginning to see a message telling them to reinstall Windows 10 when they attempt to enroll older PCs in the Insider program after performing a clean install of the Windows 11 preview.

Neither of the two unsupported PCs I'm running the Insider Preview on—a Dell Latitude 3379 with a Core i3-6100U and a Dell XPS 13 9333 with a Core i5-4210U—have received this message yet, and they continue to download and install new updates on the Dev and Beta channels. I was also still able to opt in to the Windows 11 preview builds after reinstalling Windows 10 on the old XPS 13, albeit with the typical "Your PC does not meet the minimum hardware requirements and there may be issues and bugs" warning message. Presumably, this will change as we get closer to Windows 11's release date.

Microsoft has made efforts to explain its reasoning for why older processors won't be officially supported by Windows 11, but it has added only a small handful of older chips to the original compatibility list it announced in June. If you've been happy with the performance of Windows 11 on your "unsupported" PC and you'd like to install Windows 11 anyway, Microsoft won't go out of its way to prevent manual upgrades on older PCs , but the company has suggested that it might withhold security updates from those PCs going forward.

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    Windows 11’s months-long public rollout begins on October 5 / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 31 August, 2021 - 13:00 · 1 minute

Windows 11’s months-long public rollout begins on October 5

Enlarge (credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 is no longer merely "coming this fall." Microsoft will begin releasing the new operating system to the public on October 5 , starting with newer PCs (and PCs being sold in stores) and then rolling out to other supported systems over the next nine or so months. The company also says that the Amazon-powered Android app support that's coming to Windows 11 won't be ready for public consumption at launch; Microsoft will offer "a preview [of Android apps in the Microsoft Store] for Windows Insiders over the coming months."

Like recent Windows 10 updates, Windows 11 will have a phased rollout through Windows Update—most PCs won't begin to see and automatically install the update on October 5. Microsoft says that new PCs will be the first to upgrade, followed by older compatible PCs, "based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors." As with Windows 10 updates, you'll be able to download an ISO file to initiate the upgrade yourself (Microsoft also offers tools like the Windows Update Assistant to manually trigger upgrade installs, which we assume it will do for Windows 11, too). All compatible PCs should be offered the update by mid-2022.

For PCs that don't meet Microsoft's stringent system requirements —a recent 64-bit Intel, AMD, or Qualcomm processor, enabled Secure Boot support, and a TPM 2.0 module along with 4GB or more of RAM and 64GB or more of storage—Microsoft has been cagey. Neither today's announcement nor a post from last week explaining the security requirements mentions being able to install Windows 11 on unsupported PCs. But Microsoft told reporters that it won't disallow installation on incompatible systems as long as you install the operating system manually, before the company can later assert its right to withhold security and driver updates on those PCs if it wants to.

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    Microsoft may withhold security updates from unsupported Windows 11 PCs / ArsTechnica · Monday, 30 August, 2021 - 14:34 · 1 minute

The latest Windows focuses heavily on improved task management, prettier UI, and a much more ambitious Microsoft Store.

Enlarge / The latest Windows focuses heavily on improved task management, prettier UI, and a much more ambitious Microsoft Store. (credit: Microsoft )

There are still a lot of question marks about running Windows 11 on unsupported hardware. We know that Microsoft won't go to extraordinary lengths to keep you from running it , we know that the new OS won't be offered to older PCs automatically using Windows Update, and we know that although Microsoft's preferred security settings can degrade performance on older hardware , those settings still won't be the defaults for new installs. But now, Microsoft has added another question to that list: Will unsupported PCs be able to get updates?

The company hasn't out-and-out refused to offer updates for PCs that don't meet the official requirements, but Microsoft told The Verge that old PCs running Windows 11 wouldn't be "entitled" to Windows Updates, including security and driver updates. Assuming Windows 11 receives major updates once every six months or so, as Windows 10 does, those releases may also need to be installed manually on unsupported computers.

However updating unsupported PCs works in Windows 11, it's clear that Microsoft doesn't want to encourage the use of the operating system on PCs that don't meet the minimum performance and security requirements. The news that unsupported Windows 11 installs would be allowed at all was told to reporters on background, and not announced in last week's official post on the Windows blog . The company has told us that running Windows 11 on unsupported PCs was "not recommended" and that these installs are best used for temporary test machines and not hardware you rely on day-to-day. The company has continually reminded users that Windows 10 will be receiving a 21H2 update in the fall and that it will get security updates through October 14, 2025. It all adds up to a giant implied "just because you can doesn't mean you should ."

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    You’ll be able to run Windows 11 on older PCs—if you install the update manually / ArsTechnica · Friday, 27 August, 2021 - 17:55 · 1 minute

Microsoft won

Enlarge / Microsoft won't officially support running Windows 11 on old PCs, but the company won't stand in the way, either. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Microsoft officially announced some small additions to Windows 11's official CPU support list today, along with additional details about the operating system's security requirements . But another, quieter announcement should quell more of the system requirement-related angst: the Verge reports that Microsoft won't stop you from performing manual installs of Windows 11 on systems that don't meet the official requirements. That means that people running Windows 10 on unsupported systems won't be offered Windows 11 through Windows Update, but you'll still be able to update if you download an ISO file and perform an upgrade or a clean install manually.

This will be a particular boon to PCs right on the border of Windows 11's system requirements, like those running 6th- or 7th-generation Intel Core CPUs or first-generation AMD Ryzen processors. These chips are missing support for a few esoteric optional security requirements but can otherwise meet the performance and Secure Boot and TPM 2.0 requirements and still get modern DCH driver support from Intel, AMD, and most PC OEMs.

Microsoft is still actively recommending that you don't run Windows 11 on any system that doesn't meet the official support criteria. According to data from PCs running the Insider Preview builds, Microsoft says that PCs that didn't meet the requirements had "52% more kernel mode crashes" than PCs that did and that first-party apps crashed 43 percent more often on unsupported hardware. But allowing users to make the decision for themselves is arguably what the company should have done in the first place—people who don't seek out the Windows 11 update will never be offered it if their hardware isn't up to snuff, but advanced users, testers, and IT departments who do want to run the latest software on their computers can evaluate the trade-offs and make the decision for themselves.

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