In a July 21 live stream, Microsoft Program Manager Aria Carley answered questions from users of the Microsoft Tech Community about the final hardware requirements for an upgrade to Windows 11. While hardware requirements, including but not limited to TPM 2.0 support, are not enforced for Windows 11 alpha images now available, Carley confirmed that the “hardware floor” would be real for final versions.
“So we’re talking about this new hardware floor of which devices are eligible and which aren’t,” Carley said, adding, “We know it sucks that some aren’t eligible for Windows 11.” She continued that Microsoft is imposing the unpopular hardware floor “to keep devices more productive, have a better experience, and most importantly, better security than before so they can stay protected in this new workforce.”
Despite acknowledging that the situation for affected users is “bad,” Carley echoed the hardware floor’s inflexibility in response to a later question, saying, “Group Policy doesn’t allow you to bypass hardware enforcement for Windows 11. We’re going to still blocking you from upgrading your device… to keep your devices supported and secure.”
Unsurprisingly, these answers didn’t seem to go over well with the public – according to Windows Central, the video’s lead commentary read, “A lot of these answers come off as being super tone-deaf…it looks like Windows 11 is another Windows 8.” Other comments – again according to Windows Central – speculated that the seemingly unnecessary hardware requirements are a thinly veiled ploy to boost sales of new computers, with corresponding boosts to Windows license sales.
Unfortunately, we have to believe several blogs in what the users of the Microsoft Tech Community had to say, because Microsoft simply disabled comments on the video and removed all existing comments in response to the negativity. While the comments are gone, the voting isn’t – with 2.7K likes and just 146 likes as of this afternoon.
In our opinion, Microsoft’s rush to introduce new hardware requirements is overly aggressive and mishandled, regardless of what anyone might think of the legitimacy of the unspecified security benefits. A much softer “made for Windows 11” campaign, requiring OEM hardware vendors to meet those requirements for new, OEM-installed Windows systems, would likely have been enough to achieve the same goals in roughly the same time frame.
Image by Jean-Luc Ichard via Getty Images