SSD boot drives to become mandatory on Windows 11


Solid idea? Logical insanity? Or perhaps something that should have been the case from the start? No matter which side of the fence you are on, prepare for a little drama come next year.

That’s because Microsoft is on track to make SSD boot drives a system requirement for Windows 11.

For OEMs, at least.

The software titan is apparently telling original equipment manufacturers — companies like Dell and HP that make Windows devices — to drop hard drives in favor of solid-state drives by 2023 for new machines powered by the operating system.

And the reasoning for this is simple enough: To ensure a better experience for end users.

The news of this change comes the way of John Chen, CEO of storage research firm TRENDFOCUS. He revealed that Redmond is pushing vendors behind the scene to that SSDs are made compulsory as boot drives, and the traditional HDDs no longer allowed to be used as such.

The idea is for this big switch to go live at some point in 2023, at most 2024.

His full statement on how things are currently shaping up:

“The original cut-in date based on our discussions with OEMs was to be this year, but it has been pushed out to sometime next year (the second half, I believe, but not clear on the firm date). OEMs are trying to negotiate some level of push out (emerging market transition in 2024, or desktop transition in 2024), but things are still in flux.”

Although the general hardware requirements for Windows 11 still does not warrant an SSD, Microsoft has already made it mandatory for some features like running Android apps natively on the operating system.

And there is sure to be some pushback to this idea, both from users and hardware makers.

The switch itself is no big deal, almost everyone is aware of the performance advantage that SSDs provide compared to traditional HDDs.

But at the end of the day, it all comes down to money. Capacity still trumps performance for plenty of users. And a switch like this will likely mean dropping from a 1TB HDD down to a 256GB SSD, which becomes a problem in the more budget focused line of devices.

Particularly in developing countries, where the costs quickly add up.

Nevertheless, now that the cat is out of the bag, we do know that OEMs are going to make the transition at some point in the future. Even if it means pairing a tiny SSD with a more capacious hard drive.