Windows 11 not coming to older PCs for reliability reasons


Eyeroll. Microsoft stands firm on its controversial decision of only newer hardware getting the Windows 11 operating system, even as Windows users continue to bemoan this assessment.

After all, this is a move that left a mountain of devices unsupported — including the company’s own Surface Laptop, Surface Pro 5, and Surface Go.

But apparently, the software titan has a good reason why it outlined these tough system requirements for the upcoming OS. And as it recently explained in a dedicated blog post, it all came down to the reliability of the experience.

In internal testing, Redmond observed a spike in Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) errors due to old driver support on unsupported hardware.

This is particularly troublesome on a modern operating system like Windows 11:

“Maintaining reliability over time is highly correlated with OEM and IHV driver support. The processors supported on Windows 11 are within OEM and IHV support and use modern (DCH) drivers. The move to modern drivers enables drivers and associated software to be installed and serviced in a coordinated manner through Windows Update and provides better mechanisms for tracking driver health.”

Telemetry data collected from PCs running the builds in the Windows Insider Program highlighted a major risk of these types of errors on older, unsupported hardware.

Microsoft found that Windows 11 was plagued with two main problems on outdated machines.

First being that unsupported devices had 52% more kernel mode crashes, while compatible devices provided a 99.8% crash-free experience. Secondly, applications hanging was 17% more likely on unsupported machines, and this figure grew to 43% for the first-party Microsoft aps.

This led to the software titan taking the tough road of only supporting processors that followed its OEM and IHV guidelines and using modern drivers.

Ultimately, providing the added benefit of better performance on Windows 11.