How to install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware

Windows 11 has been released as a developer preview, and while it remains unstable there are many reasons you might want to try it, such as for development or just to get a feel of the operating system that could soon replace Windows 10. I do recommend against installing this if you expect stability, since there are many issues plaguing the new operating system. You can install it in a virtual machine using VirtualBox or VMWare if you really want to test it out.

However, Windows 11’s system requirements are pretty high. According to Microsoft, Windows 11 requires a 64-bit processor, dropping support for x86 32-bit processors supported in Windows 10. This shouldn’t be an issue if your PC was made in the last 10 years or so, since all 64-bit processors are supported so long as your processor is dual core and clocked at 1GHz. In practice, however, Windows 11 “requires” TPM 2.0 to install, which was released in late 2014 and not adopted by all PC manufacturers until around 2016. This means you could have bought a Surface Pro 4, once Microsoft’s flagship 2-in-1 convertible, in 2015, and now it’s suddenly incompatible with Windows 11.

Despite this, TPM 2.0 isn’t actually required to run Windows 11. The requirement can be bypassed. This means you can get Windows 11 on your old computer so long as it meets all those other requirements, and not have to worry about needing to upgrade your computer by 2025 when Microsoft cuts off all security updates to Windows 10, leaving it open to security risks. Or of course, you could have just installed Linux in this scenario giving your computer an extra 10 or so years of support. It’s easier than you may think.

To do this, you’ll need to obtain two ISO installer images. The first one is Windows 11, which is still in development. You can obtain this by using a UUP (Unified Update Platform) dumping script, which fetches Windows update files from Microsoft’s servers and then combines it into an ISO file you can then flash to a USB and boot your computer from. The second one is Windows 10, which you can download by using Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool.

You then need to flash the Windows 11 ISO to your USB stick. You should first format the USB drive by right clicking on it in Explorer and clicking format. Then double click on your Windows 11 ISO and it should mount as a virtual drive. Now click on it, press CTRL + A to select all files followed by CTRL + C to copy, then click on your USB and press CTRL + V to paste. Go back to Downloads or wherever you saved the Windows 10 ISO, and double click to mount it. Go to sources in the Windows 10 ISO mounted and copy one file called appraiserres.dll, then go to your USB drive and open the sources folder and copy it. You will be prompted if you want to overwrite, just click yes.

You are now done. You can now boot your PC up from USB and install Windows 11 without any issues. This will probably work fine on the stable build when it is released too. I have tested it in a VirtualBox VM which for some reason was refusing to install Windows 11 because it “wasn’t compatible” and it installed and booted fine. This will work on native hardware too, but unless you are prepared for bugs I recommend sticking to a virtual machine or second PC for now for Windows 11.

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