Learn about Windows 11 system requirements before you decide to upgrade.
Consider upgrading to Windows 11 and if you don't like it, downgrade to 10.
Support stops for Windows 10 in 2025, so it’s important to understand Windows 11 system requirements.
Microsoft, a huge player in the personal computer operating space, released its latest Windows reiteration in October 2021. However a year and a half later (at the time of this writing) not everyone has upgraded – and not everyone can upgrade. There are very specific system requirements for Windows 11.
Microsoft made it very easy for users to see if their computer supports Windows 11. If your device is on Windows 10, download and run the PC Health Check app, which assesses compatibility with the Windows 11 system requirements. This application doesn’t check your graphics card or display because many devices already meet these requirements.
Knowing that the PC Health Check app helps users on Windows 10 check compatibility for upgrade is great, but first, get to know the Windows 11 system requirements.
What Are the Basic Requirements?
Every operating system specifies minimum system requirements, and Windows 11 is no different. Each requirement is explored in-depth below. The most important thing to know is that your laptop must be running Windows 10, version 2004 or later, to upgrade. Go to Settings > Update and Security to find the option to upgrade.
The minimum processor required to run Windows 11 is a one-gigahertz (GHz) or faster, with two cores or more, and a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC).
An SoC is an integrated circuit typically used in laptops to leave more space in the case and cut down on heat build-up. The SoC may feature flash memory, random access memory (RAM), an internet connection, a graphics processing unit (GPU), and much more.
Windows 11 requires 4 gigabytes (GB) of RAM minimum to download properly. RAM stores the short-term data that the laptop uses to operate; because this data is short-term, every time your device is rebooted, the RAM clears.
To install Windows 11, you need a 64 GB minimum of storage. Having enough storage ensures that your operating system functions correctly.
System firmware requirements for Windows 11 are a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) Secure Boot capability. Secure Boot is a security feature designed to ensure malicious software does not load onto your laptop while the computer is booting up. Most modern laptops have Secure Boot, but sometimes changes affect Secure Boot capability.
To fix Secure Boot issues, go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. In Recovery, hit “restart now,” and select an advanced startup. After selecting Advanced Startup, receive a prompt to Troubleshoot, Advanced Options, and UEFI firmware settings. Restarting allows your computer to boot out of Legacy BIOS, and into UEFI/BIOS.
Trusted Platform Module, or TPM, is another Windows 11 requirement. TPM is enabled in most computers that have shipped out from the manufacturer in the last five years. However, if your computer doesn’t meet TPM 2.0 requirements, there may be a way to fix that.
TPM 2.0 settings are found in the Windows Security App, under Device Security. If you don’t see a security processor under Device Security, then your laptop may have TPM disabled; re-enabling TPM requires instructions on your manufacturer’s support website.
It's possible to verify that you have the option to enable TPM under the security processor. If TPM is 2.0 or higher, you’re able to install Windows 11.
Windows 11 requires a graphics card compatible with DirectX 12 or with a WDDM 2.0 driver. Most laptops have DirectX 12, which is why this is the least worrisome component of installing Windows 11 on your laptop.
The requirement for display is another one that’s not a big deal; you need a high definition display (720p at least), with at least nine diagonal inches. Almost every laptop has a display that meets these minimums.
The upgrade to Windows 11 depreciated or removed some features altogether. Some of the features you enjoy might be gone, but some were simply adjusted and made better. Read on to learn more about depreciated or changed features.
Cortana is Microsoft’s productivity assistant, meant to help save time and focus your attention. Cortana used to live on the taskbar in easy view, but with Windows 11, she’s been removed from the taskbar and is no longer automatically booted when you turn the laptop on.
This means that Cortana is an optional feature now and no longer required.
The desktop wallpaper used to go wherever you went; if you signed into your Microsoft account on a computer away from home, you’d have your wallpaper background. However, this is no longer a feature of Windows 11.
Internet Explorer is the good old browser from the dawn of the internet. However, Microsoft Edge replaced IE, and you’ll no longer find Internet Explorer on your Windows 11 laptops.
An organization-focused application, Management Capabilities allowed the taskbar and the start to be customized. It specifically allowed for the organization to override a user’s start panel and control what was pinned in the taskbar. However, this feature was depreciated.
Math Input Panel
The Math Input Panel is removed and replaced with the Math Recognizer, which installs on demand and provides the mathematical functions that you need most. Math inking applications, like OneNote, are not affected.
Multi-App Kiosk Mode
The multi-app Kiosk Mode is not available in Windows 11. It’s now a single app on Windows devices.
News & Interests
The News & Interests panel now features better functionality and widgets. Add it onto your taskbar or remove it in settings.
Quick Status isn’t there anymore, so there’s no display on your lock screen. Now, you’ll see weather or a random fact depending on your lock screen settings.
Introduced in 2018, S Mode is an evolution of the S SKU. Once you gain Microsoft-verified security with apps from the Microsoft Store, you’ll use Microsoft Edge as your browser and heavily depend on Microsoft applications. The switch to S Mode is a one-time event, and it isn’t possible to switch back; this was a feature on all Windows devices. However, S Mode changed and is only offered as a configurable option for Windows 11 Home Edition.
Internet Search Results
Windows 11 does not allow the disabling of internet search results via the Taskbar search function. In earlier versions of Windows, you could choose to include internet results for things you’re searching your PC for, but now that’s no longer an option.
Snipping Tool & Snip and Sketch
The Snipping Tool and the Snip and Sketch Tools have been merged into a single application, with the Snipping Tool as its designated name for easier access.
You’ll notice the start menu is sporting a new look. On Windows 11, named groups and folders are no longer supported and the layout is not resizable. Pinned apps and sites do not migrate when you upgrade from Windows 10, and live tiles are not available.
Tablet Mode is also gone, replaced by functionality and capability for a keyboard attach and detach option.
The taskbar is different, and the People application is gone. The taskbar is now aligned with the bottom of the screen. Apps can’t customize areas of the taskbar and some icons no longer appear in the system tray.
The Timeline feature has been removed, and the functionality is now in Microsoft Edge.
Touch keyboard no longer docks and undocks keyboard layouts if your screen size is 18 inches and above.
Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Applications for 32-Bit Arm
UWP is one of many ways to create applications for Windows. These types of apps use WinRT APIs to provide UI and features that are ideal for devices with internet access. This is how developers create Windows Store applications and more. It’s a secure developer's app, with the ability to use common API device-specific capabilities and more.
The UWP change applies to devices with an ARM processor, such as Snapdragon or Qualcomm. If your computer uses anything else (like AMD, Intel, etc.), that also works. However, if you’re worried about this depreciation, check your processor type.
You do this by going to Settings > System > About.
Whether your device runs UWP apps or not may decide what kind of applications you run. If you are using an ARM processor, applications like Spotify, Firefox, Adobe Photoshop, OneDrive and other common apps still run. But for anything more specialized, ensure that the application doesn’t require UWP processing capabilities.
The wallet was known as Microsoft Pay, and Microsoft Wallet. It allowed users to purchase payments and use store loyalty cards on mobile devices, as well as PCs, if they used the Edge browser. On Windows 11, the wallet moved to the Microsoft Edge browser and is no longer a stand-alone application.
Windows Deployment Services
Windows Deployment Services is partially depreciated. Workflows that require boot.wim, which is a windows image file boot. This boot file allows a compressed windows installation to be used, for example, if you’re running Windows off of a flash drive. Now, under Windows 11 changes, boot.wim is no longer supported.
When you PXE-boot (preboot execution environment) from the windows deployment services server with a boot.wim file, Windows Setup launches in WDS mode. This is depreciated, and a message is displayed.
Windows clarified that WDS PXE boot isn’t affected, but you can’t use boot.wim as your image file.
Windows Store for Business/Education
The Windows Store once had a tailored tab for businesses and educational institutions to find free and paid applications relevant to their organization. When computers linked to a network, the IT department could mass-distribute applications to those computers. However, it wasn’t seeing enough use to remain a standalone feature, so the Windows Store for Business and Education no longer has a private store tab.
Instead, businesses and organizations have access to the regular Windows Store. Mass installations are available straight from there.
Accessibility in Windows 11
Carolina Hernandez, a Windows Accessibility Leader, shares the following:
“On the Windows Accessibility team we embrace the disability motto, ‘nothing about us without us’: to create products that empower each of us, ideally the creators should be as diverse as their audience.”
Accessibility is the keynote point of the new Windows 11 upgrade; in 2022, the operating mogul rolled out the system update with system-wide live captions, focus sessions, voice access, and more natural voices for narrators.
But that’s not all!
Since then, Windows 11 received even more accessibility updates. There is a color control feature, allowing users to adjust the brightness of their screen, and new contrast themes are available for use system-wide. Microsoft added better color features and more display and vision features dealing with cursor, text and size of each.
Keeping Windows Up to Date
If you’ve made the jump from Windows 10 to Windows 11, it’s important to know that your device needs to be updated periodically. Ensure you have enough storage space to support the updates, and check that each update is supported by your hardware. Windows 11 depreciated a lot of features, but in most cases, better functionality and ease of use replaced those older features.
Microsoft has clarified that support stops for Windows 8 computers as of January 2023. However, support for Windows 10 does not end until October 2025, so you have some time with your Windows 10 computers. If you're behind on upgrading and still use a Windows 8 laptop, you may have no choice but to upgrade to 10 or 11.
If you find yourself in need of a new computer, check out amazinglaptops.com for some of our best-reviewed laptops. If you're on the fence about upgrading to Windows 11, give it a try! The smoother functionality and ease of use are worth the trouble of making the switch.