Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Dean of USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Willow Bay speak on stage during the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on October 3, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Microsoft said Friday that it will enable a wider variety of PC chips to run Windows 11, the next-generation desktop operating system to be released later this year.
The decision has the potential to reduce the number of people and organizations who would otherwise have to buy new computers to access the latest Windows features. This can affect the Windows business, which accounts for 14% of Microsoft’s total revenue and is more profitable than other products the company sells.
At the same time, Microsoft wants to keep the frustration of its customers as low as possible. Some people thought Microsoft was unnecessarily restricting its system requirements for Windows 11.
When Microsoft announced the new version in June, it tried to limit support to Zen 2 chips from AMD, 8th generation chips from Intel, and Qualcomm’s 7 and 8 series chips.
The company referred people to an app called PC Health Check to find out if their PCs could work with Windows 11. However, the program was not exactly about which computer components did not meet Microsoft’s requirements, which led to criticism.
Additionally, Microsoft’s website showed conflicting information about the hardware specifications computers need to run Windows 11. One side suggested that PCs could be upgraded with older processors and security chips, while another suggested otherwise.
Four days after the original announcement, Microsoft tried to clear the matter up. The company said in a blog post that it is temporarily removing the PC Health Check app, insisted that PCs require newer security chips, and said it would “test to identify devices that are running Intel 7th generation and more AMD Zen 1 could run and meet our principles “.
Microsoft announced in a new blog post on Friday that Windows 11 won’t support AMD Zen 1 chips, although it will be compatible with seventh generation Core X and Xeon W chips. The operating system can also be installed on certain computers that contain Intel’s seventh generation 7820HQ processor, including Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2 all-in-one PC, which would have been omitted under the original policy.
Intel’s seventh generation processors debuted in 2016, followed by eighth generation in 2017. Windows 10, currently the world’s most popular PC operating system with 1.3 billion active devices, was launched in 2015.
Microsoft announced that it has released an updated version of the PC Health Check app that will point out certain parts of the computer that do not meet the latest requirements and point users to regulatory information. The software is initially only available to testers in Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program. It will be available to everyone in the coming weeks
The company cited data from its Insider Program, which suggests that PCs that meet the requirements will be more reliable.
“Those who did not meet the minimum system requirements had 52% more crashes in kernel mode (blue screens) than those who met the requirements,” Microsoft said on Friday. “Also, app hangups are 17% more likely, and with first-party apps we’re seeing 43% more crashes on unsupported hardware.”
Microsoft also defended the minimum requirements for security and compatibility reasons.
“We used more than 8.2 trillion signals from Microsoft’s threat intelligence, reverse engineering of attacks and input from leading experts such as the NSA, the UK National Cyber Security Center and the Canadian Center for Cyber Security to create a Designing a security baseline in Windows 11 that addresses increasing threats that software cannot tackle on its own, “the company said on Friday’s blog.
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