As Windows 11 is set to release later in 2021, Microsoft is starting to hint that PC users may have to pony up for a new computer if they want to easily keep Windows up-to-date.
According to The Verge, Microsoft previously told the outlet that while there were hardware requirements for Windows 11, it would not block users from installing the operating system on any PC that could handle it. However, Microsoft has since amended its claim with a pretty big caveat. The company is not guaranteeing that it will release Windows Updates for those PCs.
Microsoft officially unveiled Windows 11 just this past June. In its announcement, the computer giant released the minimum hardware requirements for installing the latest operating system on your computer. Those requirements stated that Windows 11 would only support computers with an Intel 8th Generation processor, released in 2017, or subsequently released hardware.
However, those minimums would apparently only affect automatic updates. Users with older computers would still be able to download Windows 11 and manually install it. A slight one-time inconvenience isn’t that big of a deal and that’s probably especially the case if you’re not looking to buy a new computer.
But it’s not clear at this point if the manual installation option will extend to updates as well, or if those releases won’t be available to users on Microsoft-designated outdated hardware. No Windows Updates? Putting possibly withheld new Windows 11 features aside, users would also miss out on important drivers and security updates. That’s not good.
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It’s been more than six years since the release of Microsoft’s current operating system, Windows 10. The release of a new operating system, especially one that has received positive reviews so far, is a welcome development. Requiring users with computers that may only be a couple years old to buy a brand new PC is not.
It’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft changes its mind due to what will certainly be significant blowback once Windows 11 finally releases. Or maybe the company will find that the number of people who just resign to go out and buy a new PC — or stick with the perfectly fine Windows 10 for the time being — is a worthy tradeoff.