Home / Technology / News /  Microsoft’s Windows 11 will be available on older PCs, but there's a caveat

In June, Microsoft had said that the company won’t be providing Windows 11 updates to certain computers that don’t meet recommended hardware requirements. However, the company told TheVerge recently that while automatic over-the-air updates won’t be available, users will still be able to download an ISO file for Windows 11 to get the operating system (OS) on their devices. But now, the company has clarified that these users may not get ensuing security patches for Windows and other updates.

ISO files are software solutions used to deliver data that may otherwise have been delivered using an optical disk. Microsoft and other tech giants have shifted to over-the-air updates, where OS updates are downloaded off the internet, often automatically, when required. 

While Apple and Google issue yearly updates for their operating systems, Windows 11 is the first big update for Microsoft’s platform. However, the three companies stick to a big OS update, followed by smaller security patches—still important to keep the PC free from hacks.

With Windows 11, Microsoft had said that PCs without a trusted platform module (TPM) chip won’t be able to run the OS. It turns out that the company only meant that users won’t get the over-the-air update, but an ISO image will still work. However, if future security updates aren’t delivered, that still risks a PC from becoming out of date. It’s even more important for Microsoft’s platform, since the company doesn’t issue major version updates as quickly as Google and Apple do.

“The trusted platform module (TPM) is a chip that is either integrated into your PC’s motherboard or added separately into the CPU," explained David Weston, director of enterprise and OS security at Microsoft, in a blog post earlier. “Its purpose is to help protect encryption keys, user credentials, and other sensitive data behind a hardware barrier so that malware and attackers can’t access or tamper with that data," he added.

These chips are already fitted on almost every PC with an Intel 8th generation processor or above. It’s unclear whether Microsoft will allow users to download the security updates through ISO files too but doing so would break the whole purpose behind putting the TPM chip barrier in the first place.

However, this might still be good news for countries such as India, which still have PCs running on chips older than an Intel 8th generation. It seemed that Windows 11 would make it more difficult to make cheaper PCs, or at least force users with more affordable devices to upgrade, but downloading an ISO image will at least be an interim solution.

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