The Clock is Ticking: Are Your Computers Upgradeable to Windows 11?

By January 10, 2022 Blog, Uncategorized
Windows 11 Logo

INTRO
In October 2025, Windows 10 will reach its End of Life. At that point, Microsoft will stop developing updates and patches. And they will discontinue end-user support. Sticking with a previous Operating System (OS) means unnecessary risk in a world that is already dangerous enough as it is.

As a trusted adviser for hundreds of New England companies, we’d like to kick off the Windows 11 conversation early. That way there is plenty of time for our clients and prospective clients to weigh their options.

MINIMUM HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS
With each new iteration of Windows, Microsoft has rolled out new and exciting features. And they have also set new minimum system requirements.

Why? Performance, for the most part. Without a newer processor or enough RAM, an older computer can’t handle the demands of a newer OS. The result is frequent crashes, data loss, and a bad user experience.

With Windows 11, which was formally released on October 5th, 2021, the new requirements are especially stringent. For performance reasons, yes, but also for security.

BUILT-IN SECURITY
By requiring compatibility with the features described below, Microsoft is driving the market (and the global economy) towards a safer future.

  • Windows 11 requires Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 support. TPM is a special chip that sits on a computer’s motherboard. It stores encryption keys, passwords, and certificates. It helps authenticate devices, software, and users. Enabling this feature makes it incredibly hard for hackers to get access to disk contents, even if they have physical access to the system.

While Windows 10 includes TPM, it isn’t on by default and it only works if your computer model supports it. Many systems – even those manufactured as recently as early 2016 – are not compatible with TPM.

  • Windows 11 also turns on Virtualization-based Security (VBS)and Hypervisor-Protected Code Integrity (HVCI) by default.  VBS stores Windows’ security capabilities in a separate environment which is isolated from the rest of the OS. Isolating these features makes it much harder for hackers to gain entry and disable them. HVCI protects the isolated memory environment that VBS creates.

One of the reasons that Windows 11 requires newer processors is that VBS and HVCI need additional processing power to work correctly.

  • Windows 11 also requires systems with UEFI Secure Boot capability, a firmware feature that verifies that the computer is booting up code from an authorized source. That prevents it from starting with malicious code that bypasses Windows’ security features.

SUMMARY
It can be cumbersome to identify which systems can be upgraded and which ones have to be replaced. It’s even harder to install and optimize a new OS. If you need help, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with you.

Two of our great strengths are strategic IT planning and cost-benefit analysis. And who better to do that than a trusted partner that understands your infrastructure inside and out?

If you’d like to get started so that you can budget accordingly, send us a message today.

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