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Windows 11 is Playing Hard to Get: Part 1

I’ve been wanting to switch to Windows 11 Pro from Windows 10 Pro so that I can be better prepared in my job for support when more people start using the operating system. I thought this was going to be easier to get into than it turned out to be. After-all, by all appearances, it’s mostly just a change in the overall look rather than function. As it turns out, none of the 4 active computers in my house support the new version of Windows. I have a nice Dell tower that I had planned on building into a nice home server, mostly due to it’s size and memory. It’s got plenty of drive space so could add a bunch of storage and it’s loaded with 32GB of memory. To me it sounded great for my core home server but after some consideration I think it would be better served as my main desktop workstation.

This is where my frustration begins.

Processor Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700 CPU @ 3.40GHz 3.41 GHz
Installed RAM 32.0 GB (31.9 GB usable)
System type 64-bit operating system, x64-based processor

As you can see from the specs above it’s a fairly decent setup as far as processor and memory are concerned. Certainly better than the previous desktop I was using. But, did you notice something about those specs? More on that in a minute.

Seeing as how this is my main desktop there was allot of software installed on it. After compiling an Excel file with a list of everything I needed copied and backed up I ended up with a list of 95 things that needed to be transferred over. Just copying the backup data to an external drive took an entire evening. Another entire evening was used to download fresh installers for all the software I’d be transferring to the new machine. At this point I had worked 2 evenings on this in between fixing supper, baths for the kids and homework.

Finally, I had all my backups and my installers ready to go onto the new computer. It was time to put the new workstation together. On the third day, as soon as I clocked out for work, I powered off my computer and started hooking up the new one. Once hooked up, I popped the thumb drive with the Windows 10 Pro installer on it and began the Windows install. This part went fast and the install was done in no time. At this point I was feeling pretty good about the new setup. I logged into the new Windows 10 installation and opened up Windows Update. After letting all the updates download I rebooted the computer to finish installation. After reboot, my dual monitor setup was no longer functioning. I only had one monitor working. Beyond frustrating since they are both plugged into the same AMD video card. After troubleshooting the issue for a while I’d found that Windows Update had downloaded and installed a conflicting video driver. With that being sorted out, I installed and ran the Microsoft PC Health Check tool which is used to check compatibility for Windows 11. My purpose for this was to only check if I needed to tweak any TPM settings in the BIOS, after all, the processor and memory on the machine where surely enough to run Windows 11. Well, no, surprisingly the compatibility checked showed that my system failed compatibility. The reason for compatibility failure? Intel Core i7-6700 CPU isn’t on the supported list of processors. After double checking, it’s not and I completely overlooked that fact. Apparently Microsoft is opening up testing on a select few 7th gen processors but not for 6th gen.

I understand the reason my processor isn’t supported, Microsoft doesn’t want to be making backwards compatibility with older processors more important that the security features. But when the machine I’ve got meets all the requirements EXCEPT for the processor being on the approved list it’s a bit frustrating. There are ways around the upgrade “block” that would allow me to install Windows 11. The easiest is actually copying one file from the Windows 10 ISO into the Windows 11 ISO but I won’t do that. It might be petty, but if I can’t upgrade to 11 the normal way through Windows Update.

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