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October 1, 2021

Windows 11 Strict Hardware Policy- Why is Microsoft Adamant on it?

by Brett Muscio in Security

Weeks before the official release of Windows 11, Microsoft today announced minor changes to the minimum system requirements for its new operating system.

Windows 11 promises to upgrade window management, run Android apps, and unify the look of built-in OS apps after years of frustrating chaos. But none of that applies if your computer can’t run the software, and Microsoft has only promised official Windows 11 support for computers that have been released in the last three or four years.

Anyone else can run the operating system if it meets the performance requirements, but you will have to download an ISO file and install the operating system manually instead of obtaining it through Windows Update. This is a break from previous versions of Windows, which had roughly the same system requirements for a decade.

Microsoft’s foundation for strict Windows 11 official support requirements, including secure boot, a TPM 2.0 module, and virtualization support, has always been about security, not just performance. A new contribution from Microsoft today goes into more detail about these requirements and also argues with data from older PC crashes in the Windows Insider Program for System Stability.

 Relatively new PC owners with Intel Core 7th CPUs. In an unsigned Windows Insider blog post, the company announced that it will “make a small number of additions to the list of supported processors … but otherwise specified originally as a minimum system the requirements are maintained “.

Drivers and Support- Chances of Kernel Mode Crashes?

Microsoft says that Insider PCs that did not meet the Windows 11 minimum had “52% more kernel-mode crashes” than PCs that did, and that “99.8% of devices that met Windows 11 requirements system did not suffer failures “.

According to Microsoft, this is primarily due to active driver support. Newer computers tend to use newer DCH drivers, a way of packaging drivers that Microsoft has supported since Windows 10. To be DCH compliant, a driver only needs to be installed with a typical.INF file. OEM-specific driver settings should be separated from the driver itself and from all the applications that come with its driver.

For example, a control panel for an audio controller or a GPU via the Microsoft Store. DCH drivers are common for hardware manufactured in the last four to five years, but they are rare or non-existent for hardware that shipped in the Windows 8 or Windows 7 era.

Computers built-in 2012 or 2014 are certainly running out of outdated drivers that are causing crashes – using Windows 7 as drivers on older computers running Windows 10 can cause general instability and performance issues.

Security Buildup

That’s where the safety necessities come into play. Microsoft is going to great lengths to give an explanation for the blessings of the usage of Secure Boot and TPM 2.0 modules. However the key will without a doubt be the less-mentioned virtualization requirement and an alphabet soup of acronyms.

Windows eleven even makes use of virtualization-primarily based total security, or VBS, to isolate elements of device reminiscence from the relaxation of the device. VBS consists of a non-compulsory characteristic referred to as “reminiscence integrity.”

That’s the greater user-pleasant call for something referred to as Hypervisor-covered code integrity or HVCI. HVCI may be enabled on any Windows 10 PC that doesn’t have motive force incompatibility issues. However, older computer systems will incur a giant overall performance penalty due to the fact their processors don`t aid mode-primarily based totally execution manage or MBEC.

That acronym appears to be at the foundation of Windows 11`s CPU aid list. If it helps MBEC, generally, it’s in. If it doesn’t, it’s out. MBEC aid is best blanketed in brand new processors, beginning with the Kaby Lake and Skylake-X architectures on Intel`s side, and the Zen 2 structure on AMD`s side—this suits the Windows 11 processor, albeit not exactly.

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