[Update: Pulled] Microsoft’s Windows 11 Compatibility Tool Will Now Say Why Your PC Can’t Upgrade

If you’re excited for Windows 11, you may have already downloaded Microsoft’s compatibility checker app dubbed “PC Health Check” only to get a hard “no” with no clear reason why. Good news, now the update checker tool will give you a clearer reason, and you may an easy fix.

Update: After publishing this article, Microsoft decided to ‘temporarily remove its PC Health Check app. We’ll update this post if and when the tool returns.

Windows 11 will have some pretty low requirements and some pretty steep requirements. A 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores 64-bit processor isn’t a steep hill to climb, nor is 4 GBs of RAM and 64 GBs of storage. That processor requirement is only slightly more than Windows 10, except for the lockout on 32-bit CPUs.

But other requirements are heftier. For one, not every processor that meets the specs above is actually compatible, and Microsoft had to put a list together. Your i7 processor from 2011 might have more than enough power, but it may not support all the necessary modern features, for instance.

On top of that, Microsoft’s message around TPM (Trust Platform Module) chips is confusing. On its main page, it calls TPM 2.0 chips a requirement. Of course, TPM 2.0 chips aren’t exactly common, and scalpers are already trying to take advantage of the rush to meet the requirement. But that’s not the whole truth.

Microsoft explains elsewhere that TPM 2.0 is a “soft” requirement. That means if you don’t have it, Windows 11 will still work, but Microsoft will advise you against taking the update. The “hard” requirement is TPM 1.2, which nearly every processor from the last five years or so supports. But for many people, that feature is turned off in the bios.

That’s where Microsoft’s PC Health Check tool comes into play. It’s a simple piece of software that not only tells you about the status of your computer but can check to see if your PC is compatible with Windows 11. But alas, for the first day or so, all it would say effectively “no, it’s not” and not give you a reason why. It could be RAM, an old processor, or just the need to change your BIOS. But it didn’t tell you.

Thankfully, Microsoft realized that’s a bad idea and updated the PC Health Check tool with better messages.  The new wording will tell you specifically if it’s a TPM problem, a Secure Boot problem, a processor problem, or a storage and RAM problem. Once you know, you can solve the issue—which is the case of TPM, and Secure Boot could be as simple as a BIOS change. It’s a good change, and just a shame Microsoft didn’t start with better communication.

If you already downloaded the PC Health Checker, it will update itself automatically. And if you haven’t yet, you can download it from Microsoft’s site.

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »

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