Can I Run Windows 11 on My PC? A Guide
As the latest version of Microsoft's proprietary OS (operating system), Windows 11 offers users several advantages in terms of performance, entertainment, productivity, and much more. To get the most out of Windows 11, you need to have access to a laptop or desktop PC which can run the OS in the first place. If you happen to be wondering, "does my PC work with Windows 11?" this guide will tell you everything you need to know about what it takes to run Windows 11 on a PC quickly and easily.
What It Takes to Run Windows 11 On a PC
According to the Microsoft website's page on the minimum system requirements for running Windows 11, you need to own a PC with the following:
Your device must be running Windows 10, version 2004 or later, to upgrade. Free updates are available through Windows Update in Settings > Update and Security.
Processor – 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC).
RAM – 4 gigabyte (GB).
Storage – 64 GB or larger storage device Note: See below under “More information on storage space to keep Windows 11 up-to-date” for more details.
System firmware – UEFI, Secure Boot capable. Check here for information on how your PC might be able to meet this requirement.
TPM – Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0. Check here for instructions on how your PC might be enabled to meet this requirement.
Graphics card – Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver.
Display – High definition (720p) display that is greater than 9” diagonally, 8 bits per color channel.
Internet connection and Microsoft account
Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account.
Switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S mode also requires internet connectivity. Learn more about S mode here.
For all Windows 11 editions, internet access is required to perform updates and to download and take advantage of some features. A Microsoft account is required for some features.
“Certain features require specific hardware. System requirements to run some apps will exceed the Windows 11 minimum device specifications. Check device compatibility information specific to the apps you want to install. Available storage on your device will vary based on installed apps and updates. Performance will scale with higher end, more capable PCs. Additional requirements may apply over time and for updates.”
How to Check What Your PC's Specs Actually Are
The "About" page includes the basic system specifications, such as processor, memory, and Windows installation details.
To check your computer's tech specs with the Settings app, follow these steps:
Open Settings > System > About. Once the Device specifications section is open, you can view information on its capabilities, including system memory (RAM), architecture (32-bit or 64-bit), pen and touch support, and the processor.
The Windows specifications section holds detailed information on the software specifications of your PC. This includes information like whether your edition of Windows 10 is Home, Pro, or another version; the latest version of your software, which changes after an annual feature update as well as the installed-on date; OS build numbers, which indicate the version you are running along with any subsequent quality updates; and Experience, which provides information on the service feature pack version currently installed on your PC.
By understanding how to interpret your PC's basic technical specifications, you can quickly determine whether your PC can meet the minimum system requirements as stated above. You can also use the button conveniently located under each section to copy the information for comparison.
How to Download Windows 11 if You Are Eligible
If you meet the previously stated requirements of owning a PC that meets the minimum system requirements and currently have a valid copy of Windows 10 installed, there are three methods available for how to download Windows 11. The first and arguably easiest is downloading the Windows 11 Installation Assistant and following the instructions. It is worth noting that you must have administrator privileges to carry out the installation:
Select "Run." Once the tool confirms the device hardware is compatible, you will be presented with the license terms. Select "Accept and Install." Once the tool is ready, click the "Restart Now" button to complete the installation on your computer. It might take some time to install Windows 11, and your PC will restart a few times. Make sure you don't turn off your PC.
The second method involves creating a bootable Windows 11 Installation Media using a CD or USB external hard drive. To accomplish this, you will need to use a CD or USB external hard drive with at least 8GB of free space, as well as downloading and running the Windows Media Creation Tool:
“If you agree to the license terms, select "Accept." On the "What do you want to do?" page, select "Create installation media for another PC" and then select "Next." Select the language, edition, and architecture (64-bit) for Windows 11. Select which media you want to use.
USB flash drive: Attach a blank USB flash drive with at least 8GB of space. Any content on the flash drive will be deleted.
ISO file: Save an ISO file to your PC. This can be used to create a bootable DVD.
After the file is downloaded, you can go to the location where the file is saved or select "Open DVD burner" and follow the instructions to burn the file to a DVD.”
The third method involves creating a virtual machine, an ISO file, or a bootable installation media to install Windows 11. This method requires a product key to unlock your desired version of the OS, and your PC must have a 64-bit CPU.
If your PC does not meet the minimum system requirements, you can consider purchasing a brand-new Acer PC with Windows 11 already preinstalled. Check out Acer.com and your favorite online retailer to discover some tips for finding an Acer Windows 11 PC if you’re not eligible for an upgrade and save yourself the trouble.
About Dan VanPatten: Dan is a full-time technology writer with interests in gaming, gadgetry, and all things PC tech related. He writes about a variety of topics including technology news, product reviews, and software. His experience stems from years of experience writing & producing content for technology newsletters & publications.