back to article Microsoft wasn't joking about the Dev Channel not enforcing hardware checks: Windows 11 pops up on Pi, mobile phone

The enthusiast community has thumbed a nose at Microsoft's hardware requirements for Windows 11, with Insider builds demonstrated on Raspberry Pi hardware and the inevitable mobile phone. The latter will delight Windows Mobile holdouts, still mourning the death of their beloved operating system and stung by Microsoft's latest …

  1. Lunatic Looking For Asylum
    Coat

    Does anybody

    "For now, Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi (or phone for that matter) remains an intellectual exercise – a fun thing to try, but you wouldn't use it for serious work."

    Use windows on anything for serious work ?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Does anybody

      Yes serious work. Every day, hundreds of millions of people.

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        Re: Does anybody

        But fewer and fewer.

        Not because Windows is losing numbers of users but because the "serious work" is increasingly being done on cloud servers not on the desktop in front of the worker.

        Of course, many people still run heavy, serious local apps - but they are a tiny minority. Most business users are using Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the web. The only "serious work" app run locally for these people is the front end for their company's video meeting service,

        1. safetysam

          Re: Does anybody

          "most" businesses are using Outlook on the web? I think you need to cast your net a little wider. That's not true.

          1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

            Re: Does anybody

            I said "most business users" not most businesses. All the large company users I have dealt with in the last few years are (complaining about) using Outlook on the web. Microsoft have made it almost impossible for large companies to justify running their own mail service any more. Same with sharepoint and web-based Office.

            Microsoft have a clear and unambiguous strategy: they aren't interested in PCs, or in the local apps they run - they are only interested in cloud services and all Windows is for, nowadays, is to provide access to the cloud, with increasingly limited capabilities offline.

            The only PC markets they seem to still care about are very high-end workstations (video editing, engineering apps, ...) and gaming.

      2. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: Does anybody

        work maybe, but serious work

    2. theOtherJT

      Re: Does anybody

      Not by choice, but yes. You kinda have to.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    You're nuts

    Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi ? That's crazy. Kudos to the mad engineers who tried that.

    That said, Windows hardware requirements have always been a joke. For starters, Borkzilla has systematically tried to make people believe that whatever version of Windows it was pushing, it could run fine on a quarter of the actual memory requirements.

    For Windows 95, the official minimum RAM was 4MB. If you actually wanted to do anything other than boot the system, you needed 16MB.

    For Windows XP, the official minimum RAM was 64MB. Again, having at least 256MB made the system actually useful and responsive.

    For Windows 7, Borkzilla had the gall to state that 2GB was all that was needed (for the 64-bit version). What you actually needed was 8GB at the bare minimum, 16GB was much, much better.

    And for Windows 1 0, Borkzilla is still trying to convince people that 2GB for the 64-bit version is enough. If you want to look at the logon screen, maybe, but if you want to work, I'm pretty sure that 16GB is the bare minimum.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: You're nuts

      Say what you want, but it's undeniably the case that Windows has been requiring less hardware, not more, as newer versions have rolled out. I'm currently running 10 very happily on hardware on which XP was a bit of a dog.

      1. karlkarl Silver badge

        Re: You're nuts

        "Say what you want, but it's undeniably the case that Windows has been requiring less hardware, not more, as newer versions have rolled out. I'm currently running 10 very happily on hardware on which XP was a bit of a dog."

        I am sure you are being sarcastic. Since May, Windows 10 no longer supports 32-bit for a start. And if you had a 64-bit machine with Windows XP, it would likely have been running like a very impressive dog. Not because 64-bit is "fast". But it implies quite modern hardware for that era.

        https://docs.microsoft.com/en-au/windows-hardware/design/minimum/minimum-hardware-requirements-overview#section-30---minimum-hardware-requirements-for-windows10-for-desktop-editions

        How are you getting around the WDDM / XDDM graphics card issues? You really only have the VESA fallback driver if using a machine from XP era and I am fairly certain your experience with it is likely piss poor.

    2. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: You're nuts

      > For Windows 7, Borkzilla had the gall to state that 2GB was all that was needed (for the 64-bit version). What you actually needed was 8GB at the bare minimum, 16GB was much, much better.

      Nah. 8GB for Windows 7 is more than enough for most users doing regular things, including playing AAA gaming titles. 16GB must be the practical minimum really if you want to run VMs but it is not impossible to do that with 8GB.

      Pretty much the same for Windows 10.

      Much more recently (last couple of years perhaps), 16GB is the recommended amount for most new builds, mainly because RAM is pretty cheap at the moment and some recent games titles run much more smoothly with it. It's not really an OS requirement.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: You're nuts

        16GB must be the practical minimum really if you want to run VMs but it is not impossible to do that with 8GB.

        Even this is nonsense. My personal laptop is a Thinkpad with 4GB RAM. It runs Win7 Pro x64, and I frequently run VMs on top of that. I use it for software development (including ML), creating documents and presentations in OOo, and the usual web browsing and whatnot. I don't generally use it for gaming, because I rarely play games.

        Pascal's claim is utter bullshit. That's all there is to it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: You're nuts

          You can run VMs on systems with 1GB. It depends what you do with them and it's very much a pointless exercise comparing RAM requirements for VMs on everyday Windows devices. Like comparing how much petrol you use vs. someone else.

          I run a full System Center lab in Hyper-V, and in the SCVMM VM I run nested VMs for build testing. My laptop has 128GB and my lab uses around 108GB when every VM is up. But none of that is relevant to anything anyone else does. That same laptop uses barely over 5GB under normal use with no VMs running.

        2. cornetman Silver badge

          Re: You're nuts

          > Even this is nonsense. My personal laptop is a Thinkpad with 4GB RAM. It runs Win7 Pro x64, and I frequently run VMs on top of that.

          True, I guess my main use is for development of the software we develop and it is quite memory intensive and we test it in VMs. As others have said, it depends what you're doing, but since memory is so cheap at the moment, it makes sense to bulk it up a bit so you're not running close the edge.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: You're nuts

      Not that I'd want to praise Windows but W7 Starter was shipped on my MSI nettop that came with 1Gb and had a 2 Gb limit.

      As to whether it was able to do anything useful, I've no idea because for actual use I installed Linux. Apart from being used for work whenever I wanted something really portable it's also been used as to test new releases. Debian Bullsblood & Devuan Chimaera with KDE have finally found its limits - or have they? They're still in a pre-release state.

    4. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: You're nuts

      "And for Windows 1 0, Borkzilla is still trying to convince people that 2GB for the 64-bit version is enough. If you want to look at the logon screen, maybe, but if you want to work, I'm pretty sure that 16GB is the bare minimum."

      No, it's not. Windows 10 runs just fine in 4 GB. True, if you're planning to use a memory-hungry app, 4 GB is not going to be what you want, but for most uses, that's fine. Not that I recommend buying devices with 4 GB to run it, because new purchases can easily spring for the useful upgrade to at least 8, but if you already have something with 4 GB and you want to run Windows on it, you'll be okay for many basic tasks like browsing or office work.

      An interesting note: I once had the experience of running Windows 10 with only one gigabyte of memory. It was the 32-bit version on one of those low-power Intel Atom devices. This wasn't exactly fun, but it ran better than you'd expect. Running a browser on it was not easy though if you wanted to have several open tabs, but running native programs worked rather well.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: You're nuts

        It runs just fine in a VM that has only 2GB allocated to it. That's not a completely fair comparison because the VM host is presumably using more memory to cache files, etc. Nevertheless, the idea that Win10 needs loads of RAM is simply untrue. It will use it if it has it.

    5. Dave K Silver badge

      Re: You're nuts

      You're being a bit harsh with Windows 7/10 there, although I agree with your comments for 95/XP.

      At a previous company I worked at, we had Windows 7 running on some systems with 2GB of RAM. It worked, but was not great if you needed more than a couple of programs open. 4GB however was fine for e-mail, Word, light Excel and a web browser. It only became an issue if you tried to open multiple spreadsheets or run something more heavyweight.

      Nowerdays, 8GB of RAM is quite common in many companies. The work laptop I'm typing this on is running Windows 10 with 8GB of RAM. I have Outlook, Teams, OneNote, Adobe Reader, Word and 3 spreadsheets open. Task Manager tells me I have 1.2GB of RAM free. Hence for general office work, 8GB of RAM is just fine. Sorry, but "16GB bare minimum" is not true.

    6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: You're nuts

      You missed out the real memory hog which was Windows Vista. That needed 4GB to be usable at a time when that much RAM was expensive. Once they put the XML-based window manager (what was it called? WPF?) on a diet things improved a lot and I regularly run Windows 7 VMs in 2 GB and can work quite happily in them.

  3. A. Coatsworth
    Go

    Why any person would want to do such a thing is open to question

    Because it's there.

    - Sir Edmund Hillary

    1. Negative Charlie

      Re: Why any person would want to do such a thing is open to question

      > Because it's there.

      > - Sir Edmund Hillary^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H

      - George Mallory

      Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why any person would want to do such a thing is open to question

        er, who are those duds, never saw them on IG?! Inquiring snowflakes would like to know! :D

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "As for how it works, the current Windows Insider Dev Channel builds do not yet enforce Microsoft's hardware rules so there is every chance things will stop working once the final incarnation of the Arm version of Windows 11 drops"

    When you put in restrictions such as what MS are planning with Windows 11 people will look to get around them, just for the challenge to do so or because they don't like big brother trying control what they do.

    And as there are these current developer builds that don't have any hardware restrictions, I am sure some clever people will work out how to use the installer files from these developer builds to get passed the hardware requirement of the final release of Windows 11.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      It also demonstrates what most anybody sane really knows... Windows 11 is simply Windows 10 with a slightly modified UI. Any "Windows 11 exclusives" are in place purely because Microsoft chose to do this to force computer obsolescence and churn rather than for any technical reasons whatsoever.

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Facepalm

        I keep hearing this - that Microsoft "wants to force computer obsolescence" and get everyone to buy new computers. What I dont get is why?

        I mean microsoft doesnt do hardware (the Surface range is a rounding error on their profit sheet, so it doesnt count). So they gain nothing if people are buying new hardware.

        They dont have a hand in these TPM chips from what i can tell - so its not like they will be rolling in royalty/licencing money from people having to buy them.

        I can really not see any reason why Microsoft would be trying to force this on people, other than that they, very misguidedly, believe that the added security outweighs everything else. But I also find it hard to believe that their upper management can be so blinkered as to believe that people will happily accept having to buy new hardware just to get a new windows version.

        So all in all, I'm really failing to see Microsoft's reasoning here. It just looks like they are going to cost themselves significant market share (at a time when the trend is for people to be moving away from PC's anyway), for the benefit of some hardware manufacturers, and absolutely zero benefit for themselves. It is quite literally mind boggling...

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          New machine new license. OEM license from the pc makers that you get whether you want it or not.

          1. lglethal Silver badge
            Go

            Ok good call, I had not thought of that.

            Still seems like them taking a masive gamble though. I mean when the new OS comes out, most firms and people would have upgraded anyway (maybe not quite as quickly but they still would upgrade at some point), tying it to a specific hardware upgrade means a lot of people and firms will hold off until the last moment and will strongly consider other options in order to maintain current hardware. Seems a good way to drive your customers away long term for a very short term gain...

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "What I dont get is why?"

          Microsoft has managed to get H/W manufacturers to ship Windows on pretty well every desktop. This is not only to their immediate advantage in terms of sales, it keeps other options more or less out of the market place except where the H/W vendor also has their own OS.

          Periodically rendering existing H/W obsolete by introducing a new version, making the old one EoL and blocking the new one on a lot of old H/W does the H/W vendors a favour.

          Linux, on the other hand, keeps old H/W alive a lot longer. If you were a H/W manufacturer which OS would you rather continue to install as standard?

  5. Kev99

    The TPM malarky? microsoft's poor attempt to force people to ditch perfectly good hardware to help its sycophant pc makers.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Try enabling your processors in built TPM. On Intel processors this is called PTT. It is tucked away in the BIOS settings. Once I did that on mine, the Windows 11 requirements checker I still have a copy of was satisfied that my PC was good to go. Remains to be seen if that stays the case of course. It may just save some pain for some of having to get price gouged TPM's.

  6. nautica
    Boffin

    Every complicated problem has a very simple answer...

    How much Intel stock does Microsoft own?

    "No matter what they say the reason is, the real reason is always 'money'."--anon

    1. FILE_ID.DIZ Bronze badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Every complicated problem has a very simple answer...

      If they were smart, they'd own Advanced Micro Devices stock instead... ~1800% over the last five years for AMD versus ~80% for INTC over the same period of time.

  7. DownUndaRob
    Alert

    Anti Competitive

    So if this article shows that the hardware limitations are an arbitrary list imposed by the manufacturer, how many consumer laws does that break?

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Anti Competitive

      Microsoft does have a monopoly position in desktop operating systems at the moment by most definitions as Mac OS and Chrome OS have relatively small market shares. However, this doesn't necessarily mean they've done anything to abuse that position here. The best argument I can come up with is that it's planned obsolescence, but they have the defense that Windows 10 won't be killed until 2025. Establishing harm to the customers is also tricky as it often involves price changes and the prices will be of other companies' products. I'm afraid it may not break any laws after all the legal dust settles.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Anti Competitive

        Corporate lawyers, they’re working to keep the company campaign contributions and lobbying 'legal' while steering the lawmakers in the preferred direction.

        Anti cartel laws made a century ago aren’t really up to the job required to keep modern businesses honest when they're operating a enlightened self interest environment 'weak law lifts all profits'.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Anti Competitive

      Hardware limitations are what the software maker is prepared to say that their stuff will work on. Not to stop you installing it on what you like as long as you understand you are on your own.

      Like a best before date, it’s your choice if you want to eat something after that date, but don’t complain to the food maker if you end up with an arse like a bottle of Baileys.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Anti Competitive

        That really depends what happens when you try to install it on something that doesn't qualify. Microsoft could either do what they have done before and let it try to work, or they could take the Apple approach and explicitly fail it. If you had asked me last week, I would have been certain it would be the former because that's what they've done before and it makes sense. However, I'm not so sure now because their requirements list is significantly longer and more complicated than any preceding ones. It wouldn't be very hard to have the installer check for a TPM 2.0 chip and refuse to install without one even though we all know there is no need for TPM in order for Windows to run.

        If they did that, it would be possible to circumvent it through sustained effort. Just as there are people who will break Apple's device check system to run later versions of Mac OS on their old Macs, someone will find a way to pretend to have a TPM chip when you don't or to make Windows accept a Skylake chip as within the supported list. If it involves hacking with your configuration in order to circumvent a software lock which serves no purpose, I don't think that can qualify under your definition. Only if Microsoft pursues their previous strategy does your argument work, and I hope that they do.

      2. Remy Redert

        Re: Anti Competitive

        Except that in the case of Windows 11, Microsoft have very specifically said that the installer won't LET you install on hardware they don't support. At all.

        And unlike Apple, they are a monopoly.

    3. Dave Null

      Re: Anti Competitive

      Go on, I'll bite. How does a manufacturer stating what they'll warrant their product against break a consumer law?

    4. Charlie Clark Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Anti Competitive

      I don't think it breaks any laws. They can always argue the difficulty of supporting certain combinations even if these can be shown to work.

  8. Citizen99

    Hmm. Like to run Windows in a virtual machine (W7 hold-out BTW) when forced to use it. Might throw dev channel W11 at a VM and disable network interface. Out of curiosity.

    1. picturethis
      Megaphone

      TPM in a VM - hmmmm

      And realize that just because this early release runs in a VM doesn't mean that the final released OS will be allowed to run in a VM.

      I often wondered how VMWare emulates a TPM for a VM. Because one would think that this would be a major source of security issues if the VM were running in a production environment and would seem to be contrary to the TPM concept where simply cloning the VM clones the TPM info as well ? That doesn't seem to be consistent with security.

      At some point, I think future versions of Windows will not be allowed to run in VMs. Since Windows 8, the OS is VM aware (the info is shown right in the task manager).

      Once MS requires every citizen to have an on-line account to be able to log on, all sorts of things become possible (and a real danger) such as:

      - Maybe your account has a special flag (that you need to purchase) to allow to log into a VM

      - Maybe your account has a special flag (that you need to purchase) to allow to log into an OS that doesn't find a camera

      - Maybe your account has a special flag (that you need to purchase) to allow logging into an OS w/o using facial recognition.

      - Maybe as a politiian, you have special privileges that disables logging of certain user activities

      - Need more? I can think of many more..

      The seeds are being layed now (have been since forced updates in Win 10)

      These are some of the reasons why Windows will never be any of my primary machines (for personal and professional use).

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge

    I've read somewhere that Windows11 would make having a HD webcam with automatic exposure mandatory.

    If true, it's absolutely wonderful and not worrying at all.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      This looks like a requirement for manufacturers, but not really a problem for a few reasons:

      1. The camera is only required on laptops. Desktops need not have one. A company which wants to build a laptop without one (actually, are there such places) could sell a desktop with a battery backup which uses a novel form factor that's kind of flat with hinges.

      2. Nothing prevents cameras with hardware disabling features, either to cover them or disconnect them entirely.

      3. Microsoft has these requirements all the time and the manufacturers ignore them. They have a requirement of a minimum screen size, but people still make tiny Windows UMPCs with screen sizes that don't qualify. Microsoft doesn't complain about extra OEM revenue. They probably won't care here either.

      4. Are there manufacturers who don't put webcams on their laptops made currently? It has been a while since I saw a laptop without one. This ship may have sailed without needing Microsoft to push it, in which case that's already your problem.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        I don't see why the OS makes this as a mandatory requirement. Of course you can mask the webcam, or deactivate, but one can expect that 90% of users won't do it.

        So, why does MS want us to have a webcam? I mean, excepting collecting more data?

        1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
          Facepalm

          There are some premises that won't allow any form of camera at all, which makes using such a laptop on service calls (shall we say) problematic.

      2. picturethis

        "Nothing prevents cameras with hardware disabling features, either to cover them or disconnect them entirely."

        Are you sure about that? What happens when the OS finds a mobile CPU/Chipset and doesn't find a camera? Maybe facial recognition is the trojan horse that MS is trying to institutionalize. Maybe the OS won't let you log on/use your machine at all w/o a camera in such circumstances.

        But I do agree, I think the camera requirement is more significant than the TPM requirement.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          They can't break it that way, as plenty of desktops have mobile chipsets in them. The device can be identified as a desktop or the webcam identified as malfunctioning, and they pretty much have to let you use it anyway. Could they do something malicious if they were intent on doing so? Definitely yes. Are they going to do so? No, I don't think so. They are trying to encourage manufacturers to include normal hardware which the manufacturers are doing anyway, thus it's mostly the user's problem.

    2. Ozzard

      If true, I'm going to make a small fortune selling tiny USB warts that are class-compliant with USB cameras and microphones, speak all the right protocols, and contain neither a camera nor a microphone.

      Control the hardware and you control the system.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      having a HD webcam with automatic exposure mandatory

      and I read it as: having a HD webcam always-on. Funny... why would I think that?! ;)

  10. Mage Silver badge
    Linux

    More usable, however, is Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi.

    Maybe than on a phone, but how does W 11 on a Pi compare with Linux or Risc OS on it?

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: More usable, however, is Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi.

      Does this bit ...

      even if we have to admit that our Pi 400 seemed a whole lot happier running the Linux-based Raspberry Pi OS.

      ..from the article answer your question?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows Mobile holdouts, still mourning the death of their beloved operating system

    which is pretty ironic that it's the only MS OS that MS killed off. Coincidence?! I don't think so! :D

    1. Richard Plinston

      Re: Windows Mobile holdouts, still mourning the death of their beloved operating system

      > it's the only MS OS that MS killed off.

      Windows RT?

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