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Windows 11 hardware requirements made a mockery of by an Intel Pentium 4 processor

Most 7th generation Intel Core processors cannot run Windows 11, but a Pentium 4 can. (Image source: Intel)
Most 7th generation Intel Core processors cannot run Windows 11, but a Pentium 4 can. (Image source: Intel)
Intel Pentium 4 processors run Windows 11 because of an oversight on Microsoft's behalf. Even single-core ones are eligible for Windows 11, provided that they support Hyper-Threading.
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Microsoft's insistence on excluding most processors from running Windows 11 has caused plenty of outcry in the last few months. The company's confusing messaging has not helped either, not least because it locked out the Surface Studio 2, a device that it still sells.

According to Microsoft's support documentation, Windows 11 requires at least a dual-core processor running at 1 GHz. Unfortunately, Microsoft excludes 7th generation Intel Core processors for the most part and any first-generation AMD Ryzen processor. You can see which AMD and Intel processors Windows 11 supports in the appropriate hyperlinks, for reference.

However, Microsoft's PC Health Check tool suggests otherwise. As the screenshots below show, Microsoft considers the Intel Pentium 4 661 a supported processor. Intel released the Pentium 4 661 in early 2006, with a solitary core to its name. Apparently, Microsoft forgot to add any Intel Family 15 (Netburst) SKUs in its unsupported processors list for Windows 11.

Hence, the PC Health Check tool sees that the Pentium 4 661 has a 3.6 GHz boost clock, which satisfies one of Windows 11's requirements. Curiously, the tool states that the Pentium 4 661 has two or more cores, even though it lists it as having one.

@Carlos_SM1995 has even got Windows 11 (Build 22000.258) running on a Pentium 4 661. Supposedly, Windows Update still works too, highlighting the ridiculousness of Microsoft's overtures regarding Windows 11 compatibility.

(Image source: @Carlos_SM1995)
(Image source: @Carlos_SM1995)
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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 4591 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
contact me via: @aldersonaj
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 10 > Windows 11 hardware requirements made a mockery of by an Intel Pentium 4 processor
Alex Alderson, 2021-10-18 (Update: 2021-10-18)