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In-place Windows 11 Upgrade on an Unsupported Windows 10 Computer

This post will walk you through detailed steps to perform an in-place Windows 11 upgrade on an unsupported Windows 10 computer.

You heard it right. One of the controversies about Windows 11 is its ridiculous hardware requirements. Specifically, among other things, your computer needs to support Secure Boot and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0.

Neither is essential to the day-to-day operation of the computer. The two are so non-essential that hardware vendors often disable them by default on computers that support them.

But the bottom line is this: If your computer is running Windows 10 64-bit — that’s the case of most existing computers — then it can run Windows 11 just fine, regardless of any extra “requirements.”

Initially, it was a bit of work to make this happen on non-qualified (supposedly unsupported) hardware — there’s a registry hack that doesn’t always pan out. But as I predicted, there’s now a tool to make the process much easier, and it works.

This post will help you with that.

Windows unsupported hardware
Windows 11 upgrade: That dreadful message you might get when upgrading to Windows 11 from many existing Windows 10 computers.

Why should I upgrade to Windows 11?

First of all, the latest (and official) version of Windows 11 now has native support for the 6GHz band of the Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E chip. That means you won’t need to use a special software driver like the case of Windows 10.

On top of that, in my experience, Windows 11 runs better and has a more refined user interface.

Finally, the new OS will last you beyond 2025 when Microsoft plans to phase out Windows 10 completely. Sure, you might want new hardware before then, but it’s always good to know your way around the new OS now.

With that, let’s get our hands dirty. (As the rule, make sure you make a backup of your system beforehand.)

Windows 11 upgrade on unsupported computer: The tool

If your current computer meets the hardware requirements, you can upgrade it to Windows 11 like you usually do with Windows 10. You can eventually do that via Windows Update.

If your hardware is not qualified, though, you’ll run into a message saying just that, and the setup process will not continue.

And that’s where the no-name upgrade tool, by a Czech GitHub developer @coofcookie, comes into play. It enables users to do a regular in-place upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 on any computer while bypassing the initial hardware requirement check.

(The software itself is an open-source application and contains no malicious codes, you can download the source code, check it, and compile it yourself.)

I’ve tried this tool many times — including upgrading a 2013 Macbook Pro running BootCamp to Windows 11 –, and it worked flawlessly, proving to be the best method for the task.

(Again, there are other methods, but they are more involved with hit or miss results.)

Macbook Pro running Windows 11
Windows 11 upgrade: Here’s my Macbook Pro 2013 running Windows 11. The new OS sure beats Big Sur in more ways than one.

For this post, I used a decade-old Dell Precision T1500, first built for Windows 7, which came out 12 years ago. The computer has mostly the original hardware. It runs on a 1st Gen Core i7 CPU — to put things in perspective, Intel’s latest chip is now at 11th Gen — with some minor upgrades: I use a SATA SSD instead of its stock hard drive and have put Windows 10 on it.

The machine is so old its motherboard doesn’t even support the GPT partition table for the boot drive. So yes, Windows 11 can run on a computer that still uses the Legacy BIOS and Master Boot Record. And the point is, chances are, your computer is much newer than this one.

See also  File System and Partition Explained: Take Control of Your Storage

Windows 11 upgrade on unsupported hardware: The steps

Here are the detailed steps on an in-place upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

Windows Getting Ready for Windows Upgrade
Windows 11 upgrade: Here’s my Windows 10 computer before the Windows 11 upgrade. Note the dreadful you-don’t-belong message each time I run Windows Update and, most importantly, our little Win11 folder on its desktop.

1. Prepare the location and Windows 11 ISO file

For this post, I created a folder called Win11 on the desktop of the computer. You can create any folder you want. Just make sure you know where it is. But let’s assume that you make the same folder.

After that, download Windows 11 — you need to pick the ISO option — directly from Microsoft via this link. (You will have to follow a few obvious steps to select the version and the language, etc.)

For this post, I saved the ISO file in the Win11 folder and used its default name, Win11_English_x64.iso — the .iso portion might not be visible.

(If for some reason you can’t finish this step, you can skip it — more below)

2. Download the upgrade tool

Where to download the tool:

The tool is a .zip folder. Open it, and you will find four files inside. Drag and drop them all in our Win11 folder.

The Win11 folder now has five files if you have followed the above steps closely, as shown in the screenshot below.

Windows Getting Ready for Windows Upgrade Folder Content
Windows 11 upgrade: Note the Win11 folder’s content that includes the Windows 11 ISO file (Win11_English_64) and four files of the upgrade tool.

3. Perform the in-place upgrade via the upgrade tool

There are a few steps in this part.

a. Run the upgrade tool

Right-click on the Windows11Upgrade file and choose “Run as Administrator.” (The other three files need to be in the same folder, but you won’t need to do anything about them.)

By the way, doubling click on the file to execute it the normal way might not work out in some cases.

Windows Getting Ready for Windows Upgrade Folder Run the Tool
Windows 11 upgrade: You want to run the upgrade tool as an administrator.

b. Confirm the launch

A confirmation window will pop up. Answer it affirmatively.

Windows might even have more suggestions to ensure you want to make the changes — you might need to click on “More info” first. In any case, make sure you interact with all prompts affirmatively. The objective here is that you want to run the upgrade tool!

Confirmation
Windows 11 upgrade: Windows’ User Account Control will need your confirmation on running the file. Answer it affirmatively.

c. Pick the ISO file

Once launched, the Windows 11 Upgrade tool can download Windows 11 ISO file for you.

So, if you skip step #1 above, you can click on Download Windows 11 ISO File. The tool will then Windows 11 ISO of the language you want and save the file as win11.iso in the same folder. It will then jump to the next step.

If you have downloaded ISO file in step #1, click on the Select Windows 11 ISO file option and navigate to the file. Select it, then click on Open.

Load the ISO
Windows 11 upgrade: Use the upgrade tool to select the Windows 11 ISO file for the upgrade.

d. Pick the upgrade option and install Windows 11

Pick the upgrade option of your liking or keep the default Upgrade option and click on Install system.

Pick the Opption
Windows 11 upgrade: Pick the upgrade option to proceed with the Windows 11 in-place upgrade.

And that’s it. The upgrade process will start and run just like a typical Windows feature upgrade, which will restart the computer a few times. After about 30 minutes or so, depending on how fast your computer is, you’ll find yourself a “new” computer running Windows 11.

Windows Upgrade has Started
Windows 11 upgrade: The Windows 11 in-place upgrade process is doing its things.

The takeaway

There you go. Again, if your current computer is running Windows 10 (64-bit), it sure can run Windows 11. If you can install it the “official” way, great! If not, there’s this way.

Sure, you can get a new computer and install Windows 11 on it — chances are it already comes with Windows 11 — the way Microsoft (and its hardware partners) would love you to do, and I also have nothing against it.

But if you have hardware that’s still good, it’s always better for the environment, and our wallets, that we do not consume more than necessary. And guess what, my Dell Precision T1500 is still running well, under the new OS. I’ll keep it for the foreseeable future.

Before Image After Image
Windows 11 upgrade: Mission accomplished. Here's my old machine running the latest Windows OS. Everything is in perfect working order, including Windows Update, now without the earlier dreadful message. (I like the Start Menu better at its traditional location to the left of the screen.)

By the way, after the upgrade, you’ll also find that Windows 11 is already activated, and all existing software remains the same. Again, Windows 11 is very much an incremental version of Windows 10.

Finally, in case it’s not obvious, running Windows 11 on a computer that doesn’t have Secure Boot or Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 means any feature or function of the OS relating to those two will not be available. But that shouldn’t affect the computer’s day-to-day operation at all.

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29 thoughts on “In-place Windows 11 Upgrade on an Unsupported Windows 10 Computer”

  1. I’m curious if upgrading via this path- the locally saved .iso file- will enable one with a Win 10 Local Account the ability to perform the upgrade and retain that Local Account when the upgrade is complete? I ask as I’ve read numerous accounts where the upgrade isn’t allowed by Microsoft without a MS account but this may be only for those needing to be connected to the Internet during this process? Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Slightly off topic. Setting up a new acer laptop for a friend that is upgradable to 11. It comes with win 10
    Laptop still on its way
    What do you recommend –
    boot from usb and install without ever logging into win 10 or upgrade using windows update

    Reply
    • I’d skip the USB thingy when possible, Mahomed — that route can be problematic though it can work. Just do an in-place upgrade from Windows 10 — download the ISO and start from there, not via Windows update — and you can choose to remove everything. That’d be the same as installing the OS as new.

      Reply
      • Thanks. I will do that.
        Was worried about some of the bloatware that comes pre installed, but removing things will sort that out

        Reply
    • Much easier to upgrade from MS keeping drivers etc as is. I bought
      a new Acer Swift 5 with Win10 which did the upgrade painlessly. I also bought a T-Bao TBOOK MN35 AMD Ryzen 5 3550H Mini PC 16GB DDR4 512GB SSD Desktop Computer with Win10 and stuck it on the rear of a Samsung 32″ Curved Screen 4k Monitor. It also upgraded to Win11 easily and it flies.
      Glenn

      Reply
      • I’m going to run Dong’s upgrade tool on the old ASUS tonight so I’ll see how that goes. Nothing else has worked to date.

        Reply
  3. Dang, if only I had found this sooner, not 🙂

    One of my machines has a Ryzen 5 1600, which is not “allowed” by Microsoft to run Windows 11.

    Instead of keeping that terrible Windows 10 (Oh, Windows Vista, my love, where art thou?…), I installed Linux Mint 20.2 (w/ Cinnamon and Openbox) on it, and it works fine, of course.

    I have several other PC’s that aren’t “allowed” to run W11. They will keep Windows 10 until they break down, or they will get Linux.

    I am not really interested in Windows 11: I am sick and tired of Microsoft Windows, which is the most unreliable thing I have EVER worked with in my entire life (at work, I have already lost files “because of” Windows 10…, and I am not the only one).

    Reply
  4. Thanks, Done for the terrific walk-through. I’ve read many places that windows update would NOT work for unsupported hardware that upgraded to Windows 11. I figured at some point MS would have to walk that back because they are putting their ecosystem more at risk by not allowing security updated. Glad to hear you and others are able to continue to get updates with unsupported Win11 machines. Thank I”m going to give it a try after reading this. Cheers!

    Reply
  5. After successfully using this on three computers, I now have one that sits at Initializing, Please Wait forever after clicking the exe. No HD activity, nothing. Ironically this is my newest computer and one that IS ready for Windows 11 the normal way. I tried redownloading everything, rebooting several times, same thing. Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • Call the vendor, Tom. That prolly had nothing to do with the tool. Also, it’s unnecessary to use it on computers that are qualified.

      Reply
      • Seeing as I’m the vendor (homebuilt PC), the buck stops here!! That said, the “conventional” method of upgrading to Windows 11 worked on this PC where the method here did NOT. I had one other “qualified” PC and this method here worked on THAT one!!

        Reply
        • For new computers, Tom, it’s faster that you make a common “master” Windows 11 image and deploy it. Just make sure you use the same boot mode consistently.

          Reply
  6. Dong, mega thanks for this post. I too have a desktop PC that qualifies for Win 11 except for its one cycle earlier CPU. I followed the directions you laid out and am now happily running Win 11 (including updates) on said PC. MS is still being MS, but since you saved me a bunch of dinero, can I spring for a cup of your favorite coffee? 🙂

    Reply
  7. The requirements are very arbitrary. I meet all the requirements except for my cpu which is running ryzen first gen.

    I was beta testing and had no issues. In fact pc started much quicker on 11

    Reply
    • Yeap, Mahomed. It seems MS didn’t know how to make up its mind between getting Win11 popular, which it wants, and getting folks to buy new hardware which its partners want. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Works like a charm. I’ve done a few upgrades by cloning onto an NVme drive in a “supported” computer then cloning it back after the upgrade. That also works,but this is seamless. Updates seem to be coming whether the computer is “supported” or not. In any case, I make a backup image before upgrading just in case something goes awry,so returning to Win10 is always available.
    Thanks for the post.

    Reply
  9. Hi Dong, good write-up as usual 🙂 FYI, my son has a Dell Y40 laptop, circa 2015. It is still running Win 7 Pro 64-bit. Have you used this ‘Windows 11 Upgrade’ tool with Win 7? Thanks.

    Reply
    • I haven’t tried it with Windows 7, Jon, but chances are it will work. You can always upgrade it to Windows 10 first, though. It just takes a bit more time. Have fun! 🙂

      Reply
  10. I believe that should Windows 11 be installed this way on unsupported hardware, you will not receive windows updates. Also your you may lose your warranty.

    Reply
    • I don’t know about the warranty — the hardware might already be too old for that, all new hardware should support Windows 11 natively — but the Windows Updates work fine. I’ve updated like a dozen already. 🙂

      Reply
      • I guess the thing that scares me the most with this is FUTURE Windows Updates. IF Microsoft decides they don’t like this, then what? I have 7 computers, only two of which qualify “officially” for Windows 11, so I have plenty to try this on, picking the least “necessary” one first!!!

        BTW, the Ask Woody newsletter mentioned a registry hack to be able to do this. Wonder if this just does THAT!

        Reply
        • You can do the registry hack, or you can even clone a “qualified” computer onto a non-qualifed one. But this method is by far the best.

          I don’t think Microsoft will block the use of a legit copy of Windows 11, ever, Tom. I wouldn’t worry about it. 🙂

          Reply

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