This post will walk you through detailed steps to perform an in-place Windows 11 installation or upgrade on unsupported hardware running Windows 10.
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 well. 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.
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 in the case of Windows 10.
On top of that, in my experience, Windows 11 runs slightly 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.)
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.
Windows 11 upgrade on unsupported hardware: The steps
Here are the detailed steps on an in-place upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11.
1. Prepare the location and Windows 11 ISO file
For this post, I created a folder called Win11 on the computer’s desktop. 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:
- For the sake of consistency, this link is for the exact version I’ve used for myself and this post.
- This link is the original version which might or might not be the same as the one I used.
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.
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, double-clicking on the file to execute it the usual way might not work out in some cases.
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!
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 the 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.
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.
The trick mentioned here only removes the hardware requirements from the process of installing Windows 11 on your computer.
For the upgrade to work, your Windows 10 computer must be in a good error-free state. In other words, upgrading to Windows 11 is not a method to fix any existing issues.
If you run into problems upgrading your computer to another version of Windows 10, then the machine is not ready to upgrade to Windows 11.
If you run into errors during the update, chances are your computer is not in a good shape. In that case, you should first clean it from erroneous software and drivers, reset it, or choose a clean install (and lose all existing data) instead of an upgrade.
And that’s it. You can walk away or mind other business. 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.
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.
Of course, 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.
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.