Microsoft won’t be allowing users to bypass the hardware requirements of Windows 11 (at release), as certain enthusiasts have demonstrated with the beta. This means that machines with less than 4GB of memory and TPM 2.0 hardware encryption won’t be able to run the new OS. Users running processors that don’t meet Microsoft’s requirements won’t be able to install Windows 11 either. I’m not sure whether this includes the very basic requirement (1GHz, 2-core CPU), or the explicit list of supported processors: Intel 8th Gen and above/AMD Ryzen 2nd Gen CPUs and above.
It’s most likely that the dual-core 1GHz CPU requirement will be enforced, while users using Intel Skylake and 1st Gen Ryzen processors will be let off with a simple warning. Speaking at an AMA a few days back, a Microsoft spokesperson said that while it sucks that many aren’t going to be able to use the new OS, the important thing to remember is that this is being done to ensure that devices are productive and secure.
We know it sucks that some aren’t going to be eligible for Windows 11, but the great thing to remember is the reason we’re doing [this] is to keep to devices more productive and [ensure that they have] security than ever before so they can stay protected in this new workforce.
We don’t want all of the admins or all of the consumers out there to have to constantly be thinking [about compatibility]. What we’ve actually done is bring some of that enforcement inbox so rather than you having to even think about it, your device will actually be able to determine by itself before ever being offered [Windows 11] and wasting that download.
Group policy will not enable you to get around the hardware enforcement for Windows 11. We will block you from upgrading your device to an unsupported state since we really want to make sure that your devices stay supported and secure.Windows AMA
It looks like the Windows Update Tool will automatically check the hardware and notify users whether they’re eligible for the upgrade before downloading the OS. Furthermore, Microsoft will be able to determine device compatibility using telemetry data, and while businesses will be let off with a warning, consumers won’t be able to bypass the restrictions by modifying the Group Policy.
Earlier, Microsoft had stated in a blog post that it was considering extending officially processor support to the 1st Gen Ryzen and 6th Gen Skylake SKUs via telemetry data from beta users, but we haven’t heard anything about that since. It’s unlikely that the requirements will be reduced anytime soon even though most of them are absurd.