Preparing For Windows 11Written on July 9, 2021 by Ben Nelson
Windows 11 Coming Soon
The announcement of Windows 11 came quickly and was a pleasant surprise to many of us. With an expected 2021 holiday season release date, the new features, performance improvements, and security updates look promising and have many existing Windows users excited about the news. We've published a separate article that provides a glimpse of the features and interface changes to expect with the upgrade.
In addition to the promising features, we are working to stay up to date on the latest information to educate and assist our system owners to prepare for the release on their Puget workstations. We've put together a list to aid in the transition when the major Windows update comes out later this year.
Checking Hardware Compatibility
Determining whether or not your system supports Windows 11 should be one of the first considerations when preparing for the release.
Windows 11 requires modern hardware to run, but if your PC has a CPU released in the last 3-4 years, you’re probably fully compatible. Older PCs don’t seem to be so lucky. To provide enhanced security to its users, Microsoft is requiring all PCs to feature a specialized chip called a Trusted Platform Module, or TPM, of at least version 2.0. A discrete TPM isn't the only option as this technology is found in most modern CPUs and motherboards. Computers built before 2017 may not be compatible, however, so it’s important to take a close look at the minimum system requirements before opting into an upgrade.
The hardware requirements are subject to change before the release of Windows 11. We will continue to update this article accordingly until the official release.
Windows 11 System Ready Tool
Before manually checking all of the system specifications and settings to meet Windows 11 requirements, you can run a tool to scan over your hardware and check for you.
As of the end of June 2021, Microsoft removed the Windows 11 PC Health Check app as it was non-descriptive and was reported inaccurate by many users. A comparative 3rd party developed tool by rcmaehl called WhyNotWin11 is commonly being used as a substitute tool until Microsoft's PC Health Check is re-released.
Backup Sensitive Data to an External Source
As with any major operating system upgrade or change, it's always important to backup any sensitive data to an external source that will not be interacted with during the upgrade process. We have a handful of articles below with suggestions to assist with keeping important files, pictures, and data redundant in a separate location.
Check Operating System Drive Partitioning Scheme
Part of the Windows 11 update requirements is UEFI system firmware. You can confirm the system firmware of your operating system drive within Disk Management by checking the volume properties of the drive.
- Right click the start menu and select 'Disk Management'
- Right click your operating system disk and select 'properties'
- Click the 'volumes' tab
- Confirm your partitioning scheme by checking the 'Partition style'
If the partition style reads as GUID Partition Table (GPT) you are good to go! If the partition style shows as Master Boot Record (MBR), you will either need to convert your operating system disk to GPT or reinstall Windows on a GPT disk.
Enable TPM 2.0
After ensuring your operating system drive is using the GPT partitioning scheme and utilizing UEFI, you can enable the first major security requirement for Windows 11, TPM 2.0. There are a couple of options for configuring TPM 2.0 technology. Most notably a dedicated hardware module on your motherboard or utilizing CPU firmware technology from Intel[PTT] and AMD[fTPM].
More information on setting up TPM 2.0 can be found in our Windows 11 TPM article.
Enable Secure Boot
The second major security requirement for Windows 11 is having secure boot enabled. Secure boot is a security measure that ensures a device boots only using software that is trusted by the OEM to protect against malware. To enable and use secure boot, the BIOS must be set to detect UEFI storage devices only, sacrificing the ability to boot to legacy devices. It is not necessary to have TPM enabled to use secure boot, but they are both requirements for Windows 11.
To enable secure boot:
- Verify your bootable storage device uses GPT partitioning (See the system drive partitioning scheme section above if you are not sure how to check this)
- Disable CSM settings
- Enable Secure Boot
For further information about secure boot, check out our article here.
While we can't include BIOS instructions for every motherboard we carry, below are some screenshots of the CSM and secure boot settings on a handful of motherboards we've configured at Puget. If you are a Puget Systems owner and have questions about any of these settings for your system, please reach out to our support team with your order number and we can advise on your specific configuration.
What If Your Puget Workstation is Not Supported with Windows 11?
If your hardware is not supported by Windows 11 requirements, don't panic! Microsoft has stated Windows 10 will include support until October 2025. While it would be a good idea to prepare a transition to the latest Windows operating system, there is no immediate rush and you can feel comfortable taking your time with a transition.
If you are ready to upgrade from your existing desktop, all of Puget Systems's workstations built in July 2021 or later will be Windows 11 ready with all of the BIOS changes described in this article already configured.
In the Coming Months
The recent Windows 11 announcements have generated an eagerness to prepare for the update. We're hopeful this guide can educate Puget System owners on the requirements for Windows 11 and provide instructions on how to check if the hardware in your workstation is Windows 11 ready. As with most major Windows updates or releases, we recommend a late adoption strategy so the initial round of bugs are corrected and further information is uncovered about the update process. Our internal support records are logged with many issues as a result of performing direct operating system upgrades in the past. We'll be sure to share any recommendations for the upgrade process as we move closer to release in hopes to provide a stable transition for all Puget System workstation owners.
Need help with your Puget Systems PC?
If something is wrong with your Puget Systems PC. We are readily accessible, and our support team comes from a wide range of technological backgrounds to better assist you!
Looking for more support guides?
If you are looking for a solution to a problem you are having with your PC, we also have a number of other support guides that may be able to assist you with other issues.