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First-generation Windows on ARM PCs will not be able to run Windows 11 24H2

Windows 11 logo with a processor on the background

Windows 11 supports a variety of ARM processors from Qualcomm. According to the official documentation, you need a computer with the Snapdragon 850 processor inside or newer to run the current operating system officially. However, customers with PCs powered by the Snapdragon 835, the original Windows on ARM chip from 2016, can bypass hardware requirements and install Windows 11 at their own risk. Sadly, those days will be ending soon.

Starting with Windows 11 version 24H2, Microsoft's operating system requires ARM v8.1 to run. An attempt to boot it from a device with an ARM v8.0-based processor results in system crashes. For reference, the Snapdragon 835 from 2016 is a chip with Kryo 280 cores, which are derivative of ARM's Cortex-A73 cores.

While Windows 11 never supported the Snapdragon 835 CPU, it was possible (technically, it still is) to install the operating system on computers with that chip, like it is possible to run it on seventh-gen Intel Core CPUs or first-gen Ryzen processors. Because of that, many think Windows 11's hardware requirements are arbitrary—a trick to make customers buy newer hardware. Microsoft denies those accusations and claims the OS does not support a large number of relatively capable chips because of security.

Now, with Windows 11 version 24H2 getting more features and requiring newer instructions, customers should face the fact that their old computers are physically incapable of running the most recent Windows 11 version.

The same will happen to old x86 processors without POPCNT and the SSE 4.2 instruction set. However, those still using computers with 16-year-old processors probably should not complain about Microsoft not supporting their heavily outdated hardware. The Snapdragon 835, on the other hand, is a much more recent processor, so the change will most likely make some users sad, even though, again, they were never supported in the first place.

The end of ARM v8.0 "support" also means the end of the road for enthusiasts still toying around with old Lumias, such as the Lumia 950 XL. Surface Duo, however, is safe since both generations have much more recent Snapdragon chips.

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