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Windows 11 no longer fooled by this system requirements bypass trick on old unsupported CPUs

Windows 11 24h2 system requirements

Microsoft released a major Insider build earlier this week on the Dev and Canary channels. The new build, 26052, introduced several features like "Sudo for Windows," an improved Registry editor, among other things.

It also is the first Windows 11 version 24H2 build, and interestingly, it looks like Microsoft is making a fairly major change in terms of CPU instruction set architecture (ISA) support on next-gen Windows 11. The company is seemingly looking to make the SSE4's "POPCNT" instruction a mandatory requirement for running Windows 11. When a user tried to boot into Windows 11 24H2 on a system powered by such a chip, the machine failed to boot up.

Hence, it seems users running such old processors would no longer be able to bypass Windows 11 24H2 system requirements. However, that does not mean bypass will not work on other more modern CPUs that are not on the list of supported chips. An unofficial WinPE (Windows Preinstallation Environment) tool based on build 26052 has already confirmed it will work.

Following that, the more recent build, 26058, has added another block via the Setup itself such that users can't proceed further. It also clearly informs the user about the missing "POPCNT" instruction during the Setup.

Outside of the traditional utilities like Rufus and Ventoy, another bypass has been circulating the interwebs since at least August of 2022. This one is pretty simple as all it needs is a single command that tricks the Windows setup into thinking it is a Server SKU. This consequently led to the skipping of the system requirements check. There were reports however that the command had stopped working, though such was not the case.

Unfortunately, though, it seems this bypass can not prove helpful for all the old processors without POPCNT. Although the bypass apparently still works, the Setup is unable to boot into Windows.

This error is similar to when a Windows setup, in the past, would check if NX bit (Never eXecute), PAE (Physical Address Extension) were enabled or not, or if the SSE2 instruction was present, failing which the upgrade would be blocked. There were, however, workarounds for those.

Interestingly, CPU ISA update isn't the only major thing Microsoft is doing currently. The company also announced that it is updating the Secure Boot keys that have been around since the Windows 8 era, and for good reason.

Google of course has this entire situation on its radar which is why it wants owners of unsupported PCs to dump Windows 10 and 11 and switch over to its ChromeOS Flex.

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