Windows 7 users can upgrade to Windows 11 but will need to perform a clean install

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Last month, Microsoft officially announced Windows 11, which will be offered as a free upgrade to Windows 10 users. Along with the launch, Microsoft also increased the Windows 11 system requirements that include Secure Boot and TPM.

Though the Redmond company is providing a free upgrade path for Windows 10 users, it did not clarify if Windows 7 and 8.1 users have a similar option. Luckily, manufacturers and vendors seem to have stepped in to fill the information gap by publishing hardware compatibility lists and guides on how to enable TPM. Now, Lenovo has published a FAQ page (spotted by MakeUseOf) on Windows 11 that covers basic questions including the upgrade path for Windows 7 users.

According to the company, Windows 7 users with eligible hardware can upgrade to Windows 11 but will have to do a clean installation. This means that there might not be a way to jump directly to Windows 11 by downloading the update from Windows Update, for those wondering.

Most devices available for purchase now will be upgradeable to Windows 11. You will have the option to upgrade, clean install, or reimage Windows 10 devices to move to Windows 11. For Windows 7 devices that meet hardware requirements, you will need to clean install or reimage to go directly to Windows 11.

While Microsoft is offering Windows 11 as a free upgrade to Windows 10 users, the new update will also support license keys from Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and Windows 10. So, if you have a Windows 7 PC with compatible hardware and are planning to update, then you should keep your Windows 7 license key handy. Alternatively, Microsoft still has not closed the Windows 7 to Windows 10 upgrade path so you could potentially upgrade to Windows 10 for free and then move to Windows 11 once it is rolled out to the public. This will not require a clean install.

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