Free Upgrade to Microsoft Windows 11

Introduction

After watching the Microsoft Windows 11 event this morning (on the Newegg YouTube channel), I decided to find and try out the Microsoft PC Health Check App. This app is supposed to tell you if your current machine is eligible for a free upgrade to Microsoft Windows 11.

Windows 11 Hardware Requirements

Here are the Windows 11 hardware requirements.

  • A “modern” dual-core, 64-bit processor
  • 1GHz clock speed
  • 64GB drive
  • 4GB RAM
  • UEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • TPM 2.0
  • Greater than 9-inch screen with HD Resolution (1366×768 equivalent)
  • DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x 

One item that caught my eye is the requirement for TPM 2.0. My motherboard has a TPM Header, but no actual TPM module. I will need to find and order a GC-TPM2.0_S module for this if I want Windows 11. This will be a common issue for DIY motherboards.

Update: It turns out that this motherboard supports AMD CPU fTPM which is part of the AGESA code. If you enable that in the BIOS, you don’t actually need a separate hardware TPM 2.0 module. You might want one anyway, but it is not required.

Other than that, these are pretty modest requirements that my machine far exceeds.

PC Health Check App

Microsoft has a free PC Health Check App that you can download here. I downloaded it and installed it on my gaming rig. This machine is one that I built completely from parts. It has an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X in a Gigabyte B550 AORUS PRO AC motherboard with two 8GB sticks of G.SKILL DDR4-3600 CL14 RAM and a 1TB Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus NVMe SSD. It also has an RTX 3070 video card.

It is running Windows 10 Pro Version 21H1, fully patched with Windows Update as of this morning. All of the various third party drivers are fully up to date with the latest versions.

Free Upgrade to Microsoft Windows 11
WinVer Results From My Gaming Rig

Windows Update says I am “up to date”. This was after installing a couple of new updates and rebooting the machine.

Free Upgrade to Microsoft Windows 11
Windows Update Status

So, how did my machine do? Well, problem number 1 is that I am using a local account on this machine instead of a Microsoft Account. Microsoft really doesn’t like that when you install a fresh copy of Windows 10, but there are easy ways around it if you are persistent.

Now, with Windows 11, not being signed in with a Microsoft Account is considered an upgrade blocker, at least according to the PC Health Check tool.

According to Mary Jo Foley, “with Windows 11, Microsoft will require consumers to have a network connection, plus a Microsoft Account (MSA), to set up their PCs for the first time in order to reduce customer confusion, officials said.”.

That is pretty annoying, and I am guessing Microsoft will get some criticism for that policy.

Free Upgrade to Microsoft Windows 11
PC Health Check Results

Problem number 2 is that the PC Health Check tool is convinced that my fully up to date, freshly patched and rebooted machine needs some Windows Updates. This is not correct according to Windows Update.

Free Upgrade to Microsoft Windows 11
PC Health Check Results

When I click on the “Check now” button, I get this dialog.

No Windows 11 For You
No Windows 11 For You!

Since my DIY machine does not have a TPM 2.0 module, I would expect the PC Health Check tool to complain about that. It could be that since I am not signed in with a Microsoft Account, the tool does not even check my hardware, so the TPM 2.0 issue is missed.

Final Words

This is not a great experience so far. I really like the idea of a tool like this that you can run to see if your machine is actually ready for a Windows 11 upgrade or not. This tool also has links to information about how to keep your machine running well, which is a good idea.

In my case, I have a very modern, high performance machine that is running Windows 10 Pro 21H1, that is fully patched. The PC Health Check tool fails this machine because of the MSA issue and because it thinks the machine is not fully patched. Getting results like this will probably just confuse people.

UPDATE: It turns out that the actual reason that the tool was failing the machine because of the TPM 2.0 requirement. That opens up another can of worms that is actually not as bad as I initially thought. More details coming in another post!

I am going to run this tool on some other machines to see what sort of results I get.

If you have any questions about this post, please ask me here in the comments or on Twitter. I am pretty active on Twitter as GlennAlanBerryThanks for reading!

3 thoughts on “Free Upgrade to Microsoft Windows 11

  1. Since you’re running an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU, you should be able to enable fTPM and get TPM 2.0 via the CPU instead of needing the Gigabyte module.

    1. That is probably correct. I think you also have make sure hardware virtualization is enabled in the BIOS too.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: