Windows 11 Upgrade Hack on Any Hardware

This post will walk you through detailed steps to perform an in-place Windows 11 upgrade on an unsupported Windows 10 computer.

You heard it right. One of the controversies about Windows 11 is its ridiculous hardware requirements. Specifically, among other things, your computer needs to support Secure Boot and Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0.

Neither is essential to the day-to-day operation of the computer. The two are so non-essential that hardware vendors often disable them by default on computers that support them.

But the bottom line is this: If your computer is running Windows 10 64-bit — that’s the case of most existing computers — then it can run Windows 11 just fine, regardless of any extra “requirements.”

Initially, it was a bit of work to make this happen on non-qualified (supposedly unsupported) hardware. But as I predicted, there’s now a tool to make the process much easier.

This post will help you with that.

Windows on unsupported hardware
Windows 11 Upgrade: Here’s my dated Dell Precision T1500, which doesn’t meet multiple hardware requirements of Windows 11, running the OS after an in-place upgrade from Windows 10.

Why should I upgrade to Windows 11?

The latest version of Windows 11 now has the official support for the 6GHz band of the Intel AX210 Wi-Fi 6E chip. That means you won’t need to use a particular software driver like the case of Windows 10.

On top of that, in my experience, Windows 11 runs better and has a more refined user interface.

The new OS also will last you beyond 2025 when Microsoft plans to phase out Windows 10 completely. Sure, you might want new hardware before then, but it’s always good to know your way around the new OS now.

With that, let’s get our hands dirty. (As the rule, make sure you make a backup of your system beforehand.)

Windows 11 upgrade on unsupported computer: The tool

If your current computer meets the hardware requirements, you can upgrade it to Windows 11 like you usually do with Windows 10. You can eventually do that via Windows Update.

If your hardware is not qualified, though, you’ll run into a message saying just that, and the setup process will not continue.

And that’s where the no-name upgrade tool, by a Czech GitHub developer @coofcookie, comes into play. It enables users to do a regular in-place upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 on any computer while bypassing the initial hardware requirement check.

(The software itself is an open-source application and contains no malicious codes, you can download the source code, check it, and compile it yourself.)

I’ve tried this tool many times — including upgrading a 2013 Macbook Pro running BootCamp to Windows 11 –, and it worked flawlessly, proving to be the best method for the task. (There are indeed other methods, but they are more involved.)

Macbook Pro running Windows 11
Here’s my Macbook Pro 2013 running Windows 11. The new OS sure beats Big Sur in more ways than one.

For this post, I used a decade-old Dell Precision T1500, first built for Windows 7, which came out 12 years ago today. The computer has all the original hardware — it runs a 1st Gen Core i7 CPU as opposed to the 11th Gen of the latest hardware — with some minor upgrades: I use a SATA SSD instead of its hard drive and have put Windows 10 on it.

The machine is so old its motherboard doesn’t even support the GPT partition table for the boot drive. So yes, Windows 11 can run on a computer that still uses the Legacy BIOS and Master Boot Record. And the point is, chances are, your computer is much newer than this one.

Windows 11 upgrade on unsupported hardware: The steps

Here are the detailed steps on an in-place upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

Windows Getting Ready for Windows Upgrade
Here’s my Windows 10 computer before the Windows 11 upgrade. Note the dreadful you-don’t-belong message each time I run Windows Update and, most importantly, our little Win11 folder on its desktop.

1. Prepare the location and Windows 11 ISO file

For this post, I created a folder called Win11 on the desktop of the computer. You can create any folder you want. Just make sure you know where it is. But let’s assume that you make the same folder.

After that, download Windows 11 — you need to pick the ISO option — directly from Microsoft via this link. (You will have to follow a few obvious steps to select the version and the language, etc.)

For this post, I saved the ISO file in the Win11 folder and used its default name, Win11_English_x64.ISO — the .ISO portion might not be visible.

2. Download the upgrade tool

Here’s the link to download the English version of the upgrade tool. (If you want the Czech version, get it here.)

The tool is a .zip folder. Open it, and you will find four files inside. Drag and drop them all in our Win11 folder.

The Win11 folder now has five files if you have followed the above steps closely, as shown in the screenshot below.

Windows Getting Ready for Windows Upgrade Folder Content
Note the Win11 folder’s content that includes the Windows 11 ISO file (Win11_English_64) and four files of the upgrade tool.

3. Perform the in-place upgrade via the upgrade tool

There are a few steps in this part.

a. Run the upgrade tool

Right-click on the Windows11Upgrade file and choose “Run as Administrator.” (The other three files need to be in the same folder, but you won’t need to do anything about them.)

Windows Getting Ready for Windows Upgrade Folder Run the Tool
You want to run the upgrade tool as an administrator.

b. Confirm the launch

A confirmation window will pop up. Answer it affirmatively. Windows might even have more suggestions to ensure you want to make the changes — make sure you answer them all affirmatively. The objective here is that you want to run the upgrade tool!

Windows’ User Account Control will need your confirmation on running the file. Answer it affirmatively.

c. Pick the ISO file

Once launched, Windows 11 Upgrade tool gives you two options. It can download Windows 11 ISO for you if you haven’t done that in step #1. (In this case, it’ll save the file as Win11.ISO in the same folder.)

Since we already have the ISO file, click on the Select Windows 11 ISO file option and navigate to the file we downloaded earlier. Then click on Open.

Load the ISO
Use the upgrade tool to select the Windows 11 ISO file for the upgrade.

d. Pick the upgrade option and install Windows 11

Pick the upgrade option of your liking or keep the default Upgrade option and click on Install system.

Pick the Opption
Pick the upgrade option to proceed with the Windows 11 in-place upgrade.

And that’s it. The upgrade process will start and run just like a typical Windows feature upgrade, which will restart the computer a few times. After about 30 minutes or so, depending on how fast your computer is, you’ll find yourself a “new” computer running Windows 11.

Windows Upgrade has Started
The Windows 11 in-place upgrade process is doing its things.

The takeaway

There you go. Again, if your current computer is running Windows 10 (64-bit), it sure can run Windows 11. If you can install it the “official” way, great! If not, there’s this way.

Sure, you can get a new computer and install Windows 11 on it — chances are it already comes with Windows 11 — the way Microsoft (and its hardware partners) would love you to do, and I also have nothing against it.

But if you have hardware that’s still good, it’s always better for the environment, and our wallets, that we do not consume more than necessary. And guess what, my Dell Precision T1500 is still running well, under the new OS. I’ll keep it for the foreseeable future.

Windows on unsupported h
Windows 11 upgrade: Mission accomplished. Here’s my old machine running the latest Windows OS. Everything is in perfect working order, including Windows Update, now without the earlier dreadful message. (I like the Start Menu better at its traditional location to the left of the screen.)

By the way, after the upgrade, you’ll also find that Windows 11 is already activated, and all existing software remains the same. Again, Windows 11 is very much an incremental version of Windows 10.

Finally, in case it’s not obvious, running Windows 11 on a computer that doesn’t have Secure Boot or Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 means any feature or function of the OS relating to those two will not be available. But that shouldn’t affect the computer’s day-to-day operation at all.

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