With the launch of Windows 11, many users encountered problems related to the compatibility of the operating system, due to the high specifications required which excluded many PCs from the possibility of running it. However, a new challenge awaits users with the upcoming update called version 24H2, scheduled for September 2024, which will mark a point of no return for computers equipped with processors now considered obsolete. According to insider reports, this update will not allow booting on computers that use very old processors, especially those without POPCNT (population count) support.
This choice will significantly impact numerous system files, from the Windows 11 kernel to the XHCI USB drivers, making it impossible to run the operating system on processors that do not have this instruction. Introduced as a standard in processors since the mid-2000s, with AMD’s Barcelona architecture followed by Intel’s first generation Core i-series processors, the POPCNT instruction should not exclude PCs manufactured within the last 15 years from this new need for Windows 11. This means that modern computers, even those not officially supported by the OS but for which a workaround has been found, will be able to continue running Windows after the update.
The decision, although it may seem unfriendly for users who have PCs with older processors, appears logical from the point of view of Microsoft, which intends to direct the use of Windows 11 towards more recent machines. The 24H2 update will introduce significant changes, with a strong focus on next-generation AI experiences, as well as various performance and security updates and new features. While the increased emphasis on Copilot and other AI features and tools may be unappealing to some, Microsoft is focusing on updating Windows 11 without opting to move to a new operating system, Windows 12.