Microsoft’s Windows 11 outreach efforts aren’t going very well

Microsoft Program Manager Aria Carley answers Microsoft Tech Community users’ questions about Windows 11 upgrades once the new OS version reaches general availability.

In a July 21 livestream, Microsoft Program Manager Aria Carley answered Microsoft Tech Community users’ questions about the final hardware requirements to upgrade to Windows 11. Although hardware requirements—including but not limited to TPM 2.0 support—aren’t enforced for the Windows 11 alpha images available now, Carley confirmed that the “hardware floor” would be real for final versions.

“So we talk about this new hardware floor of what devices are eligible and which aren’t,” Carley said, adding “we know that it sucks that some aren’t going to be eligible for Windows 11.” She went on to state that Microsoft is imposing the unpopular hardware floor “to keep devices more productive, have a better experience, and most importantly have better security than before so they can stay protected in this new workforce.”

Despite acknowledging that the situation “sucks” for affected users, Carley doubled down on the inflexibility of the hardware floor in response to a later question, saying “group policy will not enable you to get around hardware enforcement for Windows 11. We’re still going to block you from upgrading your device… to make sure your devices stay supported and secure.”

Unsurprisingly, these answers didn’t seem to go over well with the audience—according to Windows Central, the video’s top comment read “A lot of these answers come off as super tone deaf… it’s looking like Windows 11 will be another Windows 8.” Other comments—again, according to Windows Central—speculated that the seemingly-unnecessary hardware requirements are a thinly veiled ploy to push new computer sales, with corresponding boosts to Windows license sales.

Unfortunately, we’re left to take various blogs’ word on what the Microsoft Tech Community users had to say, because Microsoft simply disabled comments on the video—deleting all existing comments—in response to the negativity. Although the comments are gone, the voting is not—with 2.7K dislikes and only 146 likes as of this afternoon.

In our opinion, Microsoft’s rush to new hardware requirements is overly-aggressive and badly handled, regardless of what anyone might think of the legitimacy of its unspecified security benefits. It seems likely that a much gentler “made for Windows 11” campaign, requiring OEM hardware vendors to meet those requirements on new, OEM-installed Windows systems, would have been sufficient to accomplish the same goals in roughly the same time frame.

Listing image by Jean-Luc Ichard via Getty Images

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