If a new survey by IT asset management company Lansweeper is correct, it looks like many enterprise firms could be on Windows 10 for many years to come – or at least until they undergo major hardware refreshes.
Lansweeper reckons its Windows 11 readiness data shows that 55% of workstations can't be upgraded to Windows 11 due to Microsoft's stringent minimum hardware requirements.
As ZDNet's Ed Bott has noted, a large amount of pre-2019 hardware doesn't meet the requirements, including kit with relatively new 7th Gen Intel Core CPUs or first-generation AMD Zen CPUs. Microsoft argues the move will boost reliability, security, and compatibility
Lansweeper said its Windows 11 readiness data is based on a scan of about 30 million Windows devices from 60,000 organizations, making it a significant sample of enterprise hardware.
Specifically, Lansweeper found that only 44.4% of machines would meet Microsoft's Windows 11 CPU requirements and only 52.5% would meet its Trusted Platform Module 2.0 requirements. Most (91.05%) do, however, meet RAM requirements.
The hardware requirements include that a PC needs at least 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage; UEFI secure boot must be enabled; the graphics card must be compatible with DirectX 12 or later, with a WDDM 2.0 driver; and a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 must be included.
Another problem for enterprises, assuming they want to upgrade to Windows 11, is that Microsoft's minimum hardware requirements also apply to virtual machine platforms such as Microsoft HyperV, VMware and Oracle VM Virtual Box.
Lansweeper says the TPM requirements for VMs are "grim" and generally "less optimistic" for VMs across all requirements.
"While [VM] CPU compatibility is slightly higher at 44.9%, our research shows that only 66.4% has enough RAM," Lansweeper says in a blogpost.
The TPM 2.0 requirement means there could be a whole lot of work that system admins need to do to ensure they meet the grade.
"For TPM the news is grim, only 0.23% of all virtual workstations have TPM 2.0 enabled. This isn't completely a surprise, TPM has never been required for Windows and while TPM passthrough (vTPM) exists in order to give virtual machines a TPM, it is rarely used. Meaning that most VM workstations will need to be modified to get a vTPM before they can upgrade to Windows 11."
It also estimated that 98% of TPMs would "fail to upgrade if Microsoft creates a server operating system with similar requirements in the future."
While the figures are startling, it doesn't mean all this enterprise hardware won't be able to be reconfigured to meet Windows 11 hardware requirements. However, it could mean a lot of sweat from Windows admins as they attempt to beat Microsoft's October 2025 end of life (EOL) for Windows 10 support.
As ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley reported in August, people can run Windows 11 on hardware that doesn't meet the requirements, but these devices might not receive future updates via Windows Update.
"These may (or may not) include security and driver updates. As a result, your PC may encounter compatibility issues and become unusable, may experience issues that Microsoft support won't be able to help resolve, and may not be covered by warranty," Microsoft told ZDNet.
ZDNet has reached out to Microsoft for comment on the figures quoted by Lansweeper. We'll update the story if we receive a response.