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The next big Windows 11 update has a new hardware requirement

A laptop running Windows 11.

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 11 24H2 update is expected to arrive with yet another hardware requirement. Centered around SSE4.2 or Streaming SIMD Extensions 4.2, a crucial component for modern processors, the new Windows 11 24H2 with build 26080 will only boot on CPUs that support the instruction set.

This information comes from Bob Pony on X (previously known as Twitter), following earlier reports in February where he claimed that CPUs lacking support for the POPCNT instruction were no longer compatible with Windows 11. The updated requirement is essentially the same, except that they now mandate the entire SSE 4.2 instruction set instead of just the POPCNT instruction within it, as was previously required.

⚠️ UPDATE: Since Windows 11 Build 26080, a CPU with the SSE4.2 instruction is ALSO REQUIRED TO BOOT Windows 11 Version 24H2!!

Attempting to boot Build 26080+ on systems without the SSE4.2 instruction present will trigger an automatic reboot once it reaches the boot screen phase.

— Bob Pony (@TheBobPony) April 21, 2024

These newly discovered changes surpass the initial criteria to be eligible for installing or updating to Windows 11, which included Secure Boot, TPM support, and a Kaby Lake or newer CPU. Notably, POPCNT and the SSE 4.2 requirements are going to be exclusive to 24H2 and are expected to extend over subsequent iterations of Windows 11.

While this move is likely aimed at streamlining performance and ensuring compatibility with newer hardware architectures, Microsoft has essentially made it tougher for users aiming to run the latest Windows 11 version.

It is important to note that Windows 11’s hardware compatibility list excludes older CPUs, meaning anyone with compatible hardware should not be affected by the strict requirements. However, users with aging hardware and limited expertise to navigate the hardware check may encounter challenges.

With Windows 11 24H2 set to release later this fall, it is expected that AI is going to be a big focus for Microsoft. With Intel, AMD, and even Qualcomm bringing new chips featuring integrated Neural Processing Units (NPU), Copilot in Windows 11 24H2 should bring much-needed improvements. Additionally, we can expect new gaming features like “Super Resolution,” which can use AI to upscale the graphics quality in games, voice clarity support, a revamped energy-saver mode, and various other design changes.

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Kunal Khullar
Kunal is a Computing writer contributing content around PC hardware, laptops, monitors, and more for Digital Trends. Having…
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