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Lenovo laptop cpu upgrade. FIX: New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted or fTPM…

What Is an Upgradeable Laptop? 5 Best Upgradeable Laptops

What is an upgradeable laptop? How to distinguish an upgradeable laptop from other ordinary laptops? What is modular laptop? In this post, MiniTool Partition Wizard offers you answers to these questions.

What Are Upgradeable Laptops?

When it comes to laptop upgrade, many people will think of CPU, GPU, RAM, and hard drive upgrades. Indeed, the four factors are most important in laptop upgrade. This post also focuses on them.

What are upgradeable laptops?

In general, as long as a laptop’s CPU, GPU, RAM, and hard drive are upgradeable, the laptop can be called an upgradeable laptop.

Why do you need upgradeable laptops?

The reason is simple—save money. If an upgradeable laptop can’t meet your need any more after years of usage, you can upgrade some of its hardware to boost its performance again. This will be much cheaper than buying a new high-performance PC.

I have ever seen some people ask online “Can a laptop last 10 years?” Actually, if an ordinary laptop can last for 5 to 8 years, then an upgradeable laptop may last nearly 10 to 15 years through hardware upgrade. In a word, upgradeable laptops are worth buying.

Note: Upgradeable laptops usually refer to those laptops that have room to upgrade. If a laptop has a top-level configuration already, I cannot guarantee that it still has room to upgrade in the future.

How to determine a laptop is upgradeable or not?

If you plan to buy an upgradeable laptop, you should note whether the laptop’s CPU or GPU is soldered. Some manufacturer will tell you this point. If the CPU or GPU is soldered on the motherboard (for example, Ultrabooks’ CPUs are usually soldered on the motherboard), this laptop is not an upgradeable laptop in a strict sense.

However, in most occasions, manufacturers won’t tell you whether this laptop’s CPU or GPU is soldered on the motherboard. If so, you can judge from the following aspects:

  • Whether the laptop’s CPU can be upgraded depends on the packaging method. If the CPU on the laptop uses PGA packaging method, this CPU can be replaced. You can check the packaging method through CPU-Z.
  • In terms of laptop CPUs, Intel CPU models with M letter at the end of the name are generally in PGA packages, while others are in BGA packages and soldered to the motherboard. This is another way to check the packaging method. But unfortunately, since the 4th generation, CPUs with M letter (using PGA) have never been seen again.
  • If the GPU is integrated into the CPU, replacing GPU means replacing CPU.
  • If the GPU is a discrete GPU and the manufacturer doesn’t tell whether it is soldered on the motherboard, you can determine that by checking its interface. If the interface is an MXM interface, it means that the GPU is not soldered. Otherwise, it is soldered and can’t be replaced at ease.

In recent years, no matter Intel or AMD, their CPUs are soldered to the motherboard and can’t be replaced easily, so I must take this situation and trend into consideration and regard these kinds of laptops as upgradeable laptops. Otherwise, there may be no real upgradeable laptops.

On the other hand, if you really want to replace the CPU soldered on the motherboard, you can still do that if you seek help from professionals. They may help you replace the CPU via BGA soldering station and other tools.

What is a modular laptop?

As we all know, users can customize and build their own laptops. This is because various computer interfaces are standardized and modularized. However, the development of computer hardware is changing with each passing day. As a result, various CPU, GPU, RAM, and hard drive interface technical standards have been introduced.

These interface standards are incompatible with one another and users are often troubled by this issue when assembling computers. Fortunately, modular computers (they are also upgradeable computers) can solve these problems.

To put it simply, a modular computer means that each component of the computer is a module that meets certain standards. These modules can be added and removed at will, so users can realize computer upgrade easily just by purchasing and replacing specific modules.

The biggest difference between a modular laptop and an ordinary upgradeable laptop lies in the interface standard and hardware architecture they support. The modular laptops use a standard designed by the manufacturer itself, while ordinary upgradeable laptops use the industry standard.

Therefore, modules of different manufacturers may not be compatible with one another. But on the other hand, as long as modules are designed by the same manufacturer, they can achieve plug-and-play upgrade without the need of considering the interface problem.

Looking for PC cloning software to clone a hard drive? Here is 2 best free hard drive cloning software for you to do a disk copy with ease.

Best Upgradeable Laptops

Alienware Area 51M Gaming Laptop

  • CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i9-9900K (8-Core, 16MB Cache, up to 5.0Ghz w/Turbo Boost).
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB GDDR6 (Dedicated).
  • RAM: 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB DDR4.
  • Hard Drive: 1TB SSD RAID 0 (2x 512GB PCIe NVME M.2 SSDs) 1TB (8GB SSHD) Hybrid Drive, or 2TB RAID SSD (2x 1TB PCIe M.2 SSDs) Upgrade.
  • Price: Start at 4999.

This Alienware upgradeable laptop is a modular laptop, also an upgradable gaming laptop. In addition, this laptop’s CPU, GPU, RAM, and hard drive are top-level configurations, and it comes with Windows 10 Pro 64bit OS, 1x Thunderbolt 3 port, etc.

For gamers and those who want an upgradeable laptop, Alienware Area 51M laptop can meet their needs perfectly. However, the high price and up to 4.4 kgs weight will daunt a considerable number of consumers.

Asus ROG Strix Hero III Gaming Laptop 17.3”

  • CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750h Processor.
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB GDDR6 (Dedicated).
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 2666MHz.
  • Hard Drive: 512GB PCIe SSD.
  • Price: 2258.

Asus ROG Strix Hero laptops are well-renowned among the professional gamers and power users for its powerful performance and excellent thermal efficiency. This laptop features high quality CPU and GPU, which makes it capable of most of games. In addition, this laptop allows you to upgrade its RAM and hard drive.

This post introduces Acer and Asus, and recommends suitable Acer and Asus series to you for daily use.

HP Omen 17t Gaming Laptop

HP Omen series laptops have acquired a lot of fame among the professional gamers. Its laptops are equipped with powerful hardware and they are designed to deliver the performance to accomplish anything. Similarly, this laptop allows you to upgrade its RAM and hard drive.

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 FHD 1080P Touchscreen Laptop

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U Processor (1.8 GHz base frequency, up to 4.6 GHz, 4 cores, 8M Cache).
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 (integrated).
  • RAM: 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB DDR4.
  • Hard Drive: 256GB SSD, 256GB SSD 1TB HDD, 2TB SSD 1TB HDD.
  • Price: Start at 899.

The Dell Inspiron 15 is ideal for home or office users. It has the ability to use a touch screen which can come in incredibly handy if you want to lie down and work on the couch. Besides, the i7-8565U processor can offer good performance now and in the next few years, although it can’t be replaced. Of course, you can also upgrade this laptop’s RAM and hard drive as your will.

This post introduces 3 laptop brands: Dell, HP, and Lenovo. It also tells you how to choose from them.

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop

  • CPU: 9th Generation Intel Core i5-9300H Processor (Up to 4. 1GHz).
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics 4GB (Dedicated).
  • RAM: 8GB DDR4 2666MHz.
  • Hard Drive: 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD (2 x PCIe M. 2 Slots – 1 Slot Open for Easy Upgrades) 1 x Available Hard Drive Bay.
  • Price: 687.99.

The Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-5812 is also a gaming laptop, although its CPU and GPU are not at the top level. This laptop allows RAM and hard drive upgrades, and its GPU still has a strong performance these days. With this GPU, you can run most games, but the game performance may not be optimized.

Tips on Laptop Upgrade

In general, laptop upgrade is always related to laptop disassembly. In this case, I recommend you to clone computer lest you do something wrong when disassembling and assembling the laptop. Cloning computer can help you recover data and system if there is something wrong.

As for computer cloning software, I recommend MiniTool Partition Wizard to you. This software is versed in disk management. Here is the tutorial:

Step 1: Click the above button to buy MiniTool Partition Wizard. Launch this tool and go to its main interface. Right click the system disk and choose Copy from the context menu (if you use this feature to clone a non-system disk, it is free).

Step 2: Follow the wizard to choose a destination disk (an external disk is recommended). Please note that the data on the destination disk will be destroyed. Then, review changes and click Next button.

Step 3: Click the Apply button to execute pending operations.

Then, you can upgrade the laptop. If the laptop goes wrong after you assembling it, you can boot it from the external hard drive and copy the system and data back to the system disk. In this way, you may rescue your laptop.

Hard drive cloning software helps us clone hard drives for hard drive upgrade or data loss prevention. Learn how to clone a hard drive easily.

Bottom Line

Does this post solve your problem? If you still have questions about upgradeable laptops, please leave a comment below and I will answer these questions in the next update. Besides, if you know other good upgradeable laptops (modular laptops or those whose CPU and GPU are removable), please share them with us. I will appreciate that.

Finally, if you have difficulty in cloning disk, migrating OS, or managing disk and partition, please contact us via support@minitool.com. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

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Upgradeable Laptops FAQ

This depends on the packaging method. If the CPU on the laptop uses PGA packaging method, this CPU can be upgraded. If the CPU uses BGA packaging method, it can’t be upgraded. To check the CPU’s packaging method, here are two ways for you:

  • Use CPU-Z.
  • If it is an Intel CPU, you can check that through its serial number. Intel CPU models with M letter at the end of the name are generally in PGA packages, while others are in BGA packages. In addition, since the 4th generation, CPUs with M letter (using PGA) have never been seen again.

When it comes to upgrade old laptop, it usually refers to upgrade to a better CPU and GPU, add more RAM, and upgrade from HDD to SSD or to a larger hard drive. If so, you can get guide from this post: What Should I Upgrade on My PC – A Complete PC Upgrade Guide.

Yes, they are. There are many upgradeable gaming laptops, such as Alienware Area 51M gaming laptop, Asus ROG Strix Hero III gaming laptop (this laptop’s GPU and CPU is not upgradeable), etc.

About The Author

Linda has been working as an editor at MiniTool for 5 years. She is always curious about computer knowledge and learns it crazily. Her articles are simple and easy to understand. Even people who do not understand computer can gain something. By the way, her special focuses are disk management, data recovery and PDF editing.

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FIX: New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted or fTPM NV structure changed in Windows 10/11.

This tutorial contains instructions on how to fix the error New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted or fTPM NV structure changed on a Windows 10/11 desktop or laptop PC.

The problem: Suddenly, either after updating the BIOS or after changing/upgrading an AMD CPU, the system hangs and the following message appears on the screen:

New CPU installed. fTPM/PSP NV corrupted or fTPM/PSP NV structure changed.

Press Y to reset fTPM. If you have Bitlocker or encryption enabled, the system will not boot without a recovery key.

Press N to keep previous fTPM record and continue system boot. fTPM will NOT enable in new CPU, you can swap back to the old CPU to recover TPM related keys and data

How to FIX: New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted or fTPM NV structure changed.

As I said above, the message New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted or fTPM NV structure changed can appear either suddenly or if a major change is made to the computer. (BIOS/CPU upgrade).

The error fTPM NV structure corrupted or changed, usually affects Windows 10/11 computers that use the fTPM module, which is built into AMD CPUs, to encrypt the system drive using the BitLocker encryption mechanism, but in some cases it can also occur on computers that do not have BitLocker enabled.

So, to fix the problem proceed according to your case and read the instructions below carefully.

Case A. FIX ‘New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted/changed’ on brand new PCs (Without OS).

If you have built or bought a new computer/laptop without an operating system, and you see the message fTPM corrupted-structure changed, then press the Y key to reset the fTPM and continue to Windows installation.

Notes: 1. To avoid the message reappear in the future, enter in BIOS setup and disable the fTPM in one of the following locations, according your motherboard manufacturer:

  • Asrock: CPU Configuration AMD fTPM Switch Disable
  • Gigabyte: Advanced Mode Settings Miscellaneous (or “Peripherals) AMD CPU fTPM set to Disabled.
  • MSI: Advanced Trusted Computing Security Device Support: Disable

If the fTPM is already disabled in BIOS but you still receive the same message, proceed and disable also the Secure Boot. Then if the problem persists, check if there is available a new BIOS update to apply.

Case B. FIX ‘New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted/changed’ on Windows 10/11.

If you face the fTPM NV corrupted or changed error on your Windows 10/11 based computer, suddenly, or after updating the BIOS or the CPU, proceed as follows:

A. If you’re not using BitLocker on your system, press Y to reset the fTPM and to continue to Windows boot. Normally, the system will boot to Windows without any problem. At this case you’re done here, but if you face the same message in the future, read the notes in case-a above and disable the fTPM in BIOS.

B. If you’re using BitLocker, or if you don’t know if the BitLocker encryption is enabled or not on your system:

Press the N key and check if you can login to Windows using your PIN. If the PIN fails, try to login using your Password. 2. Now depending on whether you manage to get into Windows or not, proceed to the respective part below:

Part 1. Successful Login to Windows.

Part 2. Unsuccessful Login or Windows Fail to Boot.

Part 1. Successful Login to Windows.

If after pressing the N key at the New CPU installed/fTPM corrupted message, you can login to Windows without a problem, proceed and check if the BitLocker is enabled on your system, or not. To do that:

Open Command Prompt as Administrator and give the following command:

Now according the BitLocker status (Lock Status):

If the Protection if OFF and the drive is unlocked/decrypted, then restart your PC, press Y at the ‘New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted’ prompt and you’re done!

Note: if you face the same message in the future, read the notes in Case A above and disable the fTPM in BIOS.

If the Protection is ON, then you’re using the BitLocker encryption on your system. At that case proceed to disable BitLocker and decrypt the drive, with this command:

Note: The above command will disable the BitLocker encryption on the drive C:. Replace the drive letter C, to decrypt any other drive if encrypted. (e.g. to decrypt the drive D: the command will be: manage-bde D:.off.)

Now wait the decryption to complete. To see the progress of decryption, close the command prompt window, and open the Decryption status icon on the taskbar.

lenovo, laptop, upgrade, installed, ftpm, corrupted

When the decryption is completed, restart your PC and if you receive again the message fTPM NV corrupted or fTPM NV structure changed, press the Y key to reset the fTPM and continue your work.

Notes: 1. If you want to use the BitLocker encryption on your system, then your can re-decrypt the drive after resetting the fTPM keys. 2. If you don’t want to use BitLocker and to avoid the problem reappearing again in the future, read the notes in Case A above and disable the fTPM.

Part 2. Unsuccessful Login or Windows Fail to Boot.

If after pressing the N key, you cannot login to Windows using your PIN or Password, or if Windows won’t start, proceed to disable the BitLocker protection from the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). To do that, use the steps below:

Requirement: The BitLocker Recovery key.

In order to disable the BitLocker protection, you must own the BitLocker recovery key. If you don’t have the BitLocker key, try to find it in one of the following locations:

  • On a printout which was saved the BitLocker key, during the activation of BitLocker on your system.
  • On a USB flash drive which was saved the BitLocker key, during the activation of BitLocker on your system.
  • On your Microsoft Account’s recovery key page.
  • On your Azure Account if you sign in with an Azure Active Directory account.

Note: If you own a Windows 10/11 PC and you have added a Microsoft account (MSA) on you device, for any reason (e.g. if you use an MSA account to logon to Windows 10, or to download Apps from the Microsoft Store, or to get your emails, or to activate Microsoft Office), then from another device with Internet access, sign in with that Microsoft Account at Microsoft’s Bitlocker Recover Key webpage to get the Recovery key for your device.

Step 1. Enter in Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).

Open Command Prompt in WinRE using one of the methods below (and then continue to step-2) :

Automatic Repair: If you see the below screen on your PC, click Advanced Options, and then select Troubleshoot Command Prompt.

Force your PC to boot into WinRE: Restart your computer and when the manufacturer’s logo appears, hold down the power button for 5 seconds to turn off the computer. Once it shuts down, turn it on again. Repeat this process 3-4 times and then wait for the Automatic Repair screen to appear. When this done, click Advanced Options and then Troubleshoot Command Prompt.

Boot to WinRE from a Windows Installation media: If you cannot enter to WinRE with one of the above ways, then:

Note: If you don’t own a Windows installation media, then from another PC, create a Windows 10 installation media on an empty USB drive (at least 8GB).

Plug a USB Windows Installation Media on the PC.

Power on the affected computer, press N at the prompt New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted or fTPM NV structure changed and boot from the USB Windows Installation media.

Click Next at the first screen and then click Repair your Computer Troubleshoot Command Prompt.

Step 2. Disable BitLocker Protection from WinRE.

After launching the command prompt in WinRE, give the following command and notice the drive letter of the encrypted drive:

Note: If the drive is not encrypted (Unlocked), skip the rest steps, restart your PC and press Y at New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted or fTPM NV structure changed prompt. Then continue your work and optionally disable the fTPM in BIOS, to prevent the error to reoccur in the future. (See the notes in Case A above )

After noticing which drive is encrypted (Locked), give the following command to unlock it:

Now, give this command to decrypt the encrypted drive:

Now wait the decryption to complete. To check the status of the description, give the following command again:

When you see that the drive is fully decrypted (Protection Status=OFF, Lock Status=Unlocked), proceed to next step.

Important Note: If the BitLocker is enabled to more than one drives, you must disable it to all of them.

After disabling BitLocker, close the command prompt window and restart your PC.

Press the Y key at the New CPU installed. fTPM NV corrupted or fTPM NV structure changed prompt to reset the fTPM keys and continue to Windows boot.

Notes: 1. If you want to use the BitLocker encryption on your system, then your can re-decrypt the drive after resetting the fTPM keys. 2. If you don’t want to use BitLocker and to avoid the problem reappearing again in the future, read the notes in Case A above and disable the fTPM.

That’s it! Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.

Lenovo Thinkpad T420s after 5 years of use

Sometimes there is a beauty in the wear and tear that shows on heavily used equipment. I think this is true for my trusty ol’ Thinkpad T420s. Here’s a couple of pictures of its current state and a recap of my experiences with the machine, good and bad.

A true workhorse

I bought the laptop from new in 2013 and have been using it non stop since then for my working and personal computing needs. It has been transported countless times between work and home in a bag without any protection of a sleeve. At work I drop it into a docking station and use it with a dual screen, keyboard and mouse setup. At home I generally use it as a laptop.

I’m very impressed with the reliability and workhorse performance of this machine. Not a single time have I had a blue screen of death or any serious hardware malfunction. It just keep on going and going without issues. The true definition of a workhorse.

The metal letters in the Lenovo logo started falling off, so I decided to remove all of them for a more consistent look.

The metal alloy body shows where the rubberized skin has worn off

It has developed a few issues though. The fan sometimes emit a screeching sound the first 5. 10 seconds after boot, but after that it works fine. The main battery has seen better days as well. But issues like this are to be expected in an old laptop and could be fixed by replacing a few parts.

Main weaknesses

  • Poor heat management. The CPU (an Intel Core i5-2520M) might climb to more than 90 degrees C if pushed hard and then it will start throttling the frequency. I have punished the CPU with ~90 degrees temperatures scarily often, but it doesn’t seem to have done any harm.
  • The hardware management of the fan speed doesn’t seem to work very well in any OS. I had to install custom fan speed control applications in both Linux and Windows to make it spin up and down properly according to the CPU temperature.
  • Weak main battery. The battery was never very strong. To preserve its limited capacity as best as possible, I configured it to stop charging at 80%, but it has still deteriorated significantly after 5 years.
  • Poor screen. The built-in screen is pretty crappy regarding colors and viewing angles and there are big bezels around it. But it has always been functional and has done its job.

Main strong points

  • Unbeatable reliability
  • Robust docking station options
  • Great set of ports
  • Acceptable performance still today
  • Best in class keyboard and navigating device


The machine has been upgraded a bit over the years. I swapped the original 128 GB SSD with a Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB. The optical drive bay now carries an extra battery and I’ve added 4 GB of RAM so it’s at 8 GB. These days it seems that 4 GB of ram is an impossibility with Windows 7. Having just slack, dropbox and a browser open will easily push the machine past 4 GB of ram usage. Linux is way more modest and could have been running perfectly with 4 GB.

I vehemently resisted the Windows 10 upgrade Microsoft was pushing, because I had tons of specialized software installed that I depend on professionally and I was generally happy with the performance of Windows 7. So it seemed there would be a lot to loose and little to gain from the upgrade. I’ll plunge into Windows 10 when I buy a new machine, thank you very much.

Early on, I changed the keyboard part from Danish to US layout, and I remapped Caps lock to be Ctrl in both Windows and Linux. As I do a lot of coding with curly bracket languages, the US layout is clearly superior in my opinion and not having to twist the wrist to reach Ctrl is a winner.

T420s keyboard showing the wear of 5 years of use: It is still my favorite keyboard layout for a Laptop.

An aging Thinkpad showing a picture of its younger self:

Next machine?

I’m most likely going for a T470 as my next workhorse. Without the s. It seems to have the right balance of expandability and portability for me. I’ll probably get it with the touch screen and a ~500 GB SSD. The brand new T480 series doesn’t seem to bring much of an advantage over the T470.

I hope you enjoyed this content!

Upgrading your PC’s hardware for Windows 11

I’m both a cheap geek and a realistic one. There are some hardware upgrades that I will gladly do — upgrades such as ensuring that all hard drives in any computer I have are SSDs rather than IDE hard drives. Especially with Windows 10, it’s a no-brainer: an SSD makes any wheezy computer snappier.

I’ve even upgraded a server to include a TPM module. Typically the hard part is finding the right part that you need and then finding a picture (or ideally a video) showing exactly where the TPM module is plugged into the motherboard.

But upgrading a processor? That’s where I draw the line. I have slathered on too much CPU thermal paste to feel comfortable in taking an existing processor out of a computer and upgrading it.

So why am I worrying about upgrading hardware? Because of the recommended hardware mandated with the upcoming Windows 11 rollout near the end of the year — requirements that include a 64-bit processor with 2 cores and a speed of at least 1GHz, as well as a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0. (Find out how to use the Windows 11 requirements checker.)

To be clear, Windows 10 will be supported with updates until 2025, so there is no need to panic now. Rather, it’s a time to determine which computers can be updated to Windows 11 when it comes out at the end of the year and which ones should be left at Windows 10.

Upgrading to TPM 2.0

But let’s start with the basics. You may need to do some research on your computer or motherboard to see if it shipped with a TPM chip or can support it. Start by clicking in the Windows search box and typing in tpm.msc. If you have a TPM chip on the motherboard and it’s enabled in the BIOS, then the resulting screen will show you if you have TPM 1.2 or 2.0. Updating your computer to support TPM 2 may be only a boot away, or it may be more complicated.

But first you have to ask yourself if you’ve encrypted your hard drive with a third-party encryption tool or with BitLocker. If you have, you’ll have to unencrypt the hard drive and re-encrypt it after the firmware upgrading process. This may take time. Going by my experience with unencrypting a BitLockered drive, be prepared to start it overnight and wait until the process has fully completed.

On my Lenovo ThinkPad laptop, I was able to easily flip from TPM 1.2 to 2.0 by booting into the BIOS, finding the section in the BIOS settings — usually in security — and then changing the setting from TPM 1.2 to 2.0. A sample video on the process can be found on YouTube. For my HP desktop at the office, the process was a bit more complicated, as I had to find the exact firmware update to upgrade the computer from TPM 1.2 to 2.0. I originally attempted to use HP’s TPM Configuration Utility but found a more exact match for my motherboard by reading this HP support document. For Dell, you can follow the company’s documentation or YouTube video. If it’s been done successfully, your TPM module will now indicate that you’ve upgraded from 1.2 to 2.0.

Upgrading the processor

But now you will find that the real block in running Windows 11 successfully is not the TPM chip — even though that is important — but the processor. Unless you already have an Intel Generation 8 (or equivalent in the AMD family) or unless Microsoft backs down on its processor requirements, you won’t be able to run Windows 11.

Researching my computers and which Intel chipset they run on made me realize that some of my Core i5-based PCs are older than I had remembered. While I was a bit concerned that so many computers I control won’t be able to upgrade to Windows 11 with their current processors, it was a useful wakeup call to the fact that I have a lot of older equipment in my fleet.

While you can upgrade a processor after researching which ones your existing motherboard can support, the ease of doing so will depend on the kind of computer you have. I’ve found that if I’ve built a computer from scratch, buying the motherboard, the graphics card, the processor, and the case separately, I can often find a newer processor that the motherboard will support, or I can opt to upgrade the motherboard as well. In the good old days that usually meant a trip to Fry’s Electronics, but those days are over now that Fry’s has gone out of business. Nowadays upgrading is a bit harder, especially in cases where I’ve purchased refurbished business desktop machines rather than starting from scratch.

The only computer I have that will support Windows 11 is my recently purchased Surface Pro 7. But whenever I purchase Surface devices these days, I don’t purchase them up front. Instead I sign up for the Surface All Access for Business plan that allows me to purchase them over time for 0% interest, and then when I get near the end of the term, I can turn in the device and get a newer one. Because Surface devices are extremely hard to open and service (I never have managed to pry open the Surface RT from years ago that had a battery die and was never able to be charged up again), I look to ways that allow me to swap them out for new equipment after several years. While this program is set up for businesses only, other computer vendors may provide similar offerings for lightweight laptops that cannot be easily upgraded.

Should you bother?

Of course, you’ll probably ask me if you really need to upgrade to Windows 11. If you think your computer has four more years of good, solid life in it, then the answer is no. Windows 10 will be fully supported for the next four years, and knowing Microsoft, if enough of us are still running Windows 10 at the end of these four years (we will, trust me), then the company will come up with some sort of extended patching program.

Bottom line: evaluate your computers. See which ones can make the cut for Windows 11, and those that can’t. And then relax, because Microsoft has just started the beta process for Windows 11, and Windows 10 has a lot of life still left in it.

If you have any lingering questions, we’ve got plenty of answers over at Askwoody.com and here on Computerworld.

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