Windows 11 runs on PC with ancient single-core Intel Pentium 4 CPU

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Windows 11 may have system requirements that have ruled out even relatively modern PCs, but the OS can actually run on computers powered by a single-core Intel Pentium 4 (Cedar Mill) processor that is 15 years old.

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This rather shocking feat was achieved by ‘Carlos SM’, who tweeted about it and then shared a video showing how the ancient system worked, as seen by PC Mag.

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As you can see, the full spec of the PC includes an Intel Pentium 4 661 (1-core, 2-thread) CPU in an Asus P5Q (LGA 775) motherboard, with 4GB of DDR2 RAM (at 800MHz) and an Nvidia is included. GeForce GT 710 graphics card. There’s a 120GB SSD for storage (Carlos also provides CPU-Z verification of the system).

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That hardware was good enough for Carlos to install Windows 11, going down the route of using the Windows 10 PE Installer, noting that “Windows 11 is installed in MBR/Legacy boot mode, no EFI Emulation is not included”.

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Carlos further observes that Windows Update works fine on PC, and he installed the most recent Patch Tuesday cumulative update for Windows 11 without any problems. That said, as you might expect, Microsoft’s OS is at times slow to run on this hardware configuration.


Analysis: New OS, Older Machines – But Not Without Risk

It’s quite an eye-opener to see how low-powered a PC can get and still run Windows 11, especially considering that the hard floor of system requirements calls for a dual-core CPU, not a dual-core CPU. That single-core model as used here.

The big hurdle for many machines is the TPM 2.0 prerequisite, which Microsoft has implemented for security reasons (as well as Secure Boot), and surprisingly this venerable PC has neither. As we’ve seen, though, and even wrote a guide about ourselves, it’s possible to upgrade to Windows 11 on a non-TPM machine with a workaround known by Microsoft.

But even so, the software giant strongly cautions against doing so, suggesting that it may lead to ‘device malfunction’ or even ‘damage’, and that you are not guaranteed to get updates (but as Carlos turns out to be, you can have them) – at least for now).

Clearly, though, this is an odd situation where it’s possible to install Windows 11 on a PC that has an unsupported single-core CPU using an unofficial method, and yet you don’t have the official installation on the PC. Maybe with a processor from Intel’s 7th-gen range that came out only five years ago. Carlos too Tweets Note that this Pentium CPU is also not the oldest with which you can boot Windows 11 as well.

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