New Windows 11 24H2 Hardware Requirement: SSE 4.2 Explained

Image of a person using Windows 11 device

When Microsoft introduced Windows 11 with new system requirements, it caused a headache for many users, considering they were unable to update to the new OS. Fast forward to 2024, Microsoft continues to refine and adjust the requirements for successive versions of Windows 11, further limiting accessibility. Keeping pace with this trend, the upcoming release of Windows 11 24H2, slated for late 2024, introduces a new requirement, i.e., processors lacking support for the SSE 4.2 instruction set will be incapable of booting Windows 11. Here is everything you need to know about it.

What is this requirement? What does it mean for users?

As discovered by Bob Pony, the new Windows 11 24H2 requirement, although similar to the POPCNT instruction set limitation, is a lot different. Previously, only the POPCNT instruction set was necessary for booting Windows 11. However, with version 24H2, the entire SSE 4.2 instruction set becomes mandatory as well.

To put things into perspective, SSE 4.2, or Streaming SIMD Extensions CPU instruction set, enhances performance in mathematical and multimedia tasks by performing simultaneous operations on two operands.

Given that SSE 4.2 first debuted in 2008 for Intel chips and in 2011 for AMD chips, most users who installed Windows 11 through official channels will not encounter compatibility issues. However, this requirement signifies the end of support for modders and users running Windows 11 on older systems, as there is presently no workaround available.

How to check if your system is compatible?

As mentioned above, this requirement shouldn’t be an issue for most Windows 11 users. However, if you have installed the OS on older processors, including AMD’s Barcelona chips, you should check the compatibility using Bob Pony’s tester application. To do this:

  1. Download the Windows 11 tester application [here] onto your PC or laptop.
  2. Install and launch the application.
  3. Use the application to determine if your system supports Windows 11 version 24H2.
Screenshot of the Windows 11 22H2 testing application
Image: Bob Perry

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