Loading Windows 11 into virtual machines will not be as straightforward as in previous versions of Windows as it will require the computer to meet the same hardware requirements as for physical machines.
The minimum hardware requirements of Windows 11 continue to be talked about and what we have left… Especially the obligation to comply with the TPM 2.0 security module and the secure boot function that not all computers have. If until now it was only applied to physical machines, Microsoft has extended it to virtual machines, surprisingly, which has left some testers out of the game and specifically those who use Oracle’s VirtualBox client.
Windows 11 in virtual machines: problems
The official hardware requirements document for Windows 11 published by Microsoft in the operating system announcement specifically stated that the hardware compliance check would not be applied for virtualized instances either during installation or during upgrade.
Now, a couple of weeks after the release of the final version, Microsoft changes them again from the version Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22458
“ This build includes a change that aligns the application of Windows 11 requirements on virtual machines (VMs) to be the same as on physical PCs. Previously created VMs running Insider Preview builds will not be able to update to the latest preview builds. On Hyper-V, virtual machines must be created as a Gen 2 virtual machine. Running Windows 11 in virtual machines on other virtualization products from vendors such as VMware and Oracle will continue to work as long as the hardware requirements are met.
The result is that if you try to update an existing virtual machine (or create a new one with the latest build) in the Oracle VirtualBox client you will get an error message and you will not be able to do it :
Oracle claims to be working on a driver that will allow a host’s TPM to pass to the guest in order to run Windows 11, as it does not currently support this feature. Other clients such as VMWare Workstation, Parallels or the Hyper-V that includes the professional versions of the system, do support the passage through the TPM and the secure boot, but in all cases they must meet all the requirements and not only the TPM 2.0 or safe boot, but also disk space, something critical in virtual machines.
Windows 11 requirements: controversial
We cannot criticize Microsoft for demanding the same requirements in physical machines as in VMs and trying to improve the security of the equipment, its performance or compatibility, but the truth is that it represents an important limitation to load Windows 11 in virtual machines, a method very interesting as a software test without having to touch the main system acting as host. What is controversial beyond the level of the requirements is Microsoft’s new course change two weeks after the launch of the final version.
And it is not the first since the introduction of the system. Remember that despite the apparent “inflexibility” of Microsoft, Windows 11 can be installed on almost any PC that does not meet the official requirements through clean installations with ISO images. Microsoft will block the update via Windows Update for version updates or for the jump from operating systems such as Windows 10.
PCs not compliant with official requirements, but where Windows 11 has been installed, may also have no system-level updates, including critical security fixes from Windows Update or new drivers. All this has not been finalized yet and surely we will not know until the launch of the final version. A state of confusion like everyone else who has surrounded the hardware requirements since their announcement.