Microsoft: VM requirements for running Windows 11 are the same as physical PCs – except we won't check them

Microsoft emitted a fresh build of Windows 11 last night and piled on the woe for customers hoping that virtual machines might be their way out of the hardware compatibility hole.

Despite Microsoft's efforts to distract users by showing off its updates to the Photos app (now rolling out to users in the Windows Insider Dev Channel), the alarming warning that "this build includes a change that aligns the enforcement of the Windows 11 system requirements on Virtual Machines (VMs) to be the same as it is for physical PCs" was the main news for many testers.

Microsoft's own minimum hardware requirements document (at the time of writing) states [PDF]: "Windows 11 does not apply the hardware-compliance check for virtualized instances either during setup or upgrade."

It added, "if the virtualized environment is provisioned such that it does not meet the minimum requirements, this will have an impact to aspects of the user experience when running the OS in the virtualized environment." That's quite a jump from enforcing the requirements in the VM to be the same as physical PCs.

To add to the confusion, Microsoft also said that Hyper-V VMs need to be Generation 2 VMs, although VMs running in products from other vendors like VMware and Oracle "will continue to work as long as the hardware requirements are met."

As for what those VM hardware requirements are – who knows? For Dev Channel Insiders, they appear to be the same as physical PCs, going by yesterday's blog. Although Microsoft's own set of requirements clearly states the hardware check isn't done in the VM world.

The Register asked Microsoft to clarify this unnecessarily messy situation, and will update should the IT giant respond.

In the meantime, as well as the whizzy new Photos app, with improvements to editing and viewing, the Dev Channel build (version 22458) was more notable for its known issues, including bug checks for Surface Pro X users and a mystery DRIVER_PNP_WATCHDOG error when attempting to update to a recent build.

The mega-corp also released build 22000.194 to its Beta Channel as well as commercial PCs in the Release Preview Channel. Along with updates to apps that few users have asked for, Microsoft warned of continuing issues with the new Start Menu and Taskbar and an ongoing bug check issue for Surface Pro X devices.

Plenty of time to fix and test stuff though. After all, it's not as if the release of Windows 11 is a month away, right? No – it's actually less than three weeks away. ®