How-To Surface

How to install Windows 11 on an unsupported Surface device

So you own a Surface device that didn’t make the list of supported Windows 11 devices, but you still want to take advantage of the new Windows 11 features. Hope is not lost. Although your device may not be offered the Windows 11 upgrade, you can still upgrade with a little tweaking. Here’s how.

Before we start

Microsoft is taking an unusually strict stance when it comes to Windows 11 running on unsupported devices. Doing so comes with risks and consequences. So here comes the bold red text.

DISCLAIMER: By forcing the upgrade, your PC will no longer be supported by Microsoft and it will not be entitled to receive updates, including critical security updates. Compatibility issues may also arise that could cause damage to your device. If your device is still under warranty, it will be voided.

My advice; don’t do this on your primary machine.

What you’ll need

If you do decide to proceed, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A Surface device running Windows 10
  • The Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO) file

Bypass compatibility checks

Click to enlarge

Before starting the installation procedure, you’ll need to bypass the compatibility checks that will block your Surface device from upgrading to Windows 11. This will either be due to its unsupported CPU or lack of TPM. To bypass the checks, follow the steps below:

Step 1: In Windows 10, press Start and type “Regedit”. Open the Registry Editor.

Step 2: On the left navigation panel, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\SETUP\MoSetup

Step 3: On the right pane, right-click an open area and select New, then DWORD (32-bit) Value.

Step 4: Rename New Value #1 to AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMOrCPU, and hit enter.

Step 5: Double-click the newly created DWORD and change its Value Data from 0 to 1. Hit Ok.

Upgrade to Windows 11

Step 1: Head over to Microsoft’s website and click the Download button under Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO). When asked, select the same product language that you are currently using on your Surface device. Note that this is a large download (5GB+) so make sure you have enough storage space on your Surface to store it.

Step 2: Once downloaded, double-click the ISO file to automatically mount and open it.

Step 3: Run setup.exe and follow the instructions to install Windows 11. You will eventually reach a “What needs your attention” screen with a disclaimer warning about the consequences of performing the upgrade on unsupported devices. Read it carefully. If you’re ok with the risks, hit Accept and proceed with the install.

In Windows 11

A few restarts later and you’ll be in Windows 11. The first thing you’ll want to do is head to the Settings app and make sure to check for any new Windows Updates. You’ll also want to launch the Store app and check for updates as well. There should be a whole bunch of newly redesigned apps waiting for you.

Check out The Surface Guide’s Windows 11 review to learn about what the new OS brings to the *ahem* surface.

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