Dell Precision / Windows 11 information

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by Aaron44126, Jul 7, 2021.

  1. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    I expect that the information provided below will change prior to Windows 11's release, and I will update this post accordingly. I decided to go ahead and get this out there because I've seen Windows 11 questions popping up in some of the individual system threads. Makes sense to have it all in one spot for now.


    The purpose of this thread is to discuss what is needed to get Windows 11 running on Precision mobile workstations, with an emphasis on systems released before 2018, which Microsoft is not officially supporting.

    Windows 11 is currently available in "preview" form only. At present, Microsoft is offering Windows 11 on the "dev channel" for Windows Insiders. "Beta channel" and "release preview channel" are still on Windows 10.

    Microsoft promotional material has hinted at an October 20 launch date for Windows 11. Update 8/31: Microsoft has given a final release date of October 5 for Windows 11. The launch will start with new PCs releasing late in the year. Existing PCs won't be offered the upgrade through Windows Update right away; they will start offering it to new PCs only and broaden eligibility gradually through mid-2022.

    "Go-getters" will be able to go and download the install media and perform an upgrade on their own at any time after the official launch. Windows 11 is a free upgrade over Windows 10, and the current "preview" version is accepting old Windows product keys for activation going all the way back to Windows 7.

    (It appears that the current preview version, build 22000, is the final/RTM version. Between now and launch, they will just be issuing cumulative update packages through Windows Update to fix issues. Features currently missing like Windows Subsystem for Android will presumably become available via a separate download package of some sort.)

    Microsoft has posted system requirements for Windows 11. Most systems will easily meet these requirements, but there are two big ones which will be trouble for many users:
    * A "compatible 64-bit processor" means anything older than Intel's 8th generation is not supported. Microsoft has indicated that they are evaluating different CPUs and might extend support back to the 7th generation, but no further back than that. (Update 8/27: Microsoft will not be officially supporting the 7th-generation CPUs found in Precision mobile systems.)
    * Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0. (You can check your TPM version by looking in Device Manager under "Security devices".)


    Which Precision mobile workstations are supported?

    Dell Precision workstations released in 2018 or later have 8th generation CPUs. That is Precision 3530, 5530, 7530, and 7730. These systems also have TPM 2.0. These models and any successor models should meet the requirements for Windows 11 easily.

    If Microsoft extends support back to 7th generation CPUs, the Precision systems released in 2017 (Precision 3520, 5520, 7520, and 7720) would also qualify, if they have a 7th-generation CPU. (These systems were offered with both 6th- and 7th-generation CPUs as a choice, because Windows 7 was still in support at the time but Microsoft cut off Windows 7 support for CPUs newer than 6th-gen.) These systems may need the Dell TPM 2.0 firmware update. (Update 8/27: Microsoft will not be officially supporting the 7th-generation CPUs found in Precision mobile systems.)


    What about systems that do not meet the requirements?

    Microsoft would recommend that you do not attempt to install Windows 11 and stick with Windows 10, which will still receive security updates until October 14, 2025.

    CPU requirement
    There is no option to upgrade a system from an unsupported CPU to a supported CPU. A motherboard swap would be required, and while some systems can be upgraded one generation if the chassis is compatible, the first 8th-generation system (Precision 7X30) came with a chassis refresh.

    TPM requirement
    Precision 3510, 5510, 7510, and 7710 also qualify for the TPM 2.0 firmware update. Older systems have TPM 1.2, going all of the way back to the Precision M65 (released in 2005). Microsoft previously noted in the requirements that the TPM 2.0 requirement is a "soft floor" and TPM 1.2 is the "hard floor"; however, this note has been removed.


    Validity of the system requirements

    This is my personal opinion here...
    You can take these requirements and throw them in the trash. Nearly all systems that can run Windows 10 will be able to run Windows 11 without issue.

    Microsoft posted a clarification on the requirements and the reason for setting the bar high for CPU and TPM support is for security, not for performance. They are also preferring newer systems which have DCH drivers for "reliability" reasons.

    At present, the TPM requirement has a trivial workaround and the CPU requirement is not enforced at all. Furthermore, Microsoft is formally waiving both requirements for installation into a VM, which means that they do expect it to work with older CPUs.

    I've been reading reports on users who have upgraded old systems and I haven't seen any major issues popping up. Systems with older CPUs or without TPM support will miss out on some security features (...which is already the case with Windows 10) but should otherwise be fully functional. Of course, these systems will remain "unsupported" by Microsoft, so there could be issues yet to be discovered that will go unfixed, or new issues that pop up later. So it's basically a "try it at your own risk" situation, but I think that the risk is pretty low.


    How to install or upgrade to Windows 11

    The currently supported way to install Windows 11 is to join the Windows Insider Program and install the current Windows 11 preview build. This can be done via Windows Update, or you can download an ISO file from here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windowsinsiderpreviewiso

    You should join the Insider Preview program on the beta channel. The dev channel has advanced to builds higher than the Windows 11 final release.

    Systems that meet the system requirements

    The preferred approach according to Microsoft would be to wait until Windows 11 is offered to your system via Windows Update, and upgrade at that time. However, you can upgrade early by joining the Windows Insider Program and installing the current preview build, or by downloading the installation media once it becomes available.

    Systems that do not meet the system requirements

    Currently, there is no difference. Microsoft is allowing Windows Insiders to upgrade through Windows Update even if they do not meet the system requirements. Update 9/1: Microsoft has started booting systems that do not meet the "official" requirements out of the Windows 11 insider program, and recommending that the PCs go back to Windows 10. Unsupported systems running Windows 11 will continue to receive updates until Windows 11 is finalized on October 5. (Not clear what will happen after that, yet.) It may not be possible to upgrade to Windows 11 through the Windows insider program if your PC does not have an 8th-gen CPU or better. You can still upgrade using the ISO media.

    After launch, Windows 11 will not be offered to systems that do not meet the system requirement through Windows Update. You will have to upgrade using the downloadable installation media.

    Upgrading a system that does not meet the system requirements will also possibly put you in a position where future Windows 11 feature upgrades will not come down through Windows Update either, meaning they would have to be installed manually as well (with installation media). These will be released yearly, in the fall.

    To upgrade an unsupported system with the installation media, just download the ISO media and start the install just like you would with prior versions of Windows, taking into account the necessary workarounds:

    CPU requirement workaround — Currently unnecessary; Microsoft is not enforcing the CPU requirement. I suspect that they will enforce it only at Windows Update and not in the install media, but we will see. Update 8/27: It looks like they are not going to implement a CPU check for install/upgrade from ISO media... It will just be implemented for upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10 via Windows Update.

    TPM requirement workaround — If the installer blocks you because of lack of a TPM module, a registry change can be made to get around it.
    * Open regedit.
    (For a clean install, proceed until you get blocked, then press Shift+F10 to open the command prompt and then type "regedit"; after completing the steps, hit the "back" button in the installer and try again.)
    * Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup
    * Create a new key called "LabConfig" (no quotes)
    * In this key, create a new value called "BypassTPMCheck" (no quotes) and set the data to 1.
    * You can also create a key called "BypassSecureBootCheck" and set the data to 1 to get around the check for UEFI secure boot. This will be necessary for systems released prior to 2012 (Precision M4700/M6700) which do not support UEFI secure boot.
    * Then, proceed with the install/upgrade like normal.
    Update 8/27: ISO media will accept a TPM 1.2 chip even though the official requirement is TPM 2.0.

    Microsoft has hinted that there may be some sort of "nag" to inform you that your system is in an unsupported state, if you are running Windows 11 on a system that does not meet the "official" requirements.

    Update 8/28: Microsoft "may" be withholding updates (including security updates) for systems that do not meet the system requirements. I personally think this is unlikely, but unless Microsoft offers clarification, we won't know for sure until after Windows 11 is officially released and patches start dropping for it.
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/dell-precision-windows-11-information.836379/#post-11115660
    https://www.theverge.com/2021/8/28/22646035/microsoft-windows-11-iso-workaround-no-update-guarantee
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
  2. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    My early experience on the Precision M6700

    System configuration:
    * CPU: Intel 3rd-gen (Core i7 3820QM)
    * 32GB RAM
    * TPM 1.2
    * UEFI + secure boot enabled
    * GPU: Optimus configuration with Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA Quadro M5000M
    (Actually fails Windows 11's WDDM 2.0 requirement, because Intel HD Graphics 4000 just has a WDDM 1.3 driver.)
    * 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD system drive

    So, I did something crazy and upgraded my home system "production" install to Windows 11, via the Insider program. I'm decided to upgrade earlier than my previous plan (early October) after realizing that Windows 11 has already RTM'ed, in order to just start getting a feel for it before the launch. Comments from engineers indicate that these bits have already been passed along to system vendors for release validation and inclusion on systems shipping this fall, and most of the work that they are doing between now and then is focused on bug fixing and also finishing up the user-facing/UI part of the OS.

    I am not necessarily advocating an early upgrade to Windows 11 for anyone else. This was a temporary upgrade; I did the upgrade in-place, tried out a bunch of programs, poked around with the settings, and then rolled back to Windows 10 after a few hours using the built-in mechanism in Settings.

    The install was no hassle (other than the fact that the initial download through Windows Update took forever). The process was largely the same as a Windows 10 feature upgrade, which means that some stuff got wiped out afterwards like the Task Manager settings.

    The drivers installed before the upgrade were largely the Windows 10 drivers made available by Dell, with the exception of the NVIDIA GPU driver; I'm using a newer version sourced directly from NVIDIA's web site.

    I checked out things/programs that I use which I figured were most likely to have trouble on a whole new Windows version...

    * Dell Feature Enhancement Pack (setting power profile through Windows power settings) = functional
    * BitLocker (using TPM 1.2) = functional
    * Fingerprint reader login w/ Windows Hello = functional
    * Intel graphics driver ("unsupported" WDDM 1.3) = functional
    * NVIDIA GPU driver with modified INF and self-signed catalog = no issues
    * NVIDIA Optimus for gaming (NVIDIA GPU can render to internal display, which is attached to Intel GPU) = appears functional
    * VMware Workstation 16.1.2 = appears functional (with Hyper-V enabled on the host to boot)
    * Visual Studio 2019 = appears functional
    * Microsoft SQL Server 2019 + SSMS = appears functional
    * Adobe Photoshop (2018 32-bit + 2021 64-bit), Lightroom Classic = appears functional
    * Dell Fan Management + BZH SMM I/O driver = appears functional
    * Directory Opus File Explorer replacement = appears functional
    * Open Shell Menu Start Menu replacement = mostly functional, needs some work
    * clink command-line helper = non-functional

    [​IMG]

    Observations:
    * I had an issue with all of my pinned taskbar items being "blank" icons when I logged in for the first time. Clicking each one to open the program up caused the icons to appear and it was good after that, even after multiple reboots.
    * I really do like the new maximize/restore window animations...

    Complaints:
    * During the short time when I was trying it out, on many occasions I had the Alt+Tab UI get stuck. I would hit the Alt+Tab combo to quickly switch to the next most recently used application, and it wouldn't realize that I had let go of the "Alt" key I guess; the interface with the window selection was left up on the screen until I clicked on a window or hit Alt+Tab again. Hopefully this gets cleaned up by release.
    * Don't know who decided to change the radio button style. Now, instead of a "filled in" style to show which one is selected, they have decided to just make the outside border thicker to indicate which is selected. (You can see it in the screen shot, in the Dell Fan Management application.) I can't believe that this was a good accessibility move and I hope that they revert it.
    * I hate the new Start Menu, in my opinion it was definitely not created with power users in mind at all, as it is basically way simpler and less customizable than any previous iteration of the Start Menu. Compared to the Windows 10 Start Menu, free placement of icon/tiles and "subfolders" of pinned icon/tiles have been lost. Since realizing the direction that they are going, I installed Classic Shell to get a more customizable menu, and I am liking it well enough. (I do realize that there's a way to "revert" to the Windows 10 Start Menu, but I'm not interested in doing that because I expect that it won't stick around forever.)
    * The "power slider" that appears when you click on the battery tray icon in Windows 11 isn't present. A post from MS engineering in the Feedback Hub indicates that they aren't planning on adding it back, though it may show up in power options in the Settings app. This was a handy way to quickly enable or disable the CPU's turbo boost. (If you set the max CPU speed to 99% in Windows advanced power options, turbo boost is disabled, unless the power slider is moved all the way to the right.)
    ** Update 7/9: The "power mode" which could be set from the power slider flyout in Windows 10 was added to the Windows 11 power management area in Settings in build 22000.65. So it can be set from there, but it's still not available from the flyout on Windows 11.
    * The registry tweak to show seconds in the system tray clock doesn't work.

    In the end, my complaints are mostly related to the new UI. Nearly everything that I tried to run worked fine and there seemed to be no trouble because my machine doesn't meet the "system requirements". But at the same time, there's nothing in this release that's exciting enough to entice me to upgrade immediately. I'll probably sit on it for a while and hope that some of the complaints are addressed. (There's still going to be a Windows 10, version 21H2 release later this year as well, no word yet on what that is going to look like though. It wouldn't be inconceivable for them to ship it with the same "guts" as Windows 11, just without the new Start and Explorer UI and with some of the new features disabled.)

    If there is anything else in particular that people would like me to check and you don't want to bother getting an instance set up for yourself, I can try to look at it in VMware Workstation, where I have another working Windows 11 Insider install.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2021
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  3. heikkuri

    heikkuri Notebook Enthusiast

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    I just update Dell Precision 7520 to Windows 11 build 22000.65 without any problems from Windows Update even the CPU is unsupported 7th generation.
    I have been many years member of Windows insider program so I did not have to do any special tricks to update unsupported configuration.

    So far all CAD software from Autodesk and Dassault Systèmes seem to be OK. But of course Windows 11 is not suitable for you main PC.
    New start menu is a bit odd but after week it will feel again familiar.
     
  4. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    Replying to a post from the M6700 thread:
    HVCI — Hypervisor-protected code integrity — requires support from all drivers.
    Microsoft has some information: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/design/device-experiences/oem-hvci-enablement
    * It will be enabled by default only on new installs, and only when hardware requirements are met... so it's not actually required to have it enabled.
    * You can disable it if you so choose, either via registry or through the Windows Security Dashboard.
    * This feature is already available on Windows 10, it is just not enabled by default.

    My M6700 is showing four incompatible drivers: the Intel graphics driver and three devices that I don't use often but are connected to my dock: two USB video capture devices, and an SD card reader.

    So, you can use legacy drivers but they may force HVCI off. HVCI is not required for Windows 11 operation.

    All drivers must be signed by Microsoft before Windows will load them, so device makers have to submit the drivers to Microsoft for certification and signing before shipping them out to end users. (Some information about the process.) This isn't a fool-proof process... Microsoft recently signed a malicious rootkit driver, without looking at it carefully enough I suppose. There's talk about making this process more strict for Windows 11 but that would only apply to newly released drivers. When they introduced the "signature from Microsoft" requirement in Windows 10, they implemented a cutover date where drivers dated before the cutover would load — they have to be digitally signed but not necessarily by Microsoft. (The date is part of the digital signature so you can't forge back-dated drivers.) The requirement for Microsoft-signed drivers is trivial to work around and this workaround still works in Windows 11 as of now — I'm using it to load the Dell SMM I/O driver for my fan control software which does not have a Microsoft signature.
     
  5. TheQuentincc

    TheQuentincc Notebook Evangelist

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    I'm using Windows 11 on my Precision 7550 with no issue.
    I downloaded the "iso" from this website : https://uupdump.net/known.php
    It's not a direct iso download, it makes you download and compile the iso from Microsoft source.
     
  6. alexhawker

    alexhawker Spent Gladiator

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    When is EoL for 10? I'll just stick with that on my M4800 most likely.
     
  7. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    Windows 10 will receive security updates through October 2025.
     
  8. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    Maybe I'm alone in this complaint. There are a few users asking about this on Feedback Hub. Doesn't look like Microsoft plans on adding seconds back (via registry tweak, or even in the calendar flyout).
    Came up with this cheesy proof-of-concept "solution" after about an hour or so of work. It's an animated clock for the system tray and it has a seconds hand. I'll edit this post with a GitHub link soon.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
  9. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    Regarding the "official" requirements, Microsoft today added some new CPUs to the list but basically declared that this is the end of the additions. 7th-gen Intel CPUs from the Precision XX20 line are not officially supported. So only Precision XX30 systems (2018 models) and newer are officially supported for Windows 11.

    Microsoft also announced that they are not going to block installation of Windows 11 on older PCs. The "compatibility check" will only apply when upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 through Windows Update. If your PC doesn't meet the posted requirements, you will still be able to grab the ISO and use it to do an upgrade or clean install. (This is basically how I expected things would shake out.)

    It looks like the TPM requirement will still be in place in the ISO media. If the system doesn't have at least TPM 1.2, you'll have to use the workaround above to install Windows 11. (All mobile Precision systems going back at least to 2005's Precision M65 have TPM 1.2 or better. You might have to manually enable it in the BIOS on older systems.)

    https://blogs.windows.com/windows-i...tem-requirements-and-the-pc-health-check-app/
    https://www.theverge.com/22644194/m...inimum-system-requirements-processors-changes
    https://www.thurrott.com/windows/wi...are-requirements-but-will-placate-enthusiasts

    From the MS blog post:
    Funny numbers to stack side-by-side. With 52% more crashes, does this basically mean that systems that do not meet the minimum requirements have a 99.7% crash free experience? (In any case, I don't think upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 would give you more crashes than you'd already see on Windows 10.)

    Still considering an upgrade on my M6700 in mid-October ... if they fix the Alt+Tab bug by then.

    [Edit]
    Updated the top post:
    * 7th generation CPUs won't be supported
    * Microsoft isn't putting a CPU compatibility check in the ISO media, just at Windows Update
    * Official ISO files are now available to download (for Insider program members)
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2021
  10. Aaron44126

    Aaron44126 Notebook Prophet

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    New drama today.
    Multiple outlets are reporting that Microsoft is backtracking a bit, now stating if you do a manual install with ISO media on "unsupported" systems, updates "may" be withheld. This would potentially include security updates, functional updates, and driver updates. Requests for further clarification are being refused. It's possible (probable?) that Microsoft is just covering their bases here and once again pushing people to update to newer hardware, but we probably won't know for sure until after Windows 11 launches properly.

    https://www.theverge.com/2021/8/28/22646035/microsoft-windows-11-iso-workaround-no-update-guarantee

    There is precedent for this type of behavior. If you install Windows 7 on a system with an Intel 7th-generation CPU or higher, you can probably get it to work, but Windows Update will throw an error and not pull down any updates. Microsoft only support(ed) Windows 7 on systems running Intel 6th-generation CPUs or lower.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2021
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