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Microsoft released a fresh build of Windows 11 last night, reminding some users that virtual machines may be the only way for them to enjoy the new operating system. As long as they use a hypervisor that can virtualize or simulate a TPM 2.0-chip.

Despite the company’s efforts to distract users with updates to the Photos app, currently rolling out to users in the Windows Insider Dev Channel, many users are still focused on a notification, warning that the new build ‘includes a change that aligns the enforcement of the Windows 11 system requirements on Virtual Machines’ to be the same as for physical PCs. Microsoft also said Hyper-V VMs of Windows 11 needs to be Generation 2 VMs.

An impact

In addition to that new change, the service will also be compatible with virtual machines running on virtualization and emulation products from other vendors like Oracle and VMware, as long as the hardware requirements are met.

This stance conflicts with Microsoft’s minimum hardware requirements document for the operating system, which at the time of writing this says that Windows 11 does not apply the hardware-compliance check for virtualized instances during setup or upgrade. It says that if the virtual environment is not properly provisioned to meet the minimum requirements, it could have an impact on user experience.

An impact explained

When Microsoft says ‘impact’ here, it now means that it simply won’t work. Microsoft’s own set of requirements clearly state that the hardware check is not done in the world of virtual machines.

However, new Insider Preview Builds are failing on hypervisors that do not meet the minimum specifications. This includes Oracle’s VirtualBox, which doesn’t have the virtual TPM chipset simulation that Windows 11 needs. Some users have also noted that VirtualBox won’t work. Parallels and Qemu are able to continue, since they do virtualize the TPM 2.0 chip that meet the requirements.