We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Microsoft finally lifts ban on Windows 11 upgrades for some Intel CPUs

Device drivers newly made available via Windows Update finally let Windows 10 PCs with 11th Gen Intel Core processors jump to Windows 11.

A 3D render of an 11th Gen Intel Core processor, against a blue-yellow background

The shift to Windows 11 naturally left some older processors behind, which is no surprise given the operating system’s requirements, but owners of some Intel CPUs have been oddly left unsupported by Microsoft for the past two years. Thankfully, the issues preventing owners of 11th Gen Core chips from leaving Windows 10 behind have been seemingly quashed but have strangely taken far longer than expected.

While by no means even close to the best gaming CPU series made by Intel, its 11th Gen Core processors are still perfectly capable of running Windows 11. In fact, systems with Rocket Lake chips were initially jumping to the new OS no questions asked. However, instabilities caused by a particular driver led Microsoft to implement preventative measures, which are now being lifted.

The culprit at the center of these issues is Intel Smart Sound Technology (Intel SST), a feature that essentially serves as a caretaker to your PC’s audio. In spite of its mundane purpose, SST was reportedly causing blue screen errors on some systems, according to Microsoft. More specifically, devices would be prone to crash if driver versions ‘’ or ‘’ were installed.

The solution then is relatively simple, updating to newer, bug-free, drivers, something which Intel itself provided almost two years ago, as Tom’s Hardware points out. Strangely, however, Microsoft has only just now incorporated these drivers into Windows Update with no explanation for the delay.

With the new drivers installed, all formerly supported 11th Gen Intel Core processors can now install Windows 11 without issue following a 48-hour cooling period. Thankfully, it’s still free to do so and this doesn’t look subject to change anytime soon.

This will leave owners of Rocket Lake CPUs ready for Windows 12, should rumors of its launch in the near future come to pass. Either way, Windows 11 is now supported for the foreseeable future, whereas Microsoft will cut ties with Windows 10 from next year, so it’d be wise to make the jump sooner rather than later.

If your 11th Gen Intel Core processor is starting to show its age, or you fancy something more powerful altogether, check out our AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D review. You will, sadly, need a new motherboard and other components to house it, but the difference in performance between this chip and Rocket Lake is night and day.