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Windows Update and PC Health Check say no Windows 11 - This processor isn't supported
Windows Update and PC Health Check say no Windows 11 - This processor isn't supported

This PC doesnt currently meet Windows 11 system requirements

So, I bought this total bargain Lenovo ThinkCentre 710q chiefly because it consumes low power, has all Lenovo's attention to detail for maintenance and spare part replacement, has a nice tiny form factor, and a reasonably modern architecture. The Think Centre supports secure boot, and has a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0. This one came with a DVD rw drive but has a modest 8GB of memory and a 500GB drive. The 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-6400T 'Skylake' processor and the Intel HD 530 graphics are end of life. Nevertheless it is a relatively good specification. Sadly however, according to Microsoft's tools, the Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q appears to be unable to meet the minimum system requirements for Windows 11. Thats a shame, but all is not lost! Lets see what can be done to improve the usefulness of this machine.

TL:DR — Lenovo have always made high quality rugged expandable hardware, especially in the Think design range they acquired from IBM, who after all, invented the PC in the first place. These ThinkCentre 710q tiny workstations are low power workhorses so they don't cost a fortune to run and are cheaply and plentifully available now in the used marketplaces. They can be expanded to excellent maximum specification and in some cases beyond to deliver their full potential at low cost and are ideal for home/lab/small office use. Plenty of parts are available, mostly very easily user replacable with ease. It is as easy as can be to bypass the arbitrary restriction and allow the upgrade to Windows 11, or indeed to install Linux or whatever other OS you please.

Screenshot of Windows Update explaining that this PC doesnt meet the minimum system requirements to run Windows 11
Screenshot of Windows Update explaining that this PC doesnt meet the minimum system requirements to run Windows 11
Screenshot of Windows PC Health explaining that the processor isnt currently supported by Windows 11
Screenshot of Windows PC Health explaining that the processor isnt currently supported by Windows 11

Windows believes that the 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-6400T 'Skylake' processor, is not able to be used with Windows 11. The rest of the system is modern enough, and crucially supports secure boot and TPM the other factors are RAM and disk space and they are OK. Perhaps this explains why the later ThinkCentre 710q models sport 7th generation processors. It seems like an arbitrary decision not to support the Skylake era processors. Theres nothing inherently wrong with these reasonably modern Intel processors. There's probably a way to get past this message although we have to recognise that there might be some knock on implications perhaps some instruction in the chipset isn't supported. Who knows?

ThinkCentre 710q Tiny workstation for £99

My ThinkCentre 710q is a grade A refurbished unit from Morgan Computers (sadly missed from just off Tottenham Court Road in London but now online), and it has the rare DVD rw drive and housing and an internal VGA and serial option card all for just £99. The DVD player looks to be unused. The machine itself is tidy with one missing one housing screw. Windows 10 was pre-installed and runs quite well. When launched the 710 range was positioned as having heavyweight performance and supporting up to three independent displays. Lenovo claimed that "Intensive tasks like multimedia creation, graphic design, and number-crunching are a walk in the park".  In reality, although everything can be easily upgraded, this is a basic model with quite a low memory footprint for these days with 8GB and a fairly slow 500GB Hard disk.

ThinkCentre 710q front and back panel ports, (DVD drive not shown)
ThinkCentre 710q, with optional DVD and housing
ThinkCentre 710q, with optional DVD rw and housing

ThinkCentre 710q Ports, slots, indicators and buttons

Front panel
Ports, buttons and indicators
  • Power indicator – This indicator is on when the computer is on
  • Power button – Used to turn on your computer. When you cannot shut down the computer from the operating system, press and hold the power button for four or more seconds to turn off the computer
  • Storage drive status indicator – This indicator is on when the storage drive is in use
  • Microphone connector – Used to connect a microphone to your computer
  • Headset connector – Used to connect a headset or headphones to your computer
  • USB 3.0 connector – Used to connect a USB 2.0 or 3.0 compatible device
  • Always On USB 3.0 connector – Used to connect a USB 2.0 or 3.0 compatible device. With the power adapter connected, the device can be charged even when the computer is in hibernation mode or turned off
  • Illuminated red dot – This indicator - the dot on the 'i' in ThinkCentre, is on when the computer is powered on
Back panel
Ports and slots
  • Serial Port - Good old RS232, wheres that Hayes Smartmodem!
  • VGA – Old school analog video originally launched in 1987
  • Security lock slot – Used to secure a Kensington-style cable lock
  • Wi-Fi antenna slot – Used to install the optional rear Wi-Fi antenna 
  • Ethernet connector – Used to connect an Ethernet cable for network access.
  • 4 x USB 3.0 connectors - Used to connect a device that requires a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0
    connection.
  • 2 x DisplayPort® connectors - Used to send or receive audio and video signals. You can attach a compatible audio or video device to this connector, such as a high-performance monitor
  • Power adapter connector – Used to connect the power adapter to your computer for power supply.

Where to buy a Lenovo ThinkCentre 710q and expansion parts

Although I chose the Morgan Computers model because of the DVD drive, there is a slightly better spec ThinkCentre 710q on Amazon UK without a DVD drive but with an SSD for £105 but I wanted the DVD Drive and its housing. These ThinkCentres are cheap and easy to upgrade so I wanted an A grade machine and wasn't bothered about the 8GB memory which can be easily upgraded for £59 on Amazon UK for 2x 16GB of PC19200 DDR4 2400MHz 260 Pin Memory) and the drive which could easily be swapped out when needed for £82 for a Samsung 1TB SSD again from Amazon UK. You can find these even cheaper from places like Computer Exchange and eBay. The processor can be swapped for LGA1151 compatible beefier i7-6700T, or even 7th generation i5-7500T, or an  i7-7700T (£75 from CeX), but lets see if we can make progress with the current chip.

Without the VGA/Serial option card or an HDMI option card this model only has DisplayPort and I don't have a DisplayPort Monitor handy. The only monitor I have with a port that works is an old Lenovo VGA/DVI monitor I had lying about. I can also see that original Lenovo monitors with DisplayPort are available extremely cheaply (£39 for a Lenovo ThinkVision LT2013p 19.5-Inch LCD Monitor, from Amazon UK so I've bought one just for completeness, I've found a lovely Lenovo wired mouse and keyboard for £16 at Computer Exchange too. We're all in on Lenovo Raven Black and Think Red highlights here.

Helping Windows 11 to install on an unsupported processor

You can simply bypass the processor compatibility check and run Windows 11 setup from an official download. This machine came with Windows 10, so it's eligible for Windows 11 from a licence point of view so theres nothing wrong with doing this!

A single registry setting governs the setup check for processor support
This is incredibly easy to change.

Windows Setup likely has this setting to enable testing on unsupported processors in order to determine their supportability. I am willing to wager that there are zillions of test devices in Microsoft Labs with this setting turned on.

  • Launch 'Regedit' from the Start Menu of your ThinkCentre
  • Navigate to Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\
  • Look for MoSetup, if it exists click into it, if not with Setup highlighted click Create a New Key and call it MoSetup
  • Click right in the detail pane with MoSetup selected and add a New DWORD (32-bit) value AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMOrCPU
  • Set the Value for Data to 1
  • It should look like this screenshot :-
    Regedit showing the MoSetup Key with the AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTMPOrCPU value set to 1
Now you can download and run Windows 11 Setup from the official image
Download the ISO image

Head over to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows11 and download the ISO image.

  • Open it in Windows Explorer
  • Run Setup
    Windows 11 ISO downloaded
    Windows 11 ISO downloaded
  • It might take quite a long time. Just leave it alone.
    Window 11 Setup 'preparing'
    Window 11 Setup 'preparing'
  • Now you are preparing the setup program to run. Whatever that involves.
Windows 11 Install (uncheck make the installation better, then click next)
Windows 11 Install (uncheck make the installation better, then click next)
Windows 11 Install (Click to Accept the licence)
Windows 11 Install (Click to Accept the licence)
Windows 11 Install Getting updates (this takes ages)
Windows 11 Install Getting updates (this takes ages)
Windows 11 Install - acknowledge that you are installing on an unsupported system
Windows 11 Install - acknowledge that you are installing on an unsupported system
Windows 11 Ready to install - click Install
Windows 11 Ready to install - click Install
Windows 11 Installing
Windows 11 Installing

Success! Windows 11 is up and running and now you have a perfectly serviceable PC running windows 11 for under £100

Windows 11 running perfectly well on a ThinkCentre 710q with an i5 6400T processor
Windows 11 running perfectly well on a ThinkCentre 710q with an i5 6400T processor

Cost 

I'm very happy with this new device for my home lab. I'm probably going to run Linux on it in the longer term, and keep the Windows images for Virtual machines. These machines don't have VPro but that doesnt matter for VMware Player which is all I really need.

  • £99.99 – Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny Intel Core i5 (6400T)  8GB 500GB Windows 10 Pro, DVD drive and expansion case (Morgan Computers) (plus £5 delivery)

Potential upgrades

  • £0 – Ubuntu Linux 24.04 Much better choice for my needs. Can keep Windows around in a VMware Workstation virtual machine in case its needed for something. Can't imagine what.
  • £32 – 2 x 16 GB PC19200 DDR4 2400MHz 260 Pin Memory (CeX) These took 30 seconds to fit. Immediate transformation of this sluggish PC into a powerful workstation.
  • £90 – Samsung 870 QVO 1 TB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) (Amazon UK). I had a spare. Fitted it in 30 seconds. Rebooted, installed Ubuntu 24.04 from a bootable USB.
  • £39 – Lenovo ThinkVision LT2013p 19.5-Inch LCD Monitor (VGA/HDMI/DisplayPort/USB) think I got the last one. If searching remember you need DisplayPort! (Amazon Renewed)
  • £10 –  Lenovo SK-8823 Wired Keyboard + Mouse (CeX) This has arrived and was brand new in box. Really nice keyboard and mouse. 
  • £75 – 1 x Intel Core i7 (7700T LGA115) (CeX) This has arrived but I'm not sure it is necessary. This is a supported processor but would not have been available for the machine I bought, it was for a later revision.

I'll update this article or add another as I expand this machine to its full potential. But for zero cost, I took a £99.99 Lenovo ThinkCentre to the current version of Windows 11 Pro. Thats just a great result. 

See also

£99.95! – Lenovo ThinkCentre M710q Tiny PC Intel Core i5-6400T 8GB RAM 500GB HDD DVD-RW Windows 10 Professional (Morgan Computers)

6th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 'Skylake' processor – Product Specifications – Intel® Core™ i5-6400T Processor