Microsoft is mandating all Windows 11 laptops to have a precision touchpad
Earlier today, Microsoft announced Windows 11, and after it published system requirements, it turned out that this was the first time since Windows 7 that the barrier to entry was raised. One thing that’s changed is that apparently, you’re going to need a Precision touchpad on Windows 11.
This is going to be an issue for some. Most modern laptops have been using Precision touchpads for years, but one of the last holdouts was HP. You could have a two-year-old premium HP laptop that might not have a Precision touchpad. According to Microsoft’s documentation, that PC won’t be able to upgrade to Windows 11.
A precision touchpad isn’t a particular type of touchpad but is rather a touchpad that supports Microsoft’s standardized drivers for a consistent, smooth, accurate, and responsive pointing experience. Updates to these drivers are delivered alongside Windows 10 feature updates. Furthermore, these drivers enable many advanced, multifinger touchpad gestures on Windows. To find out if your laptop has a precision touchpad, go to Start > Settings > Devices > Touchpad.
If it doesn’t have a precision touchpad, then it may not be eligible to upgrade to Windows 11, according to Microsoft’s Windows minimum hardware requirements page. The page says that a computer must meet the listed requirements in order to do the following:
- Boot and run Windows
- Update and service Windows
- Provide a baseline user experience that is comparable with similar devices and computers
There are tons of other things that are changing. 32-bit CPU support is totally gone, while it was gone for new PCs with Windows 10 for a little while now. CPUs also need to have two or more cores. RAM and storage requirements have gone up to 4GB and 64GB, respectively.
Another thing that’s a roadblock for many is that Windows 11 will require TPM 2.0, although it might be possible to use TPM 1.2. Another key thing you’ll need support for is DirectX 12. In 2023, webcams are going to be a requirement too, but only on new laptops.
The issue with Precision touchpads is something that could change between now and this holiday season when Windows 11 is released. In fact, anything is subject to change between now and then.
But to be clear, it’s been a really long time since Microsoft raised the minimum requirements for Windows in any meaningful way. Windows 10 was released six years ago, and even then, it didn’t raise requirements because it was meant to be a free upgrade from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.