With Windows 10 support coming to an end this year and my observatory computer not meeting Microsoft's minimum specification for Windows 11 I began to look at replacement costs for the computer, which are not easy to justify for a highly specced (and expensive) five year old industrial computer with many years of potential use ahead.

The existing computer has an Intel core i7 2.3Ghz Haswell processor, 16Gb of low temperature memory and two Transcend 512Gb SSD's, all in a sealed, fanless, factory environment rugged enclosure.

According to Microsoft the computer is not upgradable because it lacks the TPM2 module, the graphics driver is inadequate and the processor is not powerful enough?

I can do nothing about the lack of the TPM2 module as the motherboard doesn't have the necessary riser pins and there is no room inside the sealed computer case for an upgraded graphics card, the existing graphics are provided by the on-board intel CPU.

So with a full system clone backup in place to an external disk I decided to try one of the work-arounds to install Windows 11 on the current computer and after a couple of hours it appears to have been successful .

After the upgrade to Windows 11 everything appears to be working normally, the only issues I ran into were with ACP, PinPoint and Scheduler reporting problems at first start-up.

To fix ACP, which was stuck in a loop after attempting to self-reset it's registry settings, continually asking for the location of the "MaxPoint" resource it was necessary to run the ACP installer again, this fixed ACP.

To fix Scheduler it was also necessary to run its installer again, and the same for PinPoint.

No other applications appear to have been affected, MaxIm and TheSkyX Pro (for Paramount control) are all working, as is Microsoft Remote Desktop and TeamViewer, the rest of the hardware connects ok and the ASCOM platform tests ok too.

If any problems appear over the next few weeks I can always roll back to Windows 10 by restoring from my cloned system backup and if I can stay with Windows 11 on this hardware then it has bought a few more years of Microsoft support and extended usability to a computer that would otherwise be heading for landfill.

To upgrade to Windows 11 I used a piece of free software called Rufus, a 16Gb thumb drive and a copy of the Windows 11 ISO downloaded from Microsoft.

1: Download the current Windows 11 ISO to your download folder.

2: Download Rufus:


3: Find a suitable thumb-drive with at least 16Gb capacity, erase any old files on the thumb drive and re-format the drive FAT32.

4: Run Rufus.exe.

5. In Rufus the selected "Device" will be the thumb drive, Boot selection will be "Disk or ISO Image", click the "SELECT" button to point Rufus to the folder with the downloaded Windows 11 ISO and select it.

All other options remain as default.

Press the start button on the Rufus API and answer the check boxes in the question box that pops up for "Ignore CPU check", "Ignore TPM check", keep user settings etc then hit the Start Button.

Rufus will build a bootable Windows 11 installer on the thumb drive but one that bypasses the Windows 11 normal compatibility checks for CPU. TPM module and graphics capability.

This process might take a few hours to complete and it will appear that Rufus has stopped responding at various points in the process, be patient until the process either reports success or failure.

6. The Bootable media created on the thumb-drive can now be used for an in-situ upgrade of Windows 10 to Windows 11, it is not necessary to actually boot the computer using the thumb drive even though it is now possible to do this. However, for an upgrade of the existing Windows 10 OS to Windows 11 just run the "Setup.exe" file on the thumb drive to start the upgrade of Windows 10 to Windows 11.

You will be asked to choose whether to "Re-install" or "Upgrade Windows", you must use the "Upgrade" option to keep your current settings, files and software.

7. From this point on the normal Windows upgrade process runs, which might take a few hours but at the end you should have a fully functional Windows 11 system even though it is not officially sanctioned by Microsoft.

You will find that Windows update still works and you will receive quality and security updates for the current version of Windows 11 but it is unlikely you will be able to upgrade to a future "Feature" build as the update installer will once again report that the computer does not meet requirements and you will have to resort to running the Rufus procedure again with an updated copy of the Windows 11 ISO.

Even if you decide not to upgrade to the latest Windows 11 Feature build sometime in the future at least you will gain a few more years of Windows support and functionality for the current Windows 11 build that you install by this method.

Whether Microsoft will move to stop this unofficial route for upgrading Windows 10 to Windows 11 on unsupported hardware is unknown but I suspect they will block this at some point in the future.

As always with this kind of subject, make sure you have a full back-up of your computer to recover from, using third-party disk cloning software on to a dismountable independent disk drive and the appropriate bootable recovery media to use it. Don't rely on Windows Backup and Restore, or the Roll-Back facility in Windows Update, neither option is particularly reliable on a system that has been in operation for a few years and might have acquired more than a few OS errors.

Hope you find the above useful.