Is Windows 11 Pushing Us Towards An E-Waste Crisis?

windows 11

Do you remember the last time you bought a new PC or switched to a new internet connection powered by Cox cable plans? Moreover, how frequently do you replace your old laptop? Studies show that most users buy new computers after three to five years. The duration is even less for smartphone users, most of whom replace their devices within two years of use.  

You may be wondering what does it have to do with Windows 11. Well, Microsoft announced in June this year that the successor to Windows 10 is expected to hit the market on October 10. It is worth mentioning that the latest update will be available on all compatible devices released after 2017. That raises an important question about whether this may be paving the way for an e-waste crisis.  Let’s dig into all that in a more detail.

What Are the Requirements to Run Windows 11? 

It is important to note that Windows 11 will only work if your PC or laptop has the following specifications:  

  • Intel 7th Generation (or above) processor/Ryzen 1000 series (or above) processor  
  • 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processing speed  
  • 4GB RAM  
  • 64GB (or larger) ROM  
  • UEFI system firmware  
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0  
  • DirectX 12 Graphics Card  
  • WDDM 2.0 driver  
  • 720p display  
  • Active Internet connection  

Remember, you won’t be able to use Windows 11 on laptops or PCs that do not come with the said specifications. However, you won’t be having problems finding a TPM 2.0 processor since all third-generation and later processors come with TPM 2.0. It is worth mentioning that these are revised system requirements as Microsoft found itself in hot waters when it announced the original requirements.  

Do You have to Buy a New Computer to Use Windows 11? 

The answer is a bit of both yes and no. Many are using the 6th Gen or older processors to this day and who knows if they want to buy a new processor. The same can be said for desktop users who have the older Ryzen 1000 series. However, the new update might force them to buy new processors and motherboards, which will lead to an increase in e-waste.  

Desktop users aren’t the only ones that will contribute to e-waste. Laptop users will also be providing their share. We’re talking about the folks who will eventually opt for Windows-11 compatible machines to get their hands on the latest operating system. All of this will undoubtedly contribute to e-waste. We hope that the impact won’t be huge but still, people replacing their older laptops and PCs will contribute to e-waste.  

Will Every Machine End Up at e-Waste Dumps? 

No. While there’s no denying that many will go for the newer, Windows 11-compatible models, not everyone will buy them. There will be some who would want to sell their laptops and PCs that run on Windows 10. Most of us take technology for granted despite knowing that not all people have access to computers.  

New buyers will enter the market. They will purchase older laptops and PCs at lower prices. This will create a cycle where people without access to technology would finally be able to empower themselves with knowledge. However, it is important to note that the transfer of knowledge and technology won’t happen overnight. The whole process will take time.  

What to Do If You Really Want to Buy a New Machine? 

It is advisable to consider all the alternatives before buying a new laptop or PC for Windows 11. Please note that Microsoft hasn’t announced Windows 11 support for most devices. This means that millions of laptops and PCs run on older versions of Windows. So, will the tech giant just ignore them? We don’t think that it’s possible.  

Windows 11 comes with new features and updates. But it also shares many similarities with Windows 10. In case you don’t own a Windows 11-compatible laptop, the safest bet is to wait patiently for the time being. It is worth mentioning that Windows 10 will last till 2025. If you hold on to your existing device till then you will be contributing to protecting the environment.  

Moreover, installing Windows 11 on unsupported devices won’t give you access to security and feature updates. Also, if you think that upgrading to the said operating system will speed up your machine then that won’t be happening. If you own a machine that often overheats, chances are your internal fan vents need cleaning or your RAM or SSD is full.  


If security is your primary concern, then you can opt for contemporary operating systems like macOS or Linux. Sure, Windows 11 comes with privacy tools and features but is it worth buying and, in turn, contributing to e-waste. If your laptop is working fine then you should consider clinging to it for the foreseeable future. Windows 10 isn’t going anywhere until 2025. That’s still a lot of time. Maybe you’ll come across an alternative operating system like Linux or macOS.

By Admin

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