With just over two weeks to go, Microsoft punts Windows 11 to Release Preview

What's that coming over the hill? Is it new hardware? Is it new hardware?

Microsoft has followed up a lacklustre Surface hardware event with a Windows 11 Release Preview for Windows Insiders.

Assuming, of course, those Insiders are possessed of an "eligible PC" – for Microsoft does not appear to be backing down on its vendor-delighting and customer-frustrating hardware requirements for the new operating system.

The build in question is 22000.194, which emerged last week in the Beta Channel to the disappointment of users trying to run Windows 11 on a virtual machine that is not to Microsoft's liking. Its arrival in Release Preview yesterday, just over two weeks from general availability on 5 October, is an indicator that fans should expect little more than patches and updates until then.

The to-ing and fro-ing over the hardware requirements of Windows 11 have muddied the waters over the operating system's launch, particularly over what can and can't work in a virtual machine.

Mac VM outfit Parallels got in touch with The Register and, after extolling the virtues of its Desktop 17 app on both Intel and M1-based Apple Mac kit, told us: "While we can't comment specifically on another company's statement, it's not unusual for software manufacturers to have policies regarding the hardware requirements and environments they officially support.

"And throughout the tech industry there are many examples of software use cases and configurations that may not be officially supported, but remain very popular in both corporate and individual end user environments."

That sounds to us like resigned acceptance that Microsoft is unlikely to be giving an official nod to Windows 11 running anywhere outside of its now somewhat restrictive list of chippery.

Windows 10 21H2 remains for customers lacking hardware deemed fit for Windows 11. Microsoft released build 19044.1263 (at the same time as the equivalent for Windows 10 21H1) with a swathe of fixes as part of KB5005611, including a Group Policy for the PointAndPrint registry key.

Printing has, after all, become somewhat of a nightmare for Windows administrators. ®

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