Microsoft's virtualization-based security

Microsoft's virtualization-based security can lower PC performance. Our tests prove it.

 EnlargeWindows 11 doesn't run on many CPUs

Security is key to Windows 11 - and also one of the reasons why it breaks with the longstanding tradition of supporting legacy hardware and basically excludes any machine manufactured before 2017. Windows 11 has been available since October 5th and is ready for download . We wanted to know more precisely why Windows 11 cannot be installed on PC systems with older CPUs. And tested it.


Windows 11 free: Buy Win10 Pro for only 49.99 euros and upgrade to Windows 11 for free

Microsoft is saying goodbye to backward compatibility with Windows 11 in order - according to its own statement - to increase the stability, security and performance of the new operating system. However, the almost mandatory security function Trusted Platform Module (TPM) costs a comparatively high amount of computing power. The tests of our sister publication PCWorld show one of the reasons Microsoft doesn't want to allow Windows 11 to run on older PCs.

Since the colleagues do not have a final code for Windows 11, they have activated the Windows 11 function "Virtualization Based Security", which is always activated, in Windows 10. You can do this yourself on many Windows 10 PCs by clicking the Windows button, entering device security and clicking the "Core Isolation" option (if your hardware supports it). From there, you can enable memory integrity, which enables or disables VBS. Drivers that support VBS must be installed on the computer and hardware virtualization of the CPU must be activated in the BIOS. When you turn on memory integrity, Windows checks driver compliance and tells you which drivers are preventing you from turning on.

For the tests, PCWorld used an older "Skylake" laptop with the 5th generation Intel Core i7-6500U, switched the memory integrity on and off and ran the popular Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R20 benchmarks. Cinebench is a CPU-focused rendering test. Geekbench 5 is largely too, but it tests more than a dozen different areas of processor performance. Surprise! The results were close to each other with memory integrity turned on or off (see diagram below).

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