Fix CPU not compatible with Windows 10 error

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If you have got a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 system, it is almost certain that you would have got the ‘Get Windows 10’ app running in the system tray of your computer. This is Microsoft’s way of offering you a free license for Windows 10 and luring you to upgrade to its latest operating system when it is publicly released on July 29.

However, we have come across complaints from our readers that when they click on ‘Get Windows 10’ app, it shows up a message stating “CPU is not compatible with Windows 10”. This is a baffling error considering that Microsoft has already revealed that all systems running Windows 8 or 8.1 will be able to run Windows 10 without any issues. So why is the error showing up?

Unsurprisingly there is a bug in the ‘Get Windows 10’ app because of which the CPU not compatible with Windows 10 warning shows up. There is a patch for this, which Microsoft has released (Case 1). There is a second instance when such a warning shows up and this is when you are not running Windows 8 or 8.1 on your system. In this case you will need to enable a setting in the computer’s BIOS to ensure that it passes the Windows 10 CPU compatibility check (Case 2).

Case 1 – Bug

Soon after Microsoft released the ‘Get Windows 10’ app, a bug was reported whereby in certain cases the app had problems recognising CPUs on some systems as being compatible with Windows 10. This triggered a false positive and hence the warning stating: “Here’s why Windows 10 can not be installed on this PC: The CPU isn’t supported.”

Microsoft did release a patch to resolve this bug, but chances are your system might not have applied it as it was initially marked optional. Microsoft did change it to recommended, but in case your system hasn’t applied the patch automatically for some reason, you are left with that annoying message. Go to ‘Windows Update’ on your system and check for the patch KB2976978 if you running Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 systems and KB2952664 if you are running Windows 7 SP1.

You won’t be able to download the updates manually. So, if the patch hasn’t been applied, navigate to Control Panel -> Windows Update and look for the KB that is meant for your system and apply the update if it hasn’t been already.

Case 2 – BIOS settings

There are two parts to this case.

First is where you need to ensure that your supports PAE, NX and SSE2 instruction sets. We are not going to go into the specifics of the instruction set, but chances are if your running Windows system, you will most probably have a CPU that supports these instruction sets.

Still, to be on the safe side you can check if the CPU of your system supports the instructions sets. To do so, download “CPU-Z” and run it. On the main program window you will need to look for the field marked “Instructions”.

Look at the values and they should something along these lines: SSE2, EM64T (this also indicates that the processor supports PAE) and either VT-d or VT-x, which is required for NX support. If you have at least these three listed, you are good to go.

The next step involves editing the BIOS, so we recommend you be extra careful. One thing you need to keep in mind is that even if your CPU supports NX (no execute bit), you still need to enable the feature in BIOS so that ‘Get Windows 10’ app’s CPU Compatibility check is successful.

To get to the BIOS of your system, reboot your system and either press DEL, F2 or F12 (depending on the BIOS type) immediately.

Once you are in BIOS, you need to look for a menu option that reads ‘Advanced Configuration’ and then look for the NX setting. Chances are that this setting may be located somewhere other than the ‘Advanced Configuration’ option based on the BIOS type you have got, so you might have to look around a bit.

If you can’t find the NX (no execute bit) option, it may be labelled as EDB (Execute Disabled Bit), or Execute Disabled Memory Protection, or EVP (Enhanced Virus Protection), or even No Execute Memory Protect depending on the BIOS.

Once you find this option, enable it, save the changes you have made and exit. Boot your system as normal and click on “Get Windows 10” app located in system tray. The warning message should have gone by now.