Windows 11 update crashes and burns on some PCs due to ‘unsupported CPU’ error

Angry man hitting his laptop with a hammer
(Image credit: BlueSkyImage / Shutterstock)

Windows 11 has a new spanner in the works with the latest update for the operating system, a worrying one that crashes the PC with an ‘unsupported processor’ error.

The Verge reports that they – and other folks on Reddit – have experienced this error, and that it happened after installing the KB5029351 update for Windows 11 22H2. Note that this is a preview update, so it’s optional and doesn’t have to be installed (it won’t be downloaded unless you manually check for updates and choose to do so).

In affected cases, after installing the update, a Blue Screen of Death appears with the mentioned error message about the CPU not being supported by Windows 11, and the PC then reboots.

The good news is that the system apparently recovers and rolls back the patch, according to reports (and The Verge says this is what happened to them).

Microsoft has acknowledged the problem, and advises: “KB5029351 might automatically uninstall to allow Windows to start up as expected.”

The common factor among those who have encountered this bug is that they have an MSI motherboard (with an Intel CPU) that has been updated to the most recent BIOS release.

Microsoft informs us: “We are presently investigating to determine if this is an issue caused by Microsoft. We will provide an update when more information is available.”

Analysis: Prevention measures in place – but there’s still scope for concern

While we’re all likely aware that Windows 11 brought in some much stricter requirements for supported CPUs compared to Windows 10, being told that their processor was unsupported probably caused a few folks to almost fall out of their chairs.

As reported, the error should allow the PC to reboot and uninstall the update to go back to normal, but Microsoft’s use of the term ‘might’ automatically uninstall in its advisory does leave some room for concern. What if it doesn’t? That could be a nasty problem indeed.

The good news is that Microsoft has now instigated measures to prevent the Windows 11 update in question from being delivered to PCs that will be affected (those with Intel chipset-toting MSI motherboards on that most recent BIOS). So, at this point, you don’t have to worry – if you do fall into this group of PC owners, the patch will be pulled, and you won’t be offered it under Windows Update.

The remaining concern, then, is that this optional preview patch becomes the full (mandatory) update for Windows 11 22H2 in September. So Microsoft will have to make very sure this bug is fully squashed by that time – or that MSI addresses it with a new BIOS update that happens in a swift manner, if it isn’t a glitch in the Windows matrix.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).