How to bypass Windows 11 limits and install on almost any old PC
Kids, don't try this at home!

Microsoft-Campus.jpg

07 July 2021

I shouldn't need to tell you this, but just in case you were the kid who used to run with scissors, I will: this could hurt. What I'm about to tell you could cause crashes. Drivers and various system functions might hang. Your computer might melt into a pile of slag that gets tangled in your carpet and is almost impossible to clean. You might even knock the moon out of orbit. Baaaaad things could happen.

We are entering unsanctioned territory here.

Okay, for the benefit of the two of you who haven't been reading all of Ed Bott's reporting on Windows 11, as it's intended to ship from the factory, Windows 11 will only support certain PCs. It will only support 64-bit machines with TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot.

As we've been discussing, even some of Microsoft's own Surface machines won't run Windows 11. Or, at least, they can't run it unless you do a little tinkering.

Did I mention baaaaad things could happen? Okay, good. Keep that in mind as we move into the process.

First, there is one limitation we can't bypass: if you don't have a 64-bit processor, give it up. You'll need a machine with a 64-bit processor. But if you've got that, you're ready to alter the space/time continuum.

As it turns out, Microsoft isn't as tied to the idea of requiring a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) as they've led us all to believe. Deep inside their June 2021 Windows 11 Minimum Hardware Requirements PDF is the sentence, "Upon approval from Microsoft, OEM systems for special purpose commercial systems, custom order, and customer systems with a custom image are not required to ship with a TPM support enabled."

The hacks

Lawrence Abrams at Bleeping Computer has taken advantage of this detail. In his article, he shows how creating a new LabConfig key and setting DWORD values BypassTPMCheck, BypassRAMCheck, and BypassSecureBootCheck to 1 can enable you to bypass the compatibility check.

If that doesn't work for you, Zachary Wander at Android site XDA has four more approaches he describes in depth. His first approach is to manually (and by manually, he's hacking registry keys, 'natch) enroll in the Dev Channel. That, in theory, should allow you to install Windows 11 on unsupported machines.

If that doesn't work, he has more tricks up his sleeve. The next approach is also about enrolling in the Dev Channel, but instead of a registry hack, you need to run a Github script (because that's not at all scary).

His third approach is to build a hybrid USB installer. You'll be downloading ISOs, burning images to thumb drives, hacking registry entries, and more. If Windows 11 installs this way, you've earned it.

And, finally, he has a hack where you go inside the Windows 11 ISO file and remove a compatibility check file.

Final thoughts

So. Yeah. That. Another thing that goes without saying is that if you can get this to work with the current test build of Windows 11, it might not work when the actual release of Windows 11 is shipped. It might not even work when the next test build of Windows 11 is pushed out. But if you're impatient, and want to get Windows 11 running on an unsanctioned device, go for it.

Just don't come crying to us when you're blamed for destroying the moon because you had to try Windows 11 on your very own unsanctioned computer.

170 Android cryptocurrency mining scam apps have stolen $350,000 from users
Users are paying up in the belief they are mining cryptocurrency. In reality, they get nothing.

07 July 2021

Over 170 mobile apps in the Android ecosystem have been identified as scam services designed to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. 

Lookout researchers said this week that the apps, 25 of which were hosted on Google Play, are scamming people interested in cryptocurrencies by offering cloud-based mining services. 

In return for a fee, these mobile apps promise to perform cryptocurrency mining on behalf of subscribers. 

Cryptocurrency mining leverages computing power -- either from a personal device or a rented system -- to solve computational and cryptographic puzzles and coins are received in return. 

However, the power required for many types of cryptocurrency is now more than a personal PC can manage, which means that individuals may join mining pools, sharing the work -- and the proceeds. 

Lookout analyzed each cryptocurrency mining app that appeared on the firm's radar and found that not a single one performed any kind of legitimate cloud-based cryptocurrency mining. In other words, users have been paying for a non-existent service. 

There are two main categories of fraudulent apps involved in these schemes, classified by the researchers as "BitScams" and "CloudScams."

CloudScams offer mining options using cloud computing power, and it is common for developers to create realistic-looking mining services to appear legitimate. BitScams are mobile apps that offer users additional "virtual hardware" -- for prices between $12.99 - $259.99 -- that promise additional mining returns. 

Payments can either be made via Google Play or through Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) direct transfers to the developers' wallets.

Both types use similar business models but there are groups behind the apps that appear to be competing forces.

According to the company, over 93,000 people have been scammed in this way. An estimated $350,000, or more, has been lost with users paying for fake apps and upgrades, based on the average 'subscription' price the apps requested and installation rates.

"What enabled BitScam and CloudScam apps to fly under the radar is that they don't do anything actually malicious," the researchers say. "In fact, they hardly do anything at all. They are simply shells to collect money for services that don't exist."

Once Google was made aware of Lookout's findings, offending apps hosted on Google Play were rapidly removed. However, the company has no means to wipe out Android apps hosted on third-party websites, and so users should remain cautious if applications promise returns that are too good to be true.