This article showed how to upgrade your Xiaomi notebook, not in Windows 11 compatibility list, to run on Windows 11.
If you purchased a Xiaomi notebook a few years back with Windows 10, you may encounter problem upgrading to Windows 11. The official statement from Xiaomi only stated models released after 2019 were upgradable to Windows 11. The earlier models, like the initial Mi Notebook Air 12.5 and Mi Notebook Air 13.3 released in 2016 were not in the list. Technically, it is true. If you run the Microsoft Windows 11 Compatibility Check App, these notebooks failed and Windows Updates will not allow you to upgrade to Windows 11.
According to the compatibility check, the only issue preventing the upgrade is the Intel Core m3 CPU in the first version of Mi Notebook Air. Seems its clock speed at 0.90GHz is below the 1GHz required by Microsoft to run Windows 11. However, it is an illusion. The Intel Core m3 CPU is perfect contender for running Windows 11. I have successfully installed Windows 11 on Mi Notebook Air 12.5 purchased in 2016 when Xiaomi released their first notebook.
As Windows Updates does not allow automatic upgrade to Windows 11. All you need to do is to backup your personal data in the notebook and install a fresh Windows 11 instead of upgrade. The installation is not difficult. All you need to do is follow the instructions step by step and you should be all set. Before you begin, you need an unused USB flash drive with 8GB or more.
You need to download the Rufus USB flash utility tool and Windows 11 ISO image.
The first step you need to do is to backup all your personal data in the notebook to a portable hard disk. The notebook hard disk will be completely erased to install a new Windows 11 system.
Insert the unused USB flash drive into your notebook and double-click the Rufus utility tool you just downloaded. Select the Windows ISO image and make Windows 11 installation media.
After you create the Windows 11 installation USB drive, restart your notebook. When Mi logo appear after reboot, immediately press “F2” key to load the BIOS setup.
Use arrow keys to navigate to “Security” -> “Secure Boot”.
Change Secure Boot setting from “Enabled” to “Disabled”.
Goto “Boot” -> “USB Boot”.
Change USB Boot setting from “Disabled” to “Enabled”.
Goto “Exit” -> “Exit Saving Changes”. Save the changes and exit BIOS setup.
The notebook reboots and when the “Mi” logo appears, press “F12” to select to boot from USB Device.
Windows 11 setup begins. Select your language.
Click “Install now” to start the installation process.
Mi Notebook comes with an embedded digital license for Windows 10 Home and is valid for Windows 11. Simply select “I don’t have a product key” at the bottom to continue.
Next is to select the Windows 11 variety. You should select Windows 11 Home.
Accept the license agreement and continue.
You should select to second option “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)”.
You should install the new windows in Partition 3. Please note my partition table may differ from yours. I have changed my disk partition to have two working partitions, one for windows and one for data. If you don’t want to change your hard disk partition, select Partition 3 and click “Format” below to erase all data in Partition 3. (You should have backed up all your personal data in advance)
Confirm you would like to erase all data and format the partition.
Partition 3 is now empty and ready for Windows 11 installation. Click “Next” in the bottom to start Windows installation.
Windows is copying the files to your notebook. Follow the on-screen setup instructions and you should have Windows 11 ready in about an hour.
After the installation is completed, you should have Windows 11 on your Mi notebook.
Although Xiaomi stated the first versions of Mi notebook cannot be upgraded to Windows 11. It is technically correct because it can’t be upgraded. But Xiaomi never says it cannot run Windows 11 and here, we have Mi Notebook Air 12.5 running Windows 11.
After Windows 11 has been installed on the notebook, you need to reverse the BIOS changes to safeguard the notebook from malicious software.