What is Windows Hardware Compatibility List (Windows HCL)
The Windows Hardware Compatibility List (also known as Windows HCL) is very simple, a list of hardware devices compatible with a particular Microsoft Windows operating system version.
Once a device has cleared the Windows Hardware Quality Labs (WHQL) process, the company can use a “Certified for Windows” badge, logo (or something very alike) in their advertising, and the device is acceptable to be registered in the Windows HCL.
The Windows HCL is usually just called the Windows HCL. Still, you may see it under many names like Windows Compatibility Center, HCL, Windows Compatibility Product List, Windows Logo’d Product List, or Windows Catalog.
When should you use the Windows HCL?
The Windows Hardware Compatibility List (Windows HCL) assists as a handy reference when publishing hardware for a computer you wish to install a newer version of Windows OS onto.
Of course, you can usually assume that most PC hardware is compatible with an established version of Windows. Still, it’s wise to double-check for compatibility with a version of Windows that hasn’t been on the market very long.
The Windows HCL can sometimes be a helpful troubleshooting tool for specific Device Manager error codes like (Code 43) and STOP errors like BSOD (Blue Screens of Death). However, some errors that Windows shows are related to particular hardware could likely be due to a general incompatibility between that piece of hardware and Windows.
You could search for the troubled piece of hardware in the Windows HCL to check if it’s listed as incompatible with your Windows version. If so, you’d recognize that was the problem and could either replace the peripheral with a compatible model or contact the hardware manufacturer for additional information on updated device drivers or further plans for compatibility.
How to use the Windows HCL or Windows Hardware Compatibility List
To begin, visit the Windows Compatible Products List page. The options you can fill out include –
- Marketing/Product Name
- Company Name
- D & U Status
- Operating System
You can also search the Windows HCL for PCs, tablets, removable storage, hard drives, solid-state drives, smart card readers, etc.
For instance, when looking for Windows 10 compatibility info on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Graphics Card, you can see that it is compatible in both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of not only Windows 10 but also Windows 8 / Windows 7.
Clicking the Download Certification Report link on any of the listed products will show you the specific certification reports, verifying that Microsoft has certified the device for use in particular versions of Windows.
Also, the reports are even dated so that you can see when each product was approved and certified.
Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
What is the hardware compatibility list used for?
A hardware compatibility list is a database of hardware models and their compatibility with a certain operating system. HCLs can be centrally controlled (one person or team keeps the list of hardware maintained) or user-driven (users submit reviews on hardware they have used).
How do I check Windows compatibility?
In order to do that, you can follow these steps to check the compatibility of your laptop or PC: Go to the Microsoft website and then click on Windows 11. Scroll down to the Check compatibility section and tap on the Download app.
When did Windows 11 come out?
Windows 11 was released to the general public on October 5, 2021. That initial release was version number 22000.194, which was first released as a cumulative update to members of the Windows Insider Program on September 16, 2021.
What is the hardware support of Windows?
The Windows Hardware Compatibility Program is designed to help your company deliver systems, software, and hardware products that are compatible with Windows and run reliably on Windows 10, Windows 11, and Windows Server 2022. The program also provides guidance for developing, testing, and distributing drivers.
Windows 11 Hardware Compatibility List
To install or upgrade to Windows 11, devices must meet the following minimum hardware requirements: Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or system on a chip (SoC). RAM: 4 gigabytes (GB) or greater.