January 2022 Windows 11

This newsletter is about Microsoft’s new Windows 11 (released in 2021) and its impact. There are some important things that are worth pointing out first, and probably only one or two of them will affect you, but as long as you can pick them out this will hopefully be worthwhile. If you can’t, or if this is just too confusing for you then by all means call and I’ll explain how it specifically affects you.

  • As things stand, Windows 10 will not be supported by Microsoft from August 2025, and as a result it will become progressively more unsafe to run after that time, if it is connected to the internet. Up until then you should be fine with it.
  • If you are thinking of buying a new PC or Laptop you should really ensure it’s either running Windows 11 or is capable of running Windows 11 – if it doesn’t then you may need to buy again in 2025!
  • Windows 11 is currently a free upgrade for Windows 10 PCs that meet the capabilities that Microsoft are insisting on. I am not aware of them planning to start charging to upgrade, but the free upgrade from Windows 7/8 to 10 only lasted for a year (I think), so don’t just assume that it will be free right up till August 2025.
  • By and large Windows 11 seems quite nice, and I haven’t noticed any major relearning when compared to Windows 10, and it seems quite stable. So, if you get on with Windows 10, then Windows 11 should be fine for you.
  • The minimum specification to run Windows 11 is fairly brutal. Microsoft are insisting that some security features are present which haven’t been a requirement before, so they may not be present in your system. They have also put a fairly arbitrary limit on processors, so it is fairly likely that if your current PC/laptop is older than 4 years it is quite likely that it won’t be upgradable.

So, you might now be thinking that it would be interesting to know where your computer stands on this. If you run Windows Update on your Windows 10 PC, you will either be offered Windows 11 (you don’t have to do upgrade straight away!)  or you might (once your PC is up to date) see a notice that lets you test your PC for compatibility with Windows 11, or perhaps a notice that tells you that it simply isn’t compatible. It’s worth a look to see what you get.

To get into Windows Update, hold down the Start button (usually at the bottom left of your screen) and whilst it is held down tap the i key. This should take you into Settings and you should see Update and Security at the bottom (you might have to scroll down a bit). If that doesn’t work for you then try clicking the Start Button at the bottom left and start typing Check for Updates, and you will hopefully see (probably before you finish typing) “Check for Updates” in the top of the list that appears – though it does sometimes take a few seconds to appear on that list.

If your PC meets the requirements, you may be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11. From my own experiences so far, I can tell you that the upgrades I have done were fairly painless and smooth, with all of the various programs I use, still installed and working afterwards, as were the various devices connected to them. However, you may well use different software and devices that may have issues. Either way, before you do the upgrade you should ensure that your backups are up to date.

If your PC doesn’t meet the requirements then things are a little more interesting. I have been experimenting with a variety of ways of circumventing the compatibility tests, and have successfully done a few of these now, so I think it is not necessarily time to plan for binning your PC.

I should stress. Microsoft do have their very good reasons to insist on some of these things, as they should lead to much more secure PCs from a malware and hacking perspective, and that is commendable. But, that said, in my view, we don’t have these improvements now with Windows 10, so I don’t feel inclined to be forced into buying an arbitrarily more modern processor and motherboard when I can continue to run a version of Windows that is no less safe than Windows 10 currently is. If everyone were to have to bin their incompatible Windows 10 PCs in August 2025, then I think … well actually, I don’t want to think about that – the waste would be awful.

But the fact remains that Microsoft will phase out Windows 10, so if you want to run Windows whilst connected to the internet then you will need to move to Windows 11.

It’s worth stressing that one of the ‘patches’ that allows an incompatible PC to run Windows 11 has actually been released by Microsoft. There is a fair bit of pressure on them not to be so arbitrary, particularly with processors. They have already moved their own goalposts at least once, and may well do so again. Time may help here.

So, there you go. I just wanted to get an update out to you all, to bring some of you up to date and to stop some of you from worrying too much. I am sorry this has been a bit long-winded and a bit techie, I am happy to explain how it specifically affects you if you want to get in touch. Feel free to forward this on to others if you want to and make sure you do those backups folks!