Skip to main content

Windows 11: What You Need to Know Before You Upgrade

According to Microsoft, Windows 11 has been optimized for hybrid working and “sets a new benchmark for performance security”. First released in October 2021, Windows 11 is now available to download for all compatible devices. However, many organizations are hesitant to move away from Windows 10 and upgrade to Windows 11 due to new compatibility requirements and an updated user interface.  

While it may be tempting to stay with the familiar Windows 10, the current operating system will only be supported by Microsoft until October 14, 2025. This means that migrating operating systems is more than an IT decision. It’s also a security decision. By preparing now, your organization will be ready to upgrade all Windows workstations in the near future.  

Engage vendors 

Regardless of the industry you are in, before upgrading to Windows 11 you must engage your vendors to ensure your hardware and software are fully compatible with Windows 11. If a vendor cannot fully support Windows 11 now, they will need to provide you with a date when they will be. You cannot begin to plan your upgrade to Windows 11 until you can ensure your hardware and software are compatible, or at least have a timeline for when it will be.  

Perform your own testing 

Once you have confirmed with vendors that your hardware and software are fully compatible with Windows 11, you will want to perform your own testing to verify. Any devices incompatible with Windows 11 will need to be replaced.  

Be wary of any sources that offer you a free Windows 11 upgrade for devices that do not meet the minimum specifications. Such downloads are illegitimate and are known for installing malware on devices. 

Consider the training that will be required to use the new operating system 

While the greatest changes to Windows 11 are aesthetic and user interface based, something as little as a taskbar being moved can throw a user for a loop. Before upgrading, take time to consider how you are going to help create the smoothest transition possible for your organization’s users.  

Replace incompatible devices 

A recent report suggested that only 44.4% of workstations are eligible to receive the automatic Windows 11 upgrade. If any of your devices lack the hardware requirements for Windows 11, you will need to replace them by 2025. If your organization is looking to purchase new workstations right now, and hasn’t transitioned yet, you will want to make sure all new workstations have a free license to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11.  

It is good to be aware that as time moves on, you may only be able to purchase devices with Windows 11. We are already seeing workstations with the most recent generation of processors including Windows 11 as the default. Unlike the transition from Windows 7 to 10, the transition to Windows 11 is moving much faster.  

Your MSP can be a helpful resource  

While upgrading to Windows 11 and replacing current devices may feel overwhelming at first, remember that your managed services provider (MSP) is a resource who can help. Your MSP can help you understand the resources required to commit to the upgrade and help you identify the devices that are automatically compatible with Windows 11. Determining how many devices will allow for upgrades will also help you understand how many devices need to be replaced and could introduce a broader lifecycle management discussion with your MSP. 

If you have to spend a lot of money to ensure all specifications are met by buying newer systems, you will want to make that investment advantageous to your budget. Your MSP can help you decide whether you make a capital expense purchase where you buy your devices all at once or go the operating expense route where you lease your devices. It is important to take time to engage with your MSP to determine the best approach to purchasing equipment for your organization.  

Benefits of moving to Windows 11 

Moving your entire organization over to Windows 11 is no easy task, but doing so ensures you will be prepared for Windows 10 to retire in 2025. You will also experience peace of mind knowing that you have the latest updates available for your operating system in terms of upgrades and security patches. 

Interested in learning more?  

Our IT Services team is happy to help clients navigate Windows 11 upgrades and lifecycle management. If you would like to learn more, contact us.