Microsoft releases Windows 11 this month, October 5, 2021 (https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2021/08/31/windows-11-available-on-october-5/), and businesses may not want to upgrade just yet. The new version of Windows will come with some significant user experience tweaks that users may not like, certain programs could have problems with it, and Microsoft has a track record of releasing unpopular versions of Windows between good ones.
Let’s look at recent history. Most would agree that Windows XP was excellent (so good that many failed to upgrade years after Microsoft stopped supporting it), Windows Vista was bad, Windows 7 was good, Windows 8 was bad, and Windows 10 was good. Based on that track record, we’re due for another unpopular one. The changes to the Start Menu alone will likely turn a lot of people off. Remember how bad Windows 8’s Start system was?
We should also expect Microsoft to roll out the new operating system like how Windows 10 was offered; a popup telling you about an upgrade to Windows that you might or might not read followed by an automatic upgrade where you reboot your computer and suddenly everything looks different. They have promised a phased approach like the Windows 10 rollout, and you should still be able to opt-out. Microsoft recommends using OneDrive because it can “help keep your files secure and make it easier to transition through the upgrade.” This likely means that they want you to have your Desktop, Documents, and Pictures “backing up” like OneDrive asks you to during setup. This sounds like there could be some problems with upgrades that they are already aware of, or it could just be a precaution for the usual problems associated with major upgrades on older hardware that might have drive corruption.
On the other hand, Microsoft claims that Windows 11 is “optimized for speed, efficiency and improved experiences with touch, digital pen and voice input.” This sounds like what they claimed about Windows 8, again trying to make the operating system more appealing to those that want to use their computer more like an iPad or other tablet, but still have full access to Windows-based programs. We’ll have to wait and see if those improvements are genuinely useful, and Forge IT plans to test it out as soon as it is available on some select computers. Expect a review of Windows 11 in the near future.
Windows 10 is still going to be supported through October 14, 2025, so there is plenty of time between this rollout and when you cannot safely stay on Windows 10 any longer. Microsoft is likely to offer the free upgrade for much less time, though. If it works like the Windows 10 upgrade, there will be a deadline past which you will have to pay for the upgrade if you want it.
Forge IT Consulting recommends all businesses hold off on upgrading to Windows 11 in the near term. It’s usually not beneficial to be one of the first to adopt a new operating system since the new features rarely outweigh the inevitable bugs that are left to be worked out. If your computer automatically upgrades anyway and you want to go back, you’ll likely have a limited time to do so, like the upgrade to Windows 10. Not all computers will meet the minimum system requirements either (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-11-specifications), so if you want to know if your computer can run Windows 11, Forge IT can help you find out.
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