Finally, the anticipation of enthusiastic Windows users will come to an end. Microsoft is set to release Windows 11 officially on coming October 5. Since this new OS is launching after more than six years of the arrival of Windows 10, many of you might be eager to upgrade to it and experience the all-new features and UI it brings.
However, considering the past experience of the Windows 10 Updates troubles, it might be a disaster if you try to install Windows 11 without getting your machine prepared for it. After all, this is not just a feature or patch update; it is, in fact, a complete operating system upgrade.
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So, if you are intrigued by the news going around of Windows 11 new developments and planning to upgrade to Windows 11 from your current OS, here is a checklist for you to consider before moving any further.
Checklist for upgrading to Windows 11
- Verify the Hardware Compatibility
- Security Apps Compatibility
- Frequent Apps Support
- The Rollback Option
- Know how it will serve you better than Windows 10
- Get Information about Current Problems
Verify the Hardware Compatibility
The most obvious and essential step is to verify whether your current machine’s hardware components are compatible with the all-new Windows 11 or not. Since Microsoft is introducing few significant changes, like UI transformation, security measures, and more, Windows 11 demands special hardware requirements to work effectively. Additionally to focus more on security aspect, Microsoft is making it hard for old PC/laptop to upgrade to Windows 11. The mandatory requirements like TPM 2.0 might prevent you from upgrading your relatively older PC to Windows 11.
Here is the list of official Minimum System Requirements released by Microsoft for Windows 11:
|Processor||1 GHz or more with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor Generation 8 or newer|
|Storage||64 GB of free storage for installation (more for keeping it updated)|
|Graphics Card||Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver|
|TPM||Trusted Platform Module version 2.0|
|Firmware||UEFI, Secure Boot capable|
|Display||High Definition (720p)|
|Screen Size||Greater than 9″ Diagonally|
Check whether your PC meets all the listed specifications and, if possible, upgrade some hardware components that you can replace, like RAM, to make your machine Windows 11 ready.
If you cannot verify your device compatibility or are unsure about some requirements, Microsoft has provided a simple tool that would help you in it. The PC Health Check App was removed by Microsoft because of the controversy it created. However, Microsoft has recently updated and relaunched it.
- On your Web Browser, navigate to this URL(https://aka.ms/GetPCHealthCheckApp ) to direct download the PC Health Check App from Microsoft.
- Install the app upon its download and launch it.
- On the App window, click on Check now button under the Introducing Windows 11 heading.
- If your PC ticks all the requirements for Windows 11, you will see this box.
- Click on See all results to know in detail about the hardware configuration of your device that matches with the Windows 11 demands.
- In case your PC’s hardware components are incompatible with Windows 11, the app will display this pop-up.
Security Apps Compatibility
Security apps are the most crucial software components on your computer. The applications like antimalware/antivirus, Firewall, Password Vaults, and others are the basis for your device’s security and privacy. If you are planning to switch towards Windows 11, it is essential to know whether the security applications that you are currently subscribed to will be compatible with Windows 11 or not.
The good news is that Microsoft has already mentioned that all the applications that Windows 10 supports will be by default supported by Windows 11 too. However, the thing with security apps is that they have to be robust enough to protect the new feature-loaded Windows 11, especially when the OS is in its initial stage.
If you rely on the Windows’ inbuilt Microsoft Defender security program, then you don’t have much to worry about. It is evident that Microsoft will design the Defender as per the requirements of Windows 11. On the other hand, if you use any third-party security application, you have to ensure whether that provider will upgrade their application to match up with Windows 11 or not. If yes, then will the updated application be available immediately after the launch of Windows 11?
If you could get a satisfactory answer to this question, you can tick mark this box and move on to the next.
Frequent Apps Support
Apart from the security applications, you might have other applications that you frequently use on your computer, which are equally important as you might depend on those for your work. Though, as already mentioned, the applications that work well on Windows 10 would indeed work on Windows 11 as well, but still, some adjustments might have to be made so that there are no vulnerabilities or loopholes in the apps while they are on the new OS.
Many software developers might have already started to work on this, but because of the sudden announcement of the Windows 11 official release, some native Windows 10 applications might not be fully ready for Windows 11 till October 5.
So, before upgrading, make sure that all the applications you frequently use and are requisite for your work are ready for Windows 11; otherwise, in anticipation of getting the feel of all-new OS, you might disturb your workflow.
The Rollback Option
This is another crucial thing to verify. After upgrading to Windows 11, certain unintended circumstances might arise that could force you to downgrade back to Windows 10. Maybe some software you use on Windows 10 is not fluently working on Windows 11, or it is also possible that after switching to Windows 11, you might experience some bugs or glitches forcing you to revert to Windows 10.
In any case, there should be an option to easily roll back to Windows 10 from Windows 11 without any data loss or any need for reinstallation. Fortunately, while testing Windows 11 through the Insider Program, I found this option in it.
On Windows 11, if you navigate to Settings -> System -> Recovery, you will get the Go back button. Clicking on it and following the on-screen instructions after that would take you back to the Windows 10 OS.
An important point to note is, this option will only be available if you have upgraded to Windows 11 from Windows 10 without external installation, i.e., through an ISO file.
If you have freshly installed Windows 11 through a bootable device, the Go back option will not be available.
Know how it will serve you better than Windows 10
If your system is already working perfectly on Windows 10, then before switching to Windows 11, it would be good to know what better features Windows 11 will provide you than Windows 10. In my extensive testing of Windows 11 right from its beta release, I have found the following main differences between the two OSs.
New Additions to Windows 11:
- Android App Support: This is one of the significant addition to the Windows 11 OS. Now, users won’t be required to install external emulators to run the Android applications. Microsoft is collaborating with the Amazon App Store so that Windows 11 users can directly install Android apps on their devices. However, please note that Microsoft has mentioned that this functionality will not be available in the initial release.
- Fresh UI: If you are bored with the usual Windows 10 interface and want something new and refreshing, you might definitely want to try Windows 11. After many years Microsoft has finally worked on the UI of Windows and given an altogether different look to Windows 11. There is a new taskbar, Start Menu, File Explorer, and more.
- Better Touchscreen, Voice, and Pen Support: Although Microsoft had already highly improved the support for touchscreen through Windows 10 by providing options such as Tablet Mode, with Windows 11, you will get an even better touch experience. Microsoft has added a new touchscreen keyboard, added more space between icons on the taskbar, and improved gestures. Windows 11 also adds haptics to your digital pen, so you can hear and feel vibrations as you use it for taking notes or drawing. In addition, the all-new Windows 11 OS comes with voice typing and commands across the system.
Features Excluded in Windows 11:
- Cortana is not enabled by default and not pinned to the taskbar.
- Quick Status from the Lockscreen and associated settings are removed.
- Windows Timeline feature is removed.
- Tablet Mode is eliminated, and new functionality and capability are included for keyboard attach and detach postures.
- Skype, 3D Viewer, OneNote, and Paint 3D are not available by default on Windows 11. However, you can install them through Microsoft App Store.
- Internet Explorer is discontinued. Edge is the new default browser.
Get Information about Current Problems
If you have reached this section, then presumably, you have ticked all the above boxes and are confident enough to switch to Windows 11. However, there is one more thing you might want to consider. Right after its beta release in June, many Windows Insider Programmer users like me are thoroughly testing the Windows 11 functionalities. During testing, many bugs and other vulnerabilities are being detected. Although it is still in the testing phase, and Microsoft would ensure their best to fix those before the final release; still some of those problems might remain intact in at least the first release.
Considering that, it is advisable to check what issues Windows 11 is currently going through, and if those issues can affect your work, you can wait for at least a month or two to upgrade after the initial launch.
To know about the latest problems in Windows 11, you can follow blogs like XDA-Developers or Neowin.
Try Insider Preview (Optional)
Although this step is not mandatory, it would be better that you try Windows 11 on your secondary machine before permanently upgrading to it. Even if you don’t have a second PC, you can easily dual-boot Windows 11 with your current Windows 10 PC.
By testing Windows 11 beforehand, you might get an instant idea of whether to join it immediately or not.
Opinion: Should you switch to Windows 11 instantly?
If you are an avid Windows OS user, all this buzz going around Windows 11 and its features will surely catch your eyes and might intrigue you to try it as soon as you can. But if your machine is already running pretty well on the latest version of Windows 10, should you upgrade to Windows 11 right away?
The simple answer is NO because historically, Microsoft has been known for serving uncooked updates to users. The new Windows updates are mostly harsh on the system and cause multiple issues. It would be a lot better to hold off your eagerness and wait at least a month or two before finally switching from Windows 10, even if you have checkmarked all the requirements.
Eventually, you will have to switch to Windows 11 as support to Windows 10 will end in October 2025. However, you don’t have to wait for that much.
The bottom line is, if your hardware is incompatible and one or more of the options from the checklist is unchecked, you should not (won’t be able to) upgrade to Windows 11. And even if your device is compatible and all the pre-requisites are ticked, you should wait for some time to get knowledge of inevitable bugs and issues of the initial Windows 11 release before getting your hands on it.
Peter is an Electrical Engineer whose primary interest is tinkering with his computer. He is passionate about Windows 10 Platform and enjoys writing tips and tutorials about it.
3 thoughts on “Windows 11 Upgrade Checklist : Is your Computer Ready?”
I don’t have a heavy technical background and yet it was very easy to understand. Thanks peter, it was a great great help!
Are there workarounds (ie registry key additions/entries) that will allow WIN11 to install on machines that don’t meet all of the requirements (TPM, etc)?
Currently, Microsoft is allowing every machine to install Windows 11 (I have tested it on a 6th Gen Processor). We have to wait for the official release to find out the workarounds.