With the release date of October 5, less than a month away, it’s time to think about when Windows users should switch from 10-11 (Helpful Hint: Don’t rush).
Date of announcement: Microsoft will begin offering Windows 11 on October 5th computers that fully meet your hardware requirements. But should you upgrade?
With Windows 11, the decision is not so clear.
It may seem strange, but once, customers used to queue up overnight at the local tech store to get a copy of the latest and greatest version of Microsoft. Now that we can update (assuming you have the right hardware), my recommendation is to wait. It’s best to make sure your important errors have been fixed before you install Windows 11 and make sure your vendors will support it.
Not only will early launch errors prevent me from deploying Windows 11 on the few systems I have that will support it. More than anything, I need to make sure that the key software I trust is compatible with any newer versions. This is what I look for before any update.
First, I check if my antivirus software is compatible with what I’m trying to install. I trust Microsoft Defender because I think it guarantees that Defender will support the operating system on launch day. I’ve looked at problems in the past, when third-party antiviruses didn’t support a version of Windows on the first day and caused problems. So check the antivirus you are using and make sure it is completely up to date or uninstall it if you plan to upgrade to Windows 11.
Then I check my Office package to see if it’s compatible with Windows 11. I have a Microsoft 365 subscription, so I know it will be compatible. But some older Office suites may opt out of support and, in particular, no longer support online services such as Microsoft 365 or Office 365. As of November 1, only Outlook 2013 SP1 and later will connect to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 .
Next, I check the apps I use daily for my own PCs or those in my office. I’ve already received notifications from vendors in my industry that they won’t be compatible with Windows 11 for months after launch. For example, Commerce Clearing House, a manufacturer of tax preparation software, indicated this will not support Windows 11 for the next tax preparation season starting in February 2022 and running until April 15 (assuming the tax deadline is not as early as in previous years).
Microsoft has already started releasing an optional update to KB5005101 to Windows 10 (released on September 1) which allows you to lock the next version of Windows 11.
As Microsoft points out in its release notes, it adds the «Target Product Version» policy. With this, administrators can specify the Windows product to which they want the devices to migrate or stay in it (for example, Windows 10 or Windows 11).
Specifically, Microsoft added a new value to the Group Policy setting in the «Select target role update» version. Prior to the upgrade, the setting had only one value to configure “Target version for updates to functions « . ENTER version information, as mentioned in aka.ms/ReleaseInformationPage . Once the preview update is installed, the settings will change specifically, allowing you to target Windows 10 or Windows 11.
Basically, the group policy has been extended to target both the release version of the features and the specific version of the Windows product. So if you have Windows 10 and you want to stay on Windows 10 for the foreseeable future , click the search box and type the group’s edit policy. Then scroll down to Computer Setup, then Administrative Templates, then Windows Components> Windows Update> Windows Business Update. Find the setting for Select the upgrade version of the target function. Click Enabled, fill in the version of the product in the first box («Windows 10»), then the release version of the features you want to keep.
Note: I don’t recommend installing this preview update at this time; it’s just to let you know that this value will be included in the September versions of Patch Tuesday. If you want to keep your computer or business computers on Windows 10, this is the setting to try.
Windows 10 Home cannot apply Group Policy, so you’ll need to use a registry key instead. There are two registry keys that are used to maintain a Windows 10 computer. ProductVersion is a REG_SZ with a Windows 10 data value. The second sets the release version of the features that you want to keep the system running. So you would add TargetReleaseVersion with a Reg_dword of 1 and TargetreleaseVersionInfo with a REG_SZ value of the version of Windows 10 that you want to continue running, for example 21H1.
So it would look like this:
Windows Registry Editor version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Policies Microsoft Windows WindowsUpdate]
«TargetReleaseVersion» = dword: 00000001
«ProductVersion» = «Windows 10»
«TargetReleaseVersionInfo» = «21H1»
If you want an easier way to set this value, you can use this link to set the value in Windows 10 with version 21H1 or this link to set the value for Windows 10 to version 21H2.
Microsoft has indicated that if you have hardware that is not officially supported, you can use an ISO to install Windows 11, but you may not receive security updates in the future. This is not something that anyone should want to do on computer systems. It threatens you as well as other computer users who would be vulnerable to attacks by this imperfect machine.
Bottom line: If your system does not support Windows 11, please do not try to install it. If your system can be upgraded to Windows 11, you wisely decide when (or if) you should upgrade. And use the guidance of your suppliers to decide when is the best time to go to 11.