Microsoft began rolling out Windows 11 — the company’s first major update in six years — last week on Oct. 5. It is available as a free download for existing Windows 10 users, but you may not have received the notification on your PC because Microsoft is rolling it out in phases. Those first in line will have the newest devices, so if your computer is older, prepare to be patient.
Microsoft said the launch will be “phased and measured,” with new eligible devices getting the upgrade first and the rest getting offered the free upgrade sometime between October and mid-2022. Microsoft is making sure that those who purchase a new laptop prior to Windows 11 being pre-installed by manufacturers will be able to update first.
If you are in the market for a new laptop, make sure to check that the laptop you are purchasing has Windows 11 pre-installed because you will know that your new machine can run it. And while most newer PCs will be compatible with the new operating system, buying one that already runs Windows 11 will save you the hassle of upgrading it yourself.
For those who will be upgrading their Windows 10 system, be on the lookout over the next six months for a notification from Windows Update letting you know when Windows 11 is available to you. If you are one of the lucky ones who receive this notification over the next few weeks, I urge you to wait a bit longer. Let Microsoft release an update or two before you proceed to avoid the problems early downloaders have encountered. Updates are released on the second Tuesday of each month. To be safe, I’d wait until after Tuesday, Nov. 9, which will be the second update to Windows 11, to download the new operating system. Waiting is especially important for those who have a single computer that they rely on — an issue could mean big delays and you’d likely have to wait another month for a fix.
We shouldn’t be surprised that such a massive update would have issues. It’s true that Windows 11 has been available for beta testing since last June, but considering all of the makes, models and configurations of PCs, there are still bound to be problems now that it is in the hands of the public. For instance, reports have emerged that some people are experiencing a slow Wi-Fi connection when streaming movies, using VPNs and just browsing the internet. According to Microsoft’s “Windows 11 known issues and notifications” page, the issue is caused by an incompatibility between Windows 11 and Intel “Killer” and “SmartByte” networking software. Microsoft said it is working on a resolution and targeting its release in the Oct. 12 security update.
When you are ready to update, backup all important documents on your computer before you initiate the process. You can upload documents to the cloud, such as Microsoft’s OneDrive or Google Drive, or copy them onto an external hard drive or convenient thumb drive. If, for some reason, you run into trouble during the upgrade, your files will be safe and accessible, albeit by another device.
For those of you who want to upgrade to Windows 11 now and have not received an official notification from Microsoft, do not be lured into a fake version. Fakes could come with a big dose of malware and other harmful elements. To avoid them, only purchase and download from Microsoft if you are not already running Windows 10. Do not follow any links you see on social media or that you have received in an email. There are no legitimate means to jump the line, so be patient.
There are always holdouts when it comes to upgrading to a new operating system. Why? Because they’re familiar with their current system or perhaps their machines won’t support Windows 11. In either case, you can safely continue using Windows 10 through October 2025 when Microsoft will end its support for it.
Leslie Meredith has been writing about and reviewing personal technology for the past nine years. She has designed and manages several international websites and now runs the marketing for a global events company. As a mom of four, value, usefulness and online safety take priority. Have a question? Email Leslie at [email protected]