How to Upgrade to Windows 11
Windows 10 users can now upgrade to Windows 11. As with all previous versions, it is free for paid or licensed users. Many new laptops are now pre-installed with this latest iteration, and for those who are still using Windows 10, don’t fret. This Windows update for Microsoft started rolling out on October 5, 2021, and is expected to continue well into 2022.
Early reviews noted that the design, user experience, and feel of Windows 11 are a huge departure from Windows 10. It appears to be setting the tone for the new generation of Windows operating systems (OS) and showing the future of personal computing for licensed users with its many improvements and new features that boost your desktop’s performance and computing capabilities.
This article will show you the steps plus some tips for updating your OS. We’ll also provide the minimum system requirements, reviews, and details about this new OS.
Steps to Upgrade to Windows 11
There are several ways to update your computer, and we’ll show four methods. You can choose the best one for you:
- Download Using the Windows Software Update
This is the easiest and simplest method on this list. All compatible Windows PC devices will receive the notice, and newer and more modern computing devices usually receive the rollout first. Once you receive the prompt on your desktop notifications, you can download the Installation Assistant and follow the steps to install the latest OS.
If your desktop notification feature fails or gets delayed, you can manually check if the update is already available for your device. Head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for Updates. Find the message, “Feature update to Windows 11.” There should be a link that will take you to a download page. You won’t have to do much because the program will run the installation for you.
Step 1: Download the Installation Assistant.
Step 2: Click Run (requires administrator privileges to install).
Step 3: Wait for the system to acknowledge if your hardware and software are compatible with Windows 11.
Step 4: Review the license terms and click Accept and Install.
Step 5: Wait for the system to finish installing.
Step 6: Wait for the restart prompt and click Restart Now.
It is normal for your PC to restart a few more times at this stage. Follow the Installation Assistant and do not turn off your PC until the process is complete.
Microsoft announced that the rollout will be slow and that some customers might get it in 2022. But if you want to do it now and you’re sure that your device is compatible, you can take the manual route instead. The following sections show how to do this.
- Download and Install Using Windows Insider Program
Suppose you’ve verified that your computer is compatible with Windows 11, but you haven’t received the rollout link yet. You can use the Windows Insider Program, a feature that allows Windows users to try test versions still in development.
Step 1: Head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program. Click Get Started.
Step 2: Link your Microsoft Account to the Insider Program.
Step 3: Wait for a pop-up for choosing your Insider settings and select Release Preview Channel. Click Confirm.
Step 4: Accept the prompt to restart your PC (make sure you’ve saved all open work programs or apps).
Step 5: Once your PC is back on, go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for Updates. You should receive the official prompt and proceed following the steps described in the previous section.
Step 6: Once complete, return to the Windows Insider Program window, and opt out of the preview builds.
- Update Using the Media Creation Tool
The Media Creation Tool is a good option if you want to reinstall or clean install Windows 11 on any PC.
Step 1: Prepare a blank USB or DVD with at least 8GB.
Step 2: Go to Microsoft’s download page > Create Windows 11 Installation Media and click Download Now.
Step 3: Click Run (requires administrator privileges to install).
Step 4: Accept the terms and conditions.
Step 5: Wait for the What do you want to do? page to load, then click Create installation media for another PC > Next.
Step 6: Choose your preferred settings (language, edition, etc.).
Step 7: Choose the media you will use
- USB flash drive – sends the file directly to a USB flash drive
- ISO file – saves the file to your PC, which you can mount right away to upgrade your OS. You can also use this ISO file to create a bootable DVD.
Proceed to the next step regardless of your choice.
Step 8: Double-click the downloaded ISO file if you are updating the same computer.
Syep 9: Locate the Setup file and Run it.
Step 10: Follow the steps to install the software.
- Create an Installation Media from the Disk Image (ISO) File
You can download an ISO file or send the software to a USB flash drive in the previous section. Note that saving the file in a USB does not automatically make it a bootable installer. You need to create a bootable USB drive or DVD with a third-party program like Rufus, an open-source application for Microsoft Windows that formats and creates bootable USB flash drives and DVDs.
Step 1: Go to Microsoft’s Windows 11 download page > Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO) and click Download Now. Alternatively, you can follow the steps in the previous section and choose ISO file in Step 7.
Step 3: Download and install Rufus.
Step 4: Insert a blank DVD or USB drive (which should have 8GB or more of available storage).
Step 5: Run Rufus, then select the ISO file. The program will automatically fill in the necessary settings.
Step 6: Click Start and wait for Rufus to finish creating your bootable installer.
The next steps describe how to install Windows 11 using a bootable USB drive or DVD.
Step 7: Plug the USB or insert the DVD into the PC you want to upgrade.
Step 8: Turn on the PC. It should automatically boot the USB or DVD and launch the installation software.
Step 9: Follow the instructions to select your preferences.
Step 10: Click Install Windows and follow the instructions.
Device Compatibility Check: Is Your PC Eligible for Upgrade?
For Windows 11 to run correctly, your PC must meet the following hardware and minimum system requirements:
OS: Licensed Windows 10 ver. 2004 or any more recent versions
Display: Over 9-inch, 720p high definition screen with 8 bits per color channel
Firmware: UEFI Secure Boot capable
Graphics card: DirectX12 compatible with WDDM 2.0 driver
Trusted Platform Module (TPM): ver. 2.0
Updating also requires a Microsoft account and a stable Internet connection. You can also view a more detailed list of requirements, such as the complete list of compatible processors, on the official website.
These requirements are necessary for performance. Tests with inadequate computing systems, software, and hardware showed that inadequate devices were 52 percent more likely to experience kernel-mode crashes (or the dreaded “blue screen of death”). On the other hand, compatible computers did not crash 99.8 percent of the time.
So, if you wish to experience the Windows 11 OS, consider the hardware and software specifications when buying a new laptop or desktop PC. If you want to upgrade your OS on your current computer but are unsure of its specs, you can use the PC Health Check app to assess its compatibility.
External Monitor Support with Windows 11: How to Set Up Multiple Monitors
For those who use multiple monitors for work or play, Windows 11 can support external monitors – four displays or more – that users need to configure after upgrading.
Step 1: Check that all cables are properly connected to your PC. Turn on the monitors.
Step 2: Go to Settings > System > Display to check if your computer detects all monitors.
Step 3: Once all screens are recognized, go to Settings > Windows Update > Check for updates > Advanced options > Optional updates. Look for a video driver update.
Step 4: Download and install.
Once your video driver is up to date and all screens are working, you can go ahead and configure your preferred display settings, like choosing a primary display, expanding the main desktop view over two monitors, and selecting scaling, orientation, resolution, etc.
Microsoft Windows 11 Features and Performance Reviews: Is It the Best?
Windows 11 has a high bar of minimum hardware and software requirements. The steep standards make upgrading difficult for those who have older computers, but they are necessary for innovation, more robust security, and improved computing performance.
In one of its reviews, ZDNet cites the following security features that users can look forward to:
- Better protection against malware – Following key deals with Intel to create the Pluton security co-processor, Microsoft introduced new hardware-based security features in 2019 and included them in the specs requirements for Windows 11. These “secured-core PCs” are 60 percent more resistant to malware than computers that don’t meet the exact hardware specifications. Additionally, the OS uses the Smart App Control, which blocks unsigned, suspicious applications by default.
- Improved anti-theft features – The new OS uses Credential Guard and Local Security Authority to enforce user authentication and Windows log-ins. Microsoft is also expected to launch Personal Data Encryption which is essentially a VPN service for Windows. This innovation encrypts data stored in the computer and only makes them accessible via passwordless credentials. Microsoft uses Fast Identity Online (FIDO) to require users to log in to their Microsoft account using an external security key (i.e., a PIN sent to the user’s smartphone). This feature ensures that thieves cannot access confidential data even if a device gets stolen.
CNet, meanwhile, highlights the new design and usability features:
- Mac-like interface – The desktop design, iconography, window shape, and layout resemble a Mac desktop. The start menu, for example, is now in the middle of the taskbar. The Office Suite has a sleeker, cleaner appearance with rounded corners and fonts. Minimizing and maximizing windows also resemble the way windows zoom in and out of the icons on a Mac.
- Android apps integration – Users can now install Android apps on their computers via the Amazon Appstore. It’s not yet a full-fledged Microsoft store compatibility upgrade: the Microsoft store hosts Android apps, but they redirect to the Amazon Appstore for installation.
- Virtual desktops – TWith its high-standard hardware requirements, the OS can support multiple open desktops at once. Users can smoothly switch between desktops, too, which is very useful for multitasking. It also has a Snap Groups and Snap Layouts feature that displays the recently-used and frequently-used apps on the taskbar.
- Microsoft Teams – A great fit for today’s hybrid work culture, the Chat app is integrated into the taskbar for easier and quicker access.
There are more new and improved features from Windows 10 that give Windows 11 the crown as the best iteration of the Windows OS. Its rollout has also been smoother and more well-received than its predecessor, which was rife with issues like bugs in the start menu, uncontrollable scrolling, faulty updates, failure to detect WiFi, and more.
There is still plenty of room for improvement, however. For example, partnering with Amazon might make it possible to integrate a native app that allows users to manage their Alexa home ecosystem through their laptops or desktops. Alternatively, the Android app integration might allow for Google Home apps to be integrated as well and finally allow users to control the lighting for smart offices, for example.
Updating to the latest version is just the first step if you want to get the most out of your Windows PC. Follow the steps described above to ensure that it is done properly. But if you feel more comfortable having an expert take care of it, SolveiQ offers the best solutions to ensure your PC is running optimally. You may call our 24/7 help center for assistance and other services, like our System Tuning and Enhanced Experience Services for enhanced computer speed and productivity.