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Issue #751: December 12-18, 2021

Q: I received the dreaded Windows 11 update which said my computer is not compatible for Windows 11. My question is how long is Windows 10 going to last so I know when to buy a new computer. My computer is about 6-7 years old Dell.

 – Howard S.
Valparaiso, Florida

A: Thanks for the question, Howard, and for opening the door for me to talk a little about Windows 11.  When Microsoft did its first go-round announcing the system requirements for the upcoming release of Windows 11, it was a rather shocking experience for people even mildly tuned into the world of technology.  I won’t bother enumerating the original list but suffice it to say that it first appeared that only new, or nearly new PCs would have any hope of meeting what seemed like an unnecessary overkill of requirements.  The blowback was swift, and Microsoft responded, and the latest requirements are somewhat more reasonable.

There are scads of articles online that cover the question of “Will my computer run Windows 11?” so I don’t feel the need to belabor that issue here.  A quick web search will provide you all the links you need to articles that enumerate the system requirements.  Now, having that list is different than understanding it and knowing whether your PC meets the specifications.  If the answers that I get on the column’s question submittal form to “Describe your computer” are any indication, most people have little to no idea of what’s under the hood of their PC.  To help you, Microsoft has enhanced their PC Health Check app which you can download at Install and run it, and it will tell you if your computer meets the requirements for Windows 11.  If it doesn’t, the tool will tell you why and offer links for more information.  Microsoft has said that Windows 11 should work with most PCs, so this is the best way to see whether it will work for you.

If you find that Windows 11 will indeed work on your PC, you might not be able to get an upgrade right away.  Unlike Windows 10’s rollout, when Microsoft was pushing the new OS broadly to just about everybody, with Windows 11 they have set a target for mid-2022 for all eligible devices to be able to download and install it.  Of course, new PCs are the exception, and they will either come with Win11 already loaded, or will be eligible for immediate upgrade.

Windows 11 has actually been available as a full release (not a Beta, or other test version) since October.  I imagine that unless you’re already running it, or have done some independent research, you’re probably wondering just what the new OS has to offer.  Well, admittedly, I’m not running it either yet, but there’s plenty of information online.   Some of the highlights include improved performance (it’s supposed to be more snappy on your existing hardware).  It has a new look, in which Taskbar icons are centered and smaller.  Rather than being in the corner, the Start button will be on the left of this group.  There are new icon designs, window animations, and new sounds.  One feature I can’t wait to try is called Snap Layouts, where you can choose a layout scheme from available templates, and your open windows will automatically arrange themselves on the screen.  Also in the offing is a completely redesigned Settings app, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the App Store has acquired new abilities, including Android apps, and new movies and TV, which can be wirelessly cast to Smart TVs.  There’s plenty more.  Google “Windows 11 new features” to see for yourself.

Lest you think I forgot the heart of your original question, Howard, the answer is that Windows 10 is scheduled for End-of-life on October 14, 2025.  But you asked how long Win10 is going to “last.”  I must emphasize that an end-of-life date does not mean that it will suddenly cease functioning.  Rather, it means that Microsoft will no longer distribute patches after that date, so any new security vulnerabilities will not be fixed.  So, consider yourself notified!  You have nearly four years to prepare for this.  I say that, but Windows 10 has been available for free since July 2015, and I still hear from people on a regular basis who are still running Win7 or Win8, so I expect that some people will insist on being left in the dust. 

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