Windows 11 has arrived!
As promised, this week's column gives you more information on the brand new Windows 11 operating system that became officially available on Oct. 5 to many, but not all, PC users whose computer hardware meets the prerequisites. I use the word "many" as it has become a common industry practice to release new operating systems to users in waves rather than everyone eligible at once.
First, a recap:
Microsoft will support computers running Windows 8.1 until Jan. 10, 2023, and until Oct. 14, 2025, for computers running Windows 10.
As you may have realized, your computer running Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 did not cease to work when Windows 11 became available a couple weeks ago.
When Microsoft ends support – i.e. stops providing monthly security updates – any unsupported version of Windows will still continue to work but it is strongly recommended that you move to a supported operating system version before that happens to minimize the risk of being victimized.
To prioritize "security," most importantly to keep your data private and safe, one of Microsoft's prerequisites for Windows 11 is the existence of a hardware component, i.e. a "chip" that is on the motherboard, called TPM 2.0 that is responsible for security related functions. The other prerequisite is for your computer's processor (Central Processing Unit or "CPU") to be on Microsoft's list of approved processors.
Usually I have a rule of thumb for everything technology. However, a rule of thumb as to how young a computer should be to be able to be upgraded to Windows 11 is challenging due to the above prerequisites. Thankfully, there's an easier solution and you don't have to be a geek. Just let Microsoft tell you whether your computer cuts the mustard or not!
Assuming your computer is connected to the internet, visit microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-11, scroll all the way down until you find the dark gray box with the blue clickable words "download this version of PC Health Check app."
Run the installation file the above link downloaded and when the PC Health Check application opens, you will see a rectangular blue button with white writing that says "Check Now" toward the top. Clicking that button will check your computer. It will tell you with a checkmark in a green-filled, "x" with a red-filled, or an "!" in a yellow-flled circle as to whether your computer meets these prerequisites. My workhorse laptop, procured in 2016, unfortunately doesn't cut the mustard as you can see in the picture, so this workhorse will continue to run Windows 10. I'm perfectly fine with that.
We will continue to update you in future columns!
Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.
As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation.