Windows 11 was launched in October 2021, and Microsoft has been working on patching and improving it steadily since then.
At first, early users seemed to deal with an endless list of Windows 11 problems, but Microsoft has been working on addressing weaknesses in Windows 11. While it’s still not the operating system, I think it could be — heck, it’s still even The operating system Microsoft promised us – Windows 11 is in better shape now than ever.
This begs the question: Is it time to jump on the hype train and upgrade to Windows 11? It’s a question I get asked a lot, usually when someone glimpses the central start menu on my laptop screen. The answer depends on what kind of computer you have and what you’re using it for, but my answer in general is: sure, if you’re interested.
Windows 11 is Microsoft’s vision for the future of PC operating systems, and overall, it’s a simpler, more streamlined, and more secure course on Windows 10. If you don’t meet the minimum hardware requirements or you’ve tuned your PC to excel in one specific application (on For example, gaming or video editing), you may want to stay away longer.
But if your PC meets the strict Microsoft Windows 11 system requirements and you don’t mind the software and hardware compatibility issues that come with a new operating system, then it’s time to upgrade. Read on to find out why.
Windows 11 system requirements
Before looking into whether you should upgrade to Windows 11, it is important to check if you can. Microsoft has some very steep system requirements for this version of Windows, most notably requiring that TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 2.0 be installed on your computer.
You can read our guide on What is TPM? Here’s why you need it for Windows 11 for an in-depth summary of what these modules do and how to tell if you have one, but in a nutshell: TPM 2.0 support is required by Windows 11, and despite many laptops and PCs sold in the few years past already, and may be disabled by default. Consult your laptop or motherboard manufacturer to see if your computer supports TPM 2.0 that can be enabled via BIOS.
- CPU: 1 GHz or faster with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or system on a chip (SoC)
- RAM: 4GB
- storage: 64 GB is bigger
- System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot Capable
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) v2.0
- Photographers card: Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
- an offer: HD screen (720p) larger than 9 inches diagonally, 8 bits per color channel
- Internet: Windows 11 Home requires an Internet connection and a Microsoft account to complete device setup on first use.
(And yes, you can actually upgrade to Windows 11 without TPM 2.0 if you really want to, but the hassle and risk is rarely worth it given how slight the difference between Windows 10 vs. 11 is.)
How to check if your computer is compatible with Windows 11
If you’re not sure what hardware your PC has, or you want to make doubly sure you’ll be able to upgrade to Windows 11 when the time comes, there is a way to check. Simply download the Windows PC Health Check app from the official Windows 11 page.
Once you have installed and opened the application, you will need to select the Windows 11 logo at the top of the page and click Make sure now.
Health Check will immediately tell you if your computer is capable of running Windows 11 or not. While the app wasn’t much useful when running, forcing Microsoft to take the tool offline for a while, the PC Health Check is now back and more useful in telling you why your PC isn’t ready for Windows 11.
Windows 11 vs Windows 10
Before we get into why you should or shouldn’t upgrade, let’s quickly jump into the main new features unique to Windows 11.
While there are a myriad of minor changes affecting everything from the appearance of menus to the location of specific settings, here are the main ones worth knowing about:
- Overhauled visual design: Almost every corner of Windows 11 has been updated to accommodate the Microsoft Fluent Design language, which focuses on rounded corners, central text, and larger, more colorful icons. Much of the interface is easier to navigate via the touchscreen, and it does a much better job of intelligently adapting when you connect or disconnect displays. Hey, Windows apps (like Notepad) are finally getting dark mode.
- New start menu: In addition to being in the center of the taskbar by default (although you can move it back to the left side using the taskbar settings menu), the Windows 11 start button opens up a simpler and more streamlined Start menu. There is now a clear search bar above two simple and customizable sections: one for installed apps and one for files/applications recommended by Windows 11 (such as recently opened files).
- List of new widgets: Windows 11 users can cause part of the widgets and automatically updated news stories to pop out from the left side of the screen. It’s a neat feature, but in my experience, it’s mostly a useless one.
- New tools for managing windows/desktops: The new Snap Assist feature in Windows 11 is one of my favorites, because it makes arranging windows on the desktop easier. Simply hover your cursor over the minimize/maximize button in the top-right corner of any app window and Windows 11 will show you a list of potential window layouts to choose from. You can also use the new task view on the taskbar to organize and switch between different desktops as well, which can be an easy way to isolate work from fun.
- Native Android App Support: Although it’s not running quietly yet, Microsoft has promised that Windows 11 will natively run Android apps thanks to Intel Bridge Technology. Although this feature didn’t work at launch, Windows 11 users can finally experience limited Android apps as Microsoft inches closer to bringing full support for the native Android app on Windows 11.
You should upgrade to Windows 11 if…
…you and your computer are ready and willing.
That’s really all there is to it for most of us. If your PC qualifies, upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10 should be free, so the only potential drawback is your fear of change.
And while some of that fear may be justified, I think in general you’ll find Windows 11 to be a very harmless operating system. Despite the remarkably stringent system requirements, the new and improved Windows, outwardly, is very similar to Windows 10, and having tested it myself since launch, I can tell you that it is quite usable. The biggest change you’ll notice when you upgrade is the new design: Windows 11 still has the traditional desktop and taskbar, but there are now some new buttons on the taskbar next to the Start button and they’re all in the middle instead of clustered in the left corner.
There are also some useful new options for arranging windows on the desktop. Microsoft calls this new feature Snap Assist, It makes it easy to arrange open applications on the desktop into layouts and groups.
Much like Windows 11, Snap Assist is a more refined version of the Windows 10 feature — specifically, the way you can actually “align” windows on preconfigured layouts on Windows 10. But in Windows 11, instead of having to Dragging them in position (or learn about keyboard shortcuts), you can just hover your cursor over the minimize/maximize button in the top-right corner of any app window and Windows 11 will show you a list of window layouts to choose from.
Once you get used to this, and the rounder and more streamlined look of Windows 11 menus in general, you’ll see the biggest change Microsoft has in store for you.
While Windows 11 keeps getting updates that add or improve features (not to mention patch bugs), most of these features are either available on Windows 10 as well or aren’t worth worrying about unless you have specific, specific needs. There are some great security features in Windows 11 Pro that IT professionals can use to protect work laptops, for example, but most of us don’t need to stress this kind of enterprise-wide security.
You don’t have to get too excited about the new Windows 11 Widgets, which should sound familiar to anyone who’s used the Live Tiles functionality in Windows 10. In my experience, the list of widgets isn’t very useful unless you’ve already done bonus auto-update modules that display data like Local weather, stock updates, and news stories curated based on news preferences and interests. It’s fine, but mostly weird functions your phone can do better.
Windows 11 also comes with some great gaming-related features like Auto HDR and DirectStorage support which brings the greatest strengths of Xbox Series X to PC, but Microsoft has also made these features available on Windows 10. And since Microsoft promised to support Windows 10 with updates and even security patches In 2025, there is no need to rush to upgrade.
You should stop upgrading to Windows 11 if…
…your computer is not up to par, or you love using outdated applications and equipment.
If your PC doesn’t meet the minimum system requirements for Windows 11, you don’t have to worry about upgrading. Sure, Windows 11 system requirements can be bypassed in ways that will allow you to upgrade anyway, but in my experience, it’s not really worth it. You don’t get much in terms of unique features, and Microsoft has warned that you’re upgrading older PCs at your own risk.
Additionally, Windows 11 is getting bolder about annoying users on unsupported PCs with warnings that their PC isn’t about to crash. Bear in mind the fact that Microsoft is testing ads in Windows 11 and starting to see why you should keep using Windows 10 for longer.
Also, if you built your own computer or use a lot of outdated specialized apps and equipment, such as streaming cameras or open source audio/video transcoding software, you may want to hold off on upgrading until you know for sure that you are reliable. The tools will work with Windows 11. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer or developer.
Should I upgrade to Windows 11? to rule
Windows 11 isn’t an all-around success for Microsoft, but at this point I’m confident it’s stable and usable enough that you feel safe to upgrade – if your PC qualifies, of course.
While there are at least 3 big changes in Windows 11 that I want to see in 2022, as it stands, I think it’s a perfectly acceptable operating system that you can install as well while Microsoft is still releasing free upgrades. In many ways, Windows is more streamlined and smart, especially if you’re using a touchscreen or multiple monitors, and I think a visual redesign is a good idea.
But if you’re still hesitant, there’s no real reason why you should upgrade to Windows 11 right away. As long as you’re using Windows 10, you’ll have access to many of the key features of Windows 11 (such as Auto HDR and virtual desktops) as well as important updates and security patches until 2025. By this point, Windows 11 should be in place Better than it is now and who knows? We’ll probably start wondering what Windows 12 might look like.