By Janice Weber
If your computer running Windows 10 is compatible with the new Windows 11 you may download for free the new OS (operating system). Remember, you are putting more powerful software on your middle-aged computer. That is fine but you may run into issues. Your computer may run slower and there have been many glitches in this scenario. All are fixable but you will need some advice about where to start. I have seen printers fail to operate and a lot of slow issues.
Overall, Windows 11 feels like Windows 10 with a new sheet of paint. Windows 10’s strange weather widget has transformed into a whole Widgets pane, the new Store now includes desktop apps, there are new modern themes and icons, and many apps have been rethought and modernized, including the Settings app.
However, there are a few missing features that may impact certain workflows. For example, Windows 11’s taskbar is missing some features that were found in Windows 10’s. Windows 11’s taskbar is glued to the bottom of the screen, and you can’t drag and drop files and other items to taskbar icons, as you could on Windows 10. If either of these features is important to you, you might want to wait to upgrade. Microsoft already appears to be working on drag-and-drop support for the taskbar, so Windows 11’s taskbar may get an update that makes it more capable in six months or a year after release.
People who have work that depends on menus in the File Explorer might also be annoyed. Microsoft has modernized File Explorer’s context menus, and it now takes two clicks to find the old Windows context menus. Applications can add themselves to the new context menu, but most developers haven’t done the work yet to do so. If this kind of thing is going to be a problem for your workflow, you may want to hold off. There may be other issues too. Windows 11 may have odd bugs here and there, or specific hardware devices may not work perfectly with it at launch until drivers are updated. If you have a mission-critical computer that you need to “just work,” you may want to hold off on the upgrade, even if your PC is supported.
There’s no need to go out of your way to get the upgrade if you aren’t excited about running Windows 11 yet. If you wait a few months until Windows Update offers your PC the update, you can be sure there’s less breakage. However, if you’re excited about running Windows 11, don’t let me stop you! Despite a few missing features (we really want to move our taskbars), it’s overall a well-thought-out operating system. It’s great to see Microsoft taking polish more seriously. It’s also great to see Microsoft finally embracing desktop apps in the Store.
If you’re on the fence about Windows 11, you can install it and give it a try. For the first 10 days after you upgrade, you will have the option to downgrade back to Windows 10. (It’s at Settings > System > Recovery. Click “Go Back” under Recovery options. If the option is grayed out, it’s no longer available.) After the first 10 days, you can still downgrade a PC running Windows 11 back to Windows 10. However, you’ll have to perform a full reinstall of Windows 10, so you’ll have to reinstall all your applications and set everything up from scratch afterward.
In summary, let me tell you if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Keep your Windows 10 up to date (check for windows updates). Windows 10 is supported till October of 2025. I would only suggest purchasing a brand-new Windows 11 if you want the newest and greatest or your current computer is in need of retirement. If you are not in a hurry, I would hold off on the W11 until they have the bugs worked out. If you already have a new W11 computer, just check for updates often to keep up with the fixes and you will be fine. Remember there is only a ten-day window to roll back to W10 if you upgrade.
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Janis Weber, B.A., owner of Ohio Computer Training & Support, is a professional computer adjunct instructor. E-mail any specific questions or comments to JwPCtutor@Gmail.com or contact her for assistance at 419-290-3570. Private tutoring and repairs are just a phone call, text, or email away. Check me out on the Sylvania AdVantage website titled Computer 101.