Are You Ready for Windows 11?



On Oct. 5, Microsoft launched its free upgrade to the next generation of its premier operating system (OS), Windows 11. Not every Windows customer received notice that their PC was ready to upgrade, however. For some, this means that Windows is working to complete the compatibility of the new OS with certain components. For others…this could mean that your computer needs more upgrading than you think. So, are you ready for Windows 11, and even if you are, should you get the upgrade? Let’s break it down.

Luckily, breaking it down is easier than you think as Microsoft partnered its release of the upgrade to Windows 11 with a full run down of system requirements and a downloadable PC Health Check to help you the determine the most important factor to any system upgrade: Will it run on your computer? For some, no matter how much RAM or hard drive space they pack into their machines, their computer will not meet the necessary specs as Windows 11 requires a 64-bit processor (CPU) and a few people are still running 32-bit components in their PCs and laptops. Technically, CPUs are upgradeable, but it is not nearly as straightforward a process as installing faster RAM or larger hard drives. Upgrading a processor from 32-bit could mean a new 64-bit compatible motherboard is also necessary. More importantly, most people are not prepared to gut their computers to get at the CPU and paying for that service (and the parts) is typically less cost effective than upgrading the whole machine to something new.

That said, should you be rushing out to buy a new computer that will run the new OS? Not necessarily. Windows 10 support will continue for the next four years, until Oct. 14, 2025, according to CNet1. The full rollout of Windows 11 is not projected to be completed until sometime through mid-2022. Even so, the current upgrade is free, and you can bet that it won’t stay that way for long. So, if your machine is eligible for the upgrade, you might be debating on whether it’s worth learning a new OS right now, as opposed to waiting until it’s more familiar but also no longer free. As you weigh your options, there are three considerations which could help you make that final decision.

Watch the official demo. Windows 10 borrowed several features from its predecessors, essentially marrying already familiar interfaces between Windows 8 and Windows 7. Windows 11, in contrast, looks and functions quite differently. In fact, many agree that it more closely resembles Apple’s iOS than either of the two previous iterations of Windows. Even if you have some experience with Apple, setting aside 20 minutes to watch the official demo will let you decide if you, personally, are ready to make that leap.

Software compatibility. Will your accounting software run on Windows 11? Tech Advisor reports that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, compatibility with Windows 10 apps and tools will continue into Windows 11. In fact, after the upgrade, all of your apps and almost all of the software currently downloaded on the machine will emerge intact. Notable exceptions include 3D Viewer, OneNote, Paint 3D and Skype, but even those will be available to reinstall on the other side2. As for accounting-specific software, if it runs in a browser there’s little reason to be concerned. However, erring on the side of caution, especially if your software is client-side and does not run in a browser, it is best to check with its publisher ahead of time.

Security. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, is the issue of security. According to PC Magazine, the stricter hardware requirements for running Windows 11 are part of Microsoft’s approach to eliminating many of the security holes currently being exploited by cyber criminals. Specifically, it requires a PC capable of Secure Boot, which prevents malware from attacking the boot process. Further, the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) noted in the Windows 11 requirements is another key differentiating factor between this iteration of Windows and its predecessor. The TPM serves to store cryptographic keys and protect your OS and firmware and, unlike software-based random-number algorithms, is invulnerable to attack. These two factors alone completely neutralize an entire class of malware vulnerabilities which are known to subvert the Windows boot process or get into the system before boot to take over a computer3. Can’t believe it? Read PC Magazine’s deep dive into TPMs here.

Still can’t decide? That’s okay. There is still plenty of time to form your opinion and make preparations, whether it’s verifying your computer will run Windows 11 or wrapping your head around a whole new interface. In the meantime, as Microsoft continues its roll out, the MICPA will be following its progress and keeping our members updated on new features, security risks/benefits and more. Follow our channels for updates like this, and other tech news or log on to MICPA Connect to share your experiences with Windows 11 so far!

  1. Teague, Katie. “Windows 10 Support Ends in 2025…CNet. 5 Oct. 2021. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.
  2. Copeman, Anyron. “Will Windows 10 Apps Still Work on Windows 11?Tech Advisor. 27 Jul. 2021. Accessed 22 Oct. 2021.
  3. Rubenking, Neil J. “Windows 11 is Ultra-Secure, Don’t Mess it Up.PC Magazine. 18 Oct. 2021. Accessed on 22 Oct. 2021. 

Source: MICPA

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