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Tech Matters: Upgrading to Windows 11 and beyond

By Leslie Meredith - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Mar 29, 2023

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Leslie Meredith

Windows 11 was introduced more than a year ago and, still, just over 20% of users have upgraded their operating systems to the most modern version. Around 70% of U.S. PC users still run Windows 10, a system that Microsoft will stop supporting in October 2025. Once that date hits, the software will continue to work but won’t get updates, including those to close critical security gaps. And, for Windows 10 users, the upgrade to Windows 11 is free.

While 2025 may seem a long time away, it’s really not, especially when a major purchase is involved. You certainly don’t want to wait until the end-of-support date is upon you and be forced to make a quick decision. By preparing now, you can keep an eye out for good deals on a new PC and budget for the purchase.

If your PC is more than a few years old, there’s a good chance it’s not compatible with Windows 11. The hardware that allows a PC to run Windows 11 is significantly more demanding than the hardware to run Windows 10, and any machine running an earlier version of Windows will most certainly not be compatible with Windows 11. Microsoft has made the computer specifications for upgrading to Windows 11 clear and has warned: Your device might malfunction due to compatibility or other issues. Devices that do not meet the system requirements will no longer be guaranteed to receive updates, including but not limited to security updates. Further, Microsoft said damages to your PC due to lack of compatibility are not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

In addition to an impending end-of-support deadline, there are other more tangible signs you might need a new PC. Noisy fans, trouble with multitasking, and lengthy startup and shutdown times are all signs it is time for a new computer. Keep in mind that laptops typically last from three to five years, according to industry experts. Yours may last longer but it will become less capable of running advanced applications over time. Desktop units usually last longer (five to eight years), mainly because of their modular configuration that allows owners to upgrade individual components.

When you buy a new computer, you can look forward to more processing power, which translates into faster computing, faster startup times and the ability to run more applications simultaneously. But the big question is will that PC be a Windows 11 unit or a Windows 12? Based on leaked information about a new Intel chipset, Windows Central says Microsoft may be planning to release Windows 12 in 2024. Microsoft itself has released no information about its next Windows software.

However, if Windows 12 arrives in 2024, you would want to buy a compatible PC to ensure your new purchase lasts as long as possible. I’d estimate the arrival of new Windows 12 computers would be timed with the 2024 holiday season.

In the meantime, let’s look at what users gain when they upgrade to Windows 11. These benefits will apply to you if your machine is compatible with Windows 11 or if you are in the market for a new PC over the next year or so.

You’ll be able to turn on Focus mode for times when you want to limit distractions from your PC. In the taskbar, you’ll see a Focus button in the bottom right corner and set the timer for your session. With Focus mode on, notifications will be silenced, including sounds, banners and pop-ups, so you can work without being interrupted. You can also schedule Focus mode to be activated at certain times based on your schedule.

If you prefer using your voice rather than typing, Windows 11 makes it far easier to do that with a feature called Voice Typing. Click on the text box wherever you are going to write and press Windows Key + H. A small app with a microphone will pop up and start recording. As you speak, everything you say will appear on the screen. Stop Voice Typing by saying “Stop listening.”

Teams is integrated into the Taskbar, making it easier to access. Also new to the Taskbar is the Start menu location that now appears right in the middle. (If you don’t like it, right-click the Taskbar and click “Taskbar settings.” Scroll down, click the “Taskbar behaviors” section, and then choose “Left” for Taskbar alignment.)

Leslie Meredith has been writing about technology for more than a decade. As a mom of four, value, usefulness, and online safety take priority. Have a question? Email Leslie at asklesliemeredith@gmail.com.


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