Thoughts on navigating the transition to Windows 11

We’re nearly one week into the lifecycle of Windows 11 and so far the reviews range from “I love it” to “meh” to “How do I get my start menu back.”

While there are a lot of good things in Windows 11 (such as building blocks for better security, especially when connecting to cloud services) the new operating system carries a hardware price tag: Most of us will need to buy our way into a new computer to run Windows 11. Sure, there are unofficial and even  official ways around this new blocks, the threat of not getting updates for these officially unsupported platforms means I’ll not be recommending these methods.

For example, my Windows Insider virtual machine is now officially unsupported because it does not have a TPM 2.0 module. Since I didn’t enable TPM during the early beta, I’m now getting a notification that my VM won’t get the latest Insider build. You can use the registry key method to bypass the TPM 2.0 requirement, but the machine has to at least support TPM 1.2 before you can bypass the 2.0 requirement.

TPM 2.0Susan Bradley

TPM 2.0 support is an important part of why Microsoft says Windows 11 is more secure than Windows 10.

If you have a machine with no TPM module, you might be able to add one to the motherboard if it has a TPM slot available. But if your machine’s processor isn’t officially supported, there’s no software update path to Windows 11. You’ll have to upgrade the processor. For a desktop, this might also mean an upgraded motherboard, too. For a laptop, you’ll just want to buy new.

Why not just go around the hardware recommendations? Because you don’t want Windows 11 on a system that might take a performance hit. While Microsoft will test Windows 11 on the hardware it plans to support, it won’t do the same for hardware that’s not supported. If there’s a documented performance hit on supported hardware, Microsoft will come up with a fix. (Already, we’ve seen AMD systems being effected, with a patch coming soon.) The only reason to use one of these workaround methods is if you plan to simply test the platform.  

Many IT pros and Managed Service Providers who offered feedback via my unofficial survey about when they plan to roll out Windows 11 indicated they won’t do so anytime soon. Most plan to wait at least six months, if not longer. Some of my line-of-business vendors also indicated they need time to test Windows 11 before they certify support. (The survey about both Windows 10 and Windows 11 is still open for feedback if you’re an IT pro or MSP.)

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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