When your team members have problems or issues related to IT, they typically have options…
Every few years, we start hearing one question from clients: whether they should upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Windows.
Now that Windows 11 is widely available, this question is popping up again. And it’s a good question, one we answer differently depending on several factors about a client’s IT environment.
For some, Windows 11 will be a powerful productivity enhancement. For others, it could create problems — and some hardware won’t be able to install it at all.
If your business is wondering about when or if you should upgrade, here’s everything you need to know.
The State of Windows
Currently, Microsoft actively supports two different major versions of Windows: Windows 10 and Windows 11. The latter was released starting in October 2021; by now, everyone who’s going to get access to Windows 11 should have access.
Windows 11 brings numerous usability enhancements as well as better security. Day to day, users will notice the cosmetic improvements and some quality-of-life changes, but the core Windows experience is more or less the same.
Windows 10 was the previous major release. Unless your hardware is exceptionally old, you’re probably running Windows 10 or 11. Windows 10 was and is a generally stable OS, one that works well for business users and continues to do so.
Windows 10 isn’t the newest product anymore, but it still has a decent shelf life left in it. Microsoft has promised full support of Windows 10 until October 14, 2025. If you don’t want to upgrade (or your hardware can’t upgrade) to Windows 11, you don’t have to do so right now. You’ve got quite a while before the upgrade will be mandatory.
Windows 11, of course, enjoys full support as well, and will for several years past 2025.
When to Upgrade: Our Rule of Thumb
Our recommendation here at Sunstate is to always wait until the second service pack has been released.
What’s a service pack? It’s a major update to the OS, fixing bugs, security vulnerabilities, and other unexpected issues that inevitably crop up after launch.
Usually the first service pack fixes the big stuff. The second one polishes off additional issues and smaller stuff. Also, most vendors will have updated their drivers to work with the new version by the time the second service pack arrives. (If you use lots of external hardware or specialized components, these drivers matter—a lot.)
Heads Up: Hardware Limitations
One big change with Windows 11 is that Microsoft is cracking down on hardware. If your hardware is too underpowered or if it lacks a few specific security capabilities (like UEFI and secure boot), Microsoft simply will not let you install Windows 11 on that hardware.
The good news is you won’t end up installing Windows 11 just to discover it runs terribly on your machine. But the bad news? When you do decide to upgrade the company to Windows 11, you might be in for some surprise hardware upgrades.
So that’s our advice for the Windows 11 transition: you don’t have to upgrade right away, and you aren’t necessarily missing out on any earth-shattering changes. But when you (and your devices) are ready, we are far enough into Windows 11’s life cycle to be past that second service pack—so you should be good to go.
Got other questions? Give us a call!