On or after October 5, your computer will offer you a choice:
upgrade to Windows 11, or remain on Windows 10. You'll probably
want to stay put.
Normally, feature updates are a no-brainer. Updating your PC
from one Windows 10 version to another typically offers you
security updates, bug fixes, and new features, justifying the
hassle. You don't really have the freedom to opt out of a Windows
10 update, either—you can only delay it for a short time. But
Windows 11 offers you a true choice. Microsoft says that it will support Windows 10 until 2025, giving you the
option to remain on it for a few more years before it goes
We've reviewed Windows 11, and we think you
should decline the upgrade and remain on Windows 10 for now, for
Knowing your way around an operating system or a supermarket or
a car's engine matters, especially if you can instinctively
navigate through it. Windows 11 offers the same Taskbar and Start
menu and File Explorer as Windows 10, but with unfamiliar layouts,
icons, and navigation. You simply won't be as efficient as you are
in Windows 10 until you learn the ins and outs of Windows 11.
Do you know how to pin
an app to the Start menu? Move it to the top of the stack? Can you
tolerate a lack of grouping or folders in Windows 11? Start If no,
then Windows 11 may not be for you.
Mark Hachman / IDG
This also matters in such mundane apps as File Explorer.
Microsoft's navigation system for performing such basic tasks as
renaming files has been replaced by obtuse icons that simply aren't
as memorable as Microsoft probably hopes that they'll be. Microsoft
has every right to rework and update Windows, but if you have to
devote conscious thought to how to do something, you're justified
wondering if changes were made for sake of simply changing
Windows 11 is usable in its present form, without a doubt. But
there are little issues littered throughout the OS which will
certainly irritate new users.
Take the Taskbar and the Start menu, which are both less
functional than in Windows 10. Windows 11's Taskbar is dynamically
centered, which pushes the Start menu icon further and further left
as more apps are opened. The Taskbar can't be resized, or moved,
and users can't view the icons in tabbed mode with text
explanations instead. When you install new apps, you can pin them
to the Taskbar, but not directly to the Start menu; those apps
appear in the All apps menu within Start, where they can then be
pinned to the main Start menu. Did we mention the Taskbar's weird
badging system? Or the Notifications calendar that doesn't do
anything but sit there?
For now, Windows 11's
Taskbar can't be moved or resized, nor can the icons be shrunk or
replaced with text tabs. Icons denote more than one window via a
horizontal line, but Mail via numerical badges. These are just some
of the ways that Windows 11 removes or alters functionality that
was present within Windows 11.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Familiarity and features go hand in hand. If Windows 11 offered
additional capabilities, learning its quirks would be justified.
But we think that most people will simply find the more familiar
Windows 10 environment to be more productive, too.
For a certain class of users—PC gamers—Microsoft's new
DirectStorage technology could be the biggest selling point of
Windows 11. We also think that many Windows 11 users will also be
tickled to discover that they can run smartphone-style Android apps
on the Windows 11 desktop. But neither capability will be available
when Windows 11 launches on October 5.
really shown off what Android apps will look like on Windows 11,
but if you own a Samsung phone or a Surface Duo phone, you can pin
Android apps (which run on your phone) to the Windows Start menu
and desktop. We'd expect the functionality to be similar.
Mark Hachman / IDG
DirectStorage, the foundation of the Quick Resume capability on the Xbox Series X,
eliminates the need to launch a game and wade through splash
screens, menus and other time-wasting cruft. It simply resumes the
game right where you left off, and that's a literal game-changer.
But DirectStorage also requires at least an NVMe SSD of at least a
terabyte or more, and it requires game developers to
specifically design games for the DirectStorage SDK. Neither appear
to be present at the launch of Windows 11 (and DirectStorage will be coming to Windows 10 in
some fashion, as well). Meanwhile, the state of Android apps within
Windows are more straightforward—they just aren't ready.
If two of the biggest Windows 11 features won't be available at
launch, why bother upgrading?
New operating systems contain new code, and new code means bugs.
Even as I write this, a maximized Edge window is covering the
entire Windows 11 screen, including the taskbar. We've seen bugs
blank the Widgets windows and prevent you from typing in fields
inside Windows 11 Mail. And in the past, we've seen Windows bugs
associated with features updates actually delete user data.
It seems fairly clear that Windows 11 will ship with some bugs,
obvious or not. Why live with them? Sit it out for a while
While we think
Microsoft will have fixed this bug by launch, a blank Widgets
screen is just one of the glitches we saw while testing Windows 11
in the ten days or so before its launch.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Opting out of Windows 11, for now, doesn't mean that your choice
to upgrade goes away. For one thing, remember how hard Microsoft
pushed users to upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10? We'd be
shocked if Microsoft didn't, er, encourage users as
enthusiastically as it did previously, all in the service of
upgrading to Windows 11. We simply can't imagine that you'll lose
the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 11, ever.
There will be a tipping point. At some time in the future, we
believe that Microsoft will ship Windows 11's flagship features,
polish the user interface, fix (most) bugs, and hopefully tweak its
user interface and features. We can't say when that might be, but
we'll weigh in when we think that it's time to upgrade.
For now, however, we would recommend that most people simply opt
out and wait to move to Windows 11. Most—not all! If you enjoy
working within Microsoft's most modern environment, we'd encourage
you to upgrade. People who want to experience features like AutoHDR
or like what Microsoft is doing with Windows 11's Widgets should
give it a try. After all, you should have a short period of time to
roll back to Windows 10.
Windows 11 still is the future of Windows. For many Windows 10
users, though, that the future can wait. Check out our exhaustive Windows 11 review if you'd like to
dive even deeper into our impressions of Microsoft's latest OS.