c’t 3003: How to get Windows 11

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Windows 11 is about to be completed and should be officially released on October 5th. But that doesn’t mean that all Windows 10 installations will be offered the upgrade immediately.

Transcript of the video:

In this video I explain to you how and, above all, when you will get the final version of Windows 11 and most importantly: WHAT’S UP WITH MICROSOFT THAT THEY NO LONGER SUPPORT MANY REALLY FAST PROCESSORS ????

Dear hackers, dear internet surfers, welcome to c’t 3003!

The final version of Windows 11 will appear on October 5, 2021 – or has already been released, depending on when you see the video, but the information should still be relevant after it is released. The most important question is of course: How do you get hold of the first new Windows in 6 years? I have already made a video about what it looks like and what it can do.

Theoretically, Windows 11 comes as a free system update via the update function, but Microsoft will definitely not deliver this thing to all compatible Windows 10 installations from day one. Not even on the second: According to Microsoft, the upgrades via the Windows Update menu will not start until “end of 2021”, “for most devices” the upgrade should be offered “by the beginning of 2022”.

If you want to have Windows 11 beforehand, you have two options: Either sign up for the Windows Insider Program; then in the “Release Preview” channel you get a preliminary version even before the official release. Then you can simply log out of the Windows Insider program and then the normal updates come, so the whole thing can be brought up to the status of a completely conventional installation without any problems. It looks different if you were in the dev channel – a few weeks ago there was only a Windows 11 previous version here. I had this painful experience: You can’t just switch from the dev channel to the release version, but have to completely flatten the system if you don’t want to have super early and potentially bug-infested versions over and over again. Sometimes there is a time window in which you can also change here, but unfortunately I missed that. In general, the disadvantage of the Windows Insider Program is that you have to send detailed diagnostic data to Microsoft without activating the Insider Program. Incidentally, the upgrade took me about an hour and a half: The first 45 minutes happened in the background, so you could continue to work normally. The first boot process then took another 50 minutes, during which the computer cannot be used.

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Another option is the so-called Media Creation Tool. This is software from Microsoft with which you can not only manually upgrade an existing Windows system, but you can also use it to create installation data carriers; for example, if you want to reinstall from scratch. The Media Creation Tool for Windows 11 should appear on October 5th – so from then on you can definitely upgrade with it. The upgrade with the Media Creation Tool is a bit more brutal than the normal Windows update process. This means that it does not look soooooo in detail at possible sources of error, but simply starts upgrading. In our experience this is not a problem – however, you should backup important files beforehand, but I would also recommend this for a “normal” upgrade performed by Windows Update.

You should definitely check the compatibility beforehand, this can be done with a Microsoft program called PC Integrity Check. If this tool says: let’s go, then you are on the safe side. But sometimes it doesn’t show that either: What was first complained about on my computer, for example, was that the TPM 2.0 module was not activated. Christof will explain to you later what that is. In any case, most reasonably modern computers have such a module, but it is often not activated by default. To do this, you have to go into the BIOS, or more precisely UEFI, when booting, which can be done with the delete key, F2 or F12, depending on the mainboard. With Intel-Psystem the whole thing is called Intel “Platform Trust Technology (PTT)” and Security Device Support, with AMD Firmware TPM or fTPM and Secure Device Support. With my UEFI it looks like this, but depending on the board manufacturer it can also be in a different menu. In addition, Secure Boot must be activated in the UEFI, but this is usually activated by default. Secure Boot is only available in the so-called UEFI mode – not in the old CSM mode. If your board actually masters UEFI, but runs in CSM mode, you can switch it later – that’s a bit fiddly, because I linked a c’t article to you in the description.

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Otherwise, according to Microsoft, you need: 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of disk or SSD space and a two-core processor that is clocked with at least one GHz. Sounds problematic at first, AAAAAAABER now comes the big upset: Microsoft does not support many older CPUs, although they are actually much faster than dual-core with 1 GHz. The rule of thumb is: If your processor was released in 2018 or later, Windows 11 will run on it. If he’s older, you should check the Microsoft website. Curiously, even a number of Surface computers that come directly from Microsoft are not supported. Especially in times of climate change and the shortage of chips, this is of course pretty stupid: You have a computer that is actually fast enough – and you can’t update to the new Windows version.

How can that be? This is a question that you have asked very often here in the channel about our first Windows 11 video, so I asked the c’t hardware expert Christof Windeck:

[Interview mit Christof Windeck]

In summary: the additional security precautions actually make sense, after all, more and more so-called zero-day exploits are emerging that can be used to manipulate Windows from the outside. But why these arbitrary processor lists?

You could theoretically update to Windows 11 with an unsupported processor using the MediaCreationTool. AAABER: We would absolutely not recommend that at the current status, because it is unclear whether you will then receive security updates. And Windows without the latest security updates should definitely not be used. Then it is better to stay with Windows 10, because you will definitely get security updates until the end of support on October 14, 2025. And if the whole Windows 11 hype annoys you anyway: You can confidently stay with Windows 10, because it also gets new features such as DirectStorage, a function with which future games can load their data onto the graphics card faster. So it’s not that wild, Windows 11 just looks soooooo much nicer – in any case, I think I’d like to comment if you see it differently (or just like me). And of course tell everyone about ct 3003, subscribe, click the bell – bye!

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c’t 3003 is the c’t YouTube channel. The videos on c’t 3003 are independent content and independent of the articles in c’t magazin. Editor Jan-Keno Janssen and video producers Johannes Börnsen and Şahin Erengil publish a video every week.

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