Microsoft nudges users to update to Windows 11

With support for Windows 10 ending in just over a year, Microsoft is nudging users to update to Windows 11, as many still appear to be in no hurry to make the switch.

Windows 10 has more than 68% share among Windows users worldwide as of May 2024, according to Stat Counter. However, Microsoft has said it will no longer provide technical support or updates for Windows 10 after Oct. 14, 2025, a decade after its launch.

To encourage users to upgrade to Windows 11 — released back in October 2021 — the company is displaying a banner on users’ screens when they make updates to Windows 10 that urge them to take “a new journey with Windows.” Microsoft-focused news source Windows Latest posted a screenshot of the banner, which the article’s writer said appeared on a Windows device when he installed Microsoft’s May round of OS updates.

Migration complications

Migration to new versions of Windows among both enterprise and home users has often presented a challenge for Microsoft and users alike. Sometimes users or organizations skip an update because of a hardware compatibility issue on older PCs. If a new version Windows also requires hardware to be updated as well, it can get expensive, particularly for an enterprise.

Some versions of Windows have had a harder time catching on than others for other reasons, such not having new feature sets interesting enough to users to warrant an update, or just plain bad timing.

“Generally, people are resistant to change, and when there is no perceived additional benefit for migration, they are not always willing to migrate to the newer versions of software,” noted Pareekh Jain, CEO of EIIRTrend & Pareekh Consulting.

Perfect storm creating update delay?

Windows 11’s lackluster adoption may be the result of a perfect storm of conditions that have made updating to it unattractive for many users. Though the update itself is free, for corporate customers especially, Ranjit Atwal, senior director analyst at Gartner said there are always hidden costs that “lie in assessing application compatibility, migration, and support.”

The system requirements of Windows 11 are more demanding than Windows 10, and PCs sold even in the last several years before its release had trouble meeting them. This may have given many users pause when it came time to adopt the new OS.

Moreover, the transition is being further delayed by current budget constraints within IT departments, and market changes as “PC vendors are attempting to lure businesses towards higher-priced AI PCs,” Atwal noted. This latter scenario is “further risking the Microsoft Win10 support deadline,” he said.

With that support deadline looming, however, both corporate and personal users alike may finally have an incentive to migrate to Windows 11, given that “regular updates, including security updates, are essential for the trouble-free operation of computers,” Jain observed.

Business and individual customers reluctant to make the switch to Windows 11 do have an out: Microsoft’s Extended Security Update (ESU) program for Windows 10 provides monthly security patches — but no feature updates or technical support — for up to three years after the October 2025 end-of-support deadline. Businesses must pay $61 per device the first year, $122 per device the second year, and $244 per device the third year. Pricing for individuals has not yet been announced.

Support for Microsoft’s Office 2016 and 2019 app suites also ends in October 2025, as Microsoft reminded customers earlier this year.