Just like Windows 10 was a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 and Windows 7, Windows 11 will be a free upgrade to Windows 10. But there’s a catch. That upgrade only applies as long as your PC fits with Microsoft’s minimum requirements — which is already causing a fair share of controversy, especially in regard to the TPM 2.0 requirement which in itself can be quite confusing, especially if you plan on upgrading your current system.
The Installation Assistant allows you to install Windows 11 on a compatible PC the moment it releases. Although Microsoft isn’t recommending against this route, it’s possible that some hardware will cause issues, so you might run into a few bugs or Blue Screens of Death.
If you have a compatible device, you should upgrade to Windows 11 to give it a try. There’s a catch, though. After you upgrade, you’ll only have 10 days to revert back to Windows 10. Microsoft is supporting Windows 10 through 2025, but you’ll need to do a clean install (erase all your data) after that 10-day downgrade window.
There are some changes that you need to know about if you plan to upgrade. Windows 11 removes some features from Windows 10.
You can no longer sync your desktop wallpaper, Internet Explorer and the Math Input panel are gone, and a few apps are also removed. Those apps are 3D viewer, OneNote for Windows 10, Paint 3D, and Skype. You can still find those in the store, though. Microsoft has a full list if you’re concerned.
If you’re a gamer, note that Windows 11 has some exclusive features catered to you. Auto HDR makes your games look more vibrant, and Direct Storage helps your graphics card and SSD communicate faster.
Windows 11 vs. Windows 10: Performance
When compared to Windows 10, Windows 11 does hold some potential for improving the speed of your computer. Microsoft talked about the performance benefits and optimizations in Windows 11 in a YouTube video.
Overall, the performance benefits in Windows 11 pretty much come down to the way the newer OS handles system processes that you usually see when you open Task Manager.
According to Microsoft, Windows 11 does a lot of work in memory management to favor the app windows you have open and running in the foreground. This should ensure that they get more CPU power over other system resources. Microsoft actually tested this by showcasing how even under 90% CPU load, the Excel app in Windows 11 opens up with speed, despite the CPU being so busy. The company says the same also applies to the “shell” in Windows 11, which powers the Start Menu and other visual effects.
Other performance changes in Windows 11 touch on the way your PC resumes from sleep and handles standby time. Versus Windows 10, Microsoft mentioned that in Windows 11, your RAM can stay energized when the PC is in sleep mode, so it has power while everything else doesn’t. This will help your PC wake faster up to 25% faster from sleep.
Windows 10 vs. Windows 11: Bugs
Windows 11 is Microsoft’s newest operating system, and Windows 10 has been around for five years. With that in mind, you can expect Windows 11 to have a lot of other bugs and issues that might impact the performance of your system.
Yes, Windows 10 isn’t a bug-free operating system either. It has had device-breaking issues in the past, but Windows 11 is seeing a fair share of problems right now that you might want to consider when upgrading.
The biggest bug impacting Windows 11 involves AMD CPUs. This is where AMD CPUs could drop or throttle performance by up to 15% in games. AMD and Microsoft have since issued a fix, however.
Yet another Windows 11 problem relates to memory leaks. As we’ve confirmed and tested, Windows 11 could take up extra RAM when you open up multiple instances of the File Explorer. It never releases the RAM when you close the File Explorer and the system takes up extra resources. This isn’t a problem everyone is having, and it’s also been around in Windows 10 for a while, but it’s a notable one, to say the least.
Another bug could result in empty folders in important subsystem areas, though the folders don’t really impact performance or take up space. These folders have the .tmp extension, which means Windows is deleting what’s inside the folders but not the folders themselves. A small problem compared to the others we’ve mentioned.
The last of the major bugs again impacts File Explorer. Select users report that the context menu in Windows 11 is slow to open. This is the menu that appears when you right-click on an item. Again, it’s not something that everyone is having issues with. Microsoft indicated that it knows the issue is present, and a fix has been released in a Windows Insider build.
We just covered a few, but there’s a great way to track bugs in Windows 11. Windows users can always report new bugs in the Feedback Hub. If you sort by new or top, you’ll see all the little Windows 11 bugs that we can’t possibly put in one post. So, if you really want to see what’s happening there, search through the app on your Windows 10 PC for Windows 11 feedback.
Start Menu and Taskbar
If you’re looking at the differences between Windows 11 and Windows 10, the biggest ones are the Start Menu and the Taskbar. In Windows 11, Microsoft centers the Taskbar and the Start Menu on the screen. This makes it look a bit more like MacOS and ChromeOS. However, you can still move it back to the left if you want.
Speaking of the Start Menu, in Windows 11, it is a bit more simplistic. You only see a static list of apps, followed by your most frequented documents on the bottom. You can expand out your apps, scroll through the list, and pin apps as you choose. That might sound familiar, but it is important to note that Windows 11 drops out support for Live Tiles. If you really want to see information in your Start Menu at a glance, then Windows 10 is best.
As for the Taskbar, note that there are some big changes in Windows 11 when compared to Windows 10. Microsoft has collapsed the search box into an icon, and also removed the Cortana functions in Windows 11. If you want Cortana, you’ll need to download the app. Search also moves to the center of the screen, with a floating design and tabbed layout similar to Windows 10.
Even Windows Timeline is gone. Windows 11 drops out that Windows 10 feature in favor of Microsoft Edge’s sync ability. The spot where Windows Timeline used to be is replaced by Virtual Desktops.
But if you want to pin your Taskbar to the right or the left of the screen, then we have bad news. You can no longer do that, as in Windows 11 the Taskbar only stays on the bottom. Apps can’t customize the taskbar, either.
A lot of these changes are just visual. Windows 11 and Windows 10 share the same features, and it’s just the way that things look that is different.
Multitasking and external monitor support
You might have seen Microsoft’s multitasking demo in Windows 11, and wondered if it’ll be ported over to Windows 10. As far as we know, this is a Windows 11-exclusive feature, and you won’t be seeing it in Windows 10.
In Windows 11, you can increase your multitasking and system performance with Snap Layouts that group your windows and save them to the taskbar. Hover over the maximize button and you can tile windows in various sizes. Windows 10 won’t have this. It keeps the traditional “Snap” feature, where you’ll need to manually tile your windows with a keyboard combination or by hovering to a certain side of the screen.
Then there’s a note about external monitors. Windows 11 remembers how you had your windows on your external monitor and will save them in that state when you disconnect from a monitor and then plug it back in. This is one of the most annoying problems with Windows 10 that Windows 11 finally addresses.