Microsoft now says Windows 11 is ready for all new, compatible PCs to be upgraded to the company’s shiny new version of its longtime Windows operating system, with the OS being recently designated for broad deployment.
However, the problem is that most Windows devices just aren’t ready for the Windows 11 migration, according to digital employee experience management software company Nexthink, which analyzed more than 3 million devices across 457 organizations and found that fewer than 39% of devices meet hardware requirements and are ready for Windows 11.
According to the company’s report, just 38.94% of devices have a compatible CPU and a supported version of Windows 10—version 2004 or later. Upgrading these devices will require little resources and cost, outside of educating employees about the migration.
Meanwhile, about a quarter (25.87%) of devices meet the hardware requirements for Windows 11, but just need to upgrade their operating system to a supported version of Windows 10 and then upgrade to Windows 11. Essentially, this requires upgrading operating systems twice.
However, just over 35% of devices have neither the hardware requirements nor operating system requirements necessary to upgrade to Windows 11. For this group, IT will likely need to purchase new devices that may already have Windows 11 pre-installed.
According to Microsoft, devices need:
- A processer of at least 1 GHz with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC
- 4 GB of RAM
- Storage of 64GB or more
- UEFI, Secure Boot capabilities
- Trusted Platform Module 2.0
- Compatibility with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
- A High definition (720p) display that is greater than 9” diagonally, 8 bits per color channel
- An internet connection
Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 10 by Oct. 14, 2025, so organizations have three-and-a-half years to make the move to Windows 11, but some organizations may want to ride it out with Windows 10, which is generally well-liked by end users. Rather than pushing through a migration, organizations should instead think about making the upgrade in line with the organization’s hardware refresh plans, says Yassine Zaied, chief strategy officer at Nexthink.
“I would not recommend we just through away devices and replace them,” Zaied says. “The majority of the devices we analyzed are fine. They are delivering great performance and they are working very well.”
Instead of a full replacement, organizations can look at simply upgrading the hardware in the individual devices to meet Windows 11’s requirements to bridge the gap between a full device refresh and opening the organization’s wallet for a purchase of that magnitude. That essentially describes the dilemma faced by all IT teams, according to Zaied.
“On one hand, I’m required to deliver the best satisfaction to users,” Zaied says. “I am required to innovate and transform, and then at the same time, be cost efficient.”
Like with many other IT issues, the solution starts with visibility, including a detailed inventory of the organization’s endpoint devices and which are compatible for Windows 11 without any further upgrades, and which devices fall short on the hardware upgrades.
“The most important thing is to be aware and that you know what needs to be done on each device,” Zaied says.