On January 10, 2023, support for Windows 8.1 ended. This means if you are still running Windows 8.1 (or an earlier Windows operating system) you will no longer receive updates to patch security vulnerabilities.
This leaves you vulnerable on the internet, and may allow a cyber criminal to gain access to your data.
For these older machines, the good news is, you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free. This can be done using the Media Creation Tool available from Microsoft.
When the tool is run, it will check to see if your device is compatible with Windows 10 and will then install the software. This may take a few hours.
I recommended backing up your data before starting the upgrade.
More advanced users may want to download the Windows 10 ISO file, and install a fresh version of Windows. This can be picked as an option in the upgrade tool. The ISO will need to be written to a bootable USB or CD.
Windows 10 will be supported until October 14, 2025, after which you will be required to upgrade to Windows 11. Due to hardware requirements, machines running Windows 8.1 may not be compatible with Windows 11.
If you require assistance downloading and installing Windows 10 or purchasing a Windows 10 license, feel free to contact us.
Windows 11 was released to the public early October 2021. It is a free upgrade for users running Windows 10, but do you need to upgrade?
The short answer is no. If you are running Windows 10 you can expect security patches from Microsoft until October 14th, 2025. You can safely run Windows 10 until this date.
To see if your device can run Windows 11 you can run and download the Windows PC Health Check from Microsoft.
The system requirement for Windows 11 are reasonable low, requiring a dual Core 1GHz CPU, 4GB Memory, and 64GB of storage. Windows 11 does however require a Trusted Platform Module (TPM). This might not be available on all devices meaning a device without a TPM will have to stay on Windows 10.
A TPM is hardware that handles security functions within your device. One function is ensuring that the booting operating system is trusted. This helps to prevent an attacker from tampering with your device in order to install a rootkit. A rootkit is normally not detected by your antivirus software and could allow an attacker to steal private information such as credit cards details or passwords.
A TPM is also used to enable biometrics for logging in to your PC. Windows Hello is a feature available to Windows users to allow them to log into their device with facial recognition or fingerprint. Without a TPM this functionality cannot be used. All the features of a TPM happen in the background and are going to go unnoticed by most PC users.
The only noticeable change for the average Windows user will be the new Start Menu. The Start Menu has always been down the bottom left of the screen, but with Windows 11 it has moved to centre screen. This change is to cater for wider screens that are in use these days, making it easier to navigate on those devices. There are also some cosmetic differences in the icons and menu items.
If, like many people, you don’t like changes to the look of your device, it is perfectly safe to stay on Windows 10 until October 2025. But if you like to experience the latest and greatest why not download Windows 11 today.
With a more recent update; Microsoft have added a new feature to the Windows taskbar. This new feature is called the News and Interests Toolbar. Essentially, it is a way for Microsoft to compete in attention economy and give you quick access to news items and articles tailored for you. Some people will welcome the new feature with open arms, whereas, others, do not like change.
On PCs with smaller screens, the News and Interests Toolbar may take up what little taskbar you have. This can make it harder to switch between programs and documents.
Luckily, turning off the News and Interests Toolbar is a simple process – which we will go through now:
- Right Click anywhere along the Windows Taskbar (but not on an icon on in the task tray)
- Move the mouse cursor up and Left Click on News and interests
- Move the mouse cursor over and Left Click on Turn off
The News and Interest Toolbar will now be disabled on the Windows Taskbar. This can be enabled again by following the steps and selecting Show icon and text instead of Turn off.
While you are here check out some of our previous blog posts!