Windows 11 brought excellent new features to the table, and every update is a chance to start over. But while Microsoft has made upgrading to a new operating system easier, it's important to do some background checks to ensure a clean install.
In this guide, we're going to look at eight things you need to do before upgrading to Windows 11. The goal is to make sure your PC meets Microsoft's requirements and that you have a full backup in case things fall into the water.
1. Ensure compatibility
First, check if your PC can run Windows 11 properly at all. Officially, Microsoft's new operating system has the following minimum system requirements:
|Central processor||1 GHz or faster on a compatible 64-bit processor or System-on-a-Chip|
|GPU||DirectX 12 compatible with WDDM 2.0 driver|
|R.A.M.||4 GB or higher|
|storage||64 GB or higher|
|Firmware||UEFI, Secure Boot capable|
|TPM||Version 1.2 or 2.0|
|advertisement||HD display (720p) with a diagonal of more than 9 inches, 8 bits per color channel|
|Internet||Stable connection for Windows 11 Home Edition|
You can check the specifications of your system from settings > system > Above. With Microsoft's new PC health check app (direct download link) is recommended as it states whether your PC is compatible or not. After the installation, click the blue one Check now Button and this would give you a full report:
The app says upgrading is not recommended if TPM 2.0 and UEFI Secure Boot are disabled. So let's see how you can enable each one individually.
2. Activate the Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
A Trusted Platform Module or TPM is a chip installed on motherboards that stores your sensitive security data. To activate it, first check that you have the chip in your system. Open minded Run (Windows key + R) and look it up tpm.msc.
When TPM is ready to go, go to settings > Update & security > recreation. There, under Advanced start-up, you find them Restart now Button.
Then click in the blue menu Troubleshooting > Expanded options > UEFI firmware settings > Start anew > Boots and change TPM 2.0 to activated.
If the TPM chip is not available, you will need to install it on your motherboard.
Note: sometimes the option to enable the TPM switch is labeled differently. Microsoft has a helpful site for this.
3. Enable Safe Boot
Similar to TPM, Secure Boot is also a security function. It ensures that the system will only boot a trusted operating system. To reactivate Secure Boot:
Restart the system above settings > Update & security > recreation > Advanced start-up.
Go to Troubleshooting > Expanded options > UEFI firmware settings > Start anew > Boots.
Change Safe start-up Status too Allows.
However, your system may not start after you enable this security feature if you are using a desktop PC with a BIOS. To prevent this from happening, convert your MBR to GPT and switch the BIOS to UEFI.
4. Save your data
Early versions of new software like Windows 11 usually have a ton of bugs and errors. By doing this, you run the risk of disrupting your workflow and even losing all of your data. The best precaution would be to back up your data.
You can use either fast cloud backup options or an external hard drive (SSD or HDD). Remember that even if you are installing Windows 11 as a secondary system, a backup is essential.
5. Optimize the memory
It is also important to make room for the new Windows. Microsoft requires that your system have 64 GB or more of free space for the new operating system. Here you can try one of the following ways to free up space on your drive.
Use disk cleanup
Disk Cleanup is a built-in, quick fix for overloaded drives. You can use the maintenance utility to delete temporary files and unnecessary files on the primary partition that will host the new operating system.
Start Disk Cleanup by entering Temporary data In the Start menu.
Press the Temporary data Button on the right.
You can now review all the options and click Remove files to complete the cleanup. However, be careful that you use your. do not delete Downloads Folder accidentally. It sometimes appears as an option below Temporary data.
Although Disk Clean up mostly does the job, you can use a combination of other Windows junk removal methods as well.
Use external storage
By far the best way to free up space is to move your unneeded / rarely used large files to an external drive. It can be anything from photo albums to software setups.
6. Make a note of your Microsoft account
For the Windows 11 update you need to sign in to your Microsoft account. Once you've synced your information with the account (e.g. Skype and email accounts), make sure you know your account credentials.
You can lose access to multiple accounts if they are all synced with your master Microsoft account. Writing down your login information in good time – or resetting it if necessary – would help keep your contacts and calendar intact and, in turn, protect your workflow from interruptions.
7. Make sure you have a stable internet connection
A main reason many Windows 11 operating system updates fail is an unstable internet connection. Windows 11 is a software update from Microsoft's servers. Because of this, you need to stay connected to the internet throughout the installation.
Using mobile data hotspots, public WiFi, and / or an unstable private connection can make up for an error. Avoid hotspots and public connections, and make sure your WiFi is at least stable enough to support half a to one Windows 11 installation takes hours.
9. Plug-in charger
If you're using a laptop, make sure the power cord is plugged in to avoid draining the battery. When you update on your PC, make sure that the power supply is also uninterrupted. Accidental power outages can result in data loss and reset the installation progress.
Bonus: Better safe than sorry
We strongly recommend making sure your workflow and system backup before updating in case things don't work.
1. Check your apps
A smart move would be to confirm that all of your professional tools and apps are available on Windows 11, too. It is possible that some specific apps that you use regularly are not yet available for Microsoft's new operating system.
2. Create a recovery drive
Creating a system restore on an external hard drive means creating a copy of your Windows as it is. If something doesn't work well after the update, the recovery drive will help you restore it to the position it was before the update.
You are ready to upgrade now
With those things done, you are all ready to upgrade to Windows 11. Optimizing your storage and backing up your data are the most important steps in preparing for the update. These steps will ensure that your workflow and ease of use are not clogged.
If your PC doesn't have a TPM, or for some reason the PC Health Check app says it's not compatible, don't worry. You still have plenty of time to upgrade as Microsoft has announced updates and support for Windows 10 through 2025.
How to install Windows 11
You can install Windows 11 using a Windows 11 ISO and avoid the Windows 10 upgrade path.
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