10 Big Reasons Not to Upgrade to Windows 11
You’ll never see a Microsoft Windows upgrade that isn’t met with vociferous negative reactions, and while Windows 11 hasn’t encountered as much vitriol as some past versions of the operating system, that doesn’t mean it’s all rosy. The main beef has been about its hardware requirements. Lesser complaints about interface changes amount to “someone moved my cheese,” but still stoke ire from longtime users. In many ways, Windows 11 works just as well as Windows 10. It runs all the same software, and it supports all the same peripheral hardware. And yet, there are quite a few valid reasons to not upgrade to Windows 11.
As is the case with most desktop operating systems, whether from Apple or Microsoft, the intention of a new version is to get you to buy a new computer. These tech giants are less interested in having you upgrade your existing hardware, since it doesn’t provide them any revenue.
I still primarily use Windows 10 by choice, but have also used Windows 11 extensively, and I’m here to tell you that it’s not a huge adjustment to switch between the two. That said, there are reasons you may prefer sticking with tried-and-true Windows 10 rather than moving up to Windows 11. Many of the reasons boil down to the fact that Windows 10 got a lot of things right and Windows 11 ruins them. Feel free to add your own reasons not to upgrade in the comments below.
1. You Might Have to Buy a New PC for Windows 11
The biggest stink made by Windows commentators at the launch of Windows 11 concerned its new hardware requirements. The need for a TPM security chip got a lot of digital ink, while in my experience, the more widespread barrier to upgrading was a requirement for a more recent CPU. I tested three or four PCs that all had TPM chips, but with CPUs that weren’t recent enough for the upgrade. You also can’t install the OS in the unlikely event that your PC still runs a 32-bit processor; it only runs on 64-bit Intel/AMD and Arm chips.
That’s all about upgrading existing PCs. If you’re in the market for a new computer, there are still other reasons you might buy one that runs Windows 10, as you’ll see below. A good selection of PCs with Windows 10 preinstalled is still available, and it is possible to downgrade from Windows 11 to Windows 10.
2. The Windows 10 Taskbar Is Better
Windows 10 lets you show wider, more informative taskbar buttons and lets you place the taskbar on a side or the top of the screen as well as across the bottom—a big deal to some users. Windows 11 does neither. In 10, the entries are always in the same place. But in 11, if you use the default center alignment, the icon positions, even the Start button, change as you open and close apps. Luckily, you can left-align the taskbar in Windows 11, which solves that last issue, but the others remain.
Another failing is that the Taskbar calendar doesn’t let you add or see events as it does in Windows 10. Another is that it doesn’t support drag-and-drop as fully as its predecessor. Microsoft is backtracking on this one, however, returning the capability in future Windows 11 builds, but I still see the universal No symbol when I try to drag a file onto an app icon in the taskbar.
The new Windows 11 Start menu doesn’t show recently installed apps or frequently used apps. It offers the vague “Suggested” apps which may be based on those criteria, but I haven’t found it as helpful as Windows 10’s clear sections for those categories. The icons in 11 don’t show any info about the apps as Windows 10 tiles do. The earlier OS also gives immediate access to Power (Shut down, Restart, Sleep) and the Settings app.
4. Windows 11 Doesn’t Have an Always-Available Search Box
Yes, you can press a Taskbar icon or use Windows Key-S to show the search box in Windows 11, but there’s nothing like having a search box there all the time, in the same place, waiting for your queries. Windows 10 offers that, right next to the Start button. The company has even started adorning the right side of the box with cute topical illustrations, rare proof that Microsoft continues to improve Windows 10.
5. Windows 11’s Tablet Experience Isn’t as Good as Windows 10’s
I’ve written about the frustrating experience of using Windows 11 on a tablet, and though Microsoft claims to have improved it, I find the opposite. In Windows 10, swiping in from the left and right brings up the very useful Task view and Action Center (another incredibly useful feature gone in Windows 11; see below). You could close an app by dragging a finger down from the top of the screen, and apps defaulted to full screen, as makes sense on a tablet. Windows 11 introduces completely new gestures requiring multiple fingers. Though these are more Apple-like, I question whether they will convert many iPad users to Surface Go users.
6. Windows 11 Requires Signing In to a Microsoft Account
You won’t find any Mac users who don’t sign in to an Apple account, not to mention any Chromebook or Android users who don’t sign in to a Google account. But some Windows users are vehement about not wanting to sign into an account on their PC. If you are one of these people, there’s your reason not to upgrade to Windows 11. Well, at least to the Home version. The Pro version doesn’t have this requirement, though it seems that loophole is going away in the future, based on preview releases.
For the Home version, you only have to sign in to the account during setup. You can then choose a local account for normal use of the PC. As with the other OSes, signing in to a Microsoft account brings benefits, including OneDrive backup, Store apps, Xbox games, Microsoft Family parental controls, and Phone Link for using your Android phone functions on your PC.
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7. The Action Center Is Gone in Windows 11
In place of the tidy all-in-one Action Center for notifications and quick settings, Windows 11 splits its functions in a disjointed, somewhat illogical arrangement, somewhat resembling the messy splay of notification boxes you see in macOS (though not quite that bad). In Windows 10, you tap the speaker icon to adjust the sound, the Wi-Fi button to change the Wi-Fi, and the battery icon to see your power situation. In Windows 11 these conveniences are grouped together, so tapping the sound icon brings up the battery and Wi-Fi options, which you’re not concerned about. Windows 11 is less efficient here.
8. You’d Miss the Timeline and Other Deprecated Features in Windows 11
As with all major OS updates, some features come, some features go. The biggest ones to leave Windows in version 11 are the Timeline, Live Tiles, and Internet Explorer. If you run an old business application that requires IE, however, you can still run an Internet Explorer mode within the Microsoft Edge browser. The Timeline, however, is now relegated to the mists of times past. I don’t use it a lot, but find it useful on occasion.
With this one I’m sort of playing the devil’s advocate, since I abhorred the endlessly deep right-click context menus that any apps could add to the File Explorer’s right-click context menu in previous versions of Windows. You can still get to them by clicking on the Show More Options menu item. If that irks you (as it does some users, based on web forums and comment sections like ours), you have one more small reason not to upgrade.
10. There’s No Rush: You Still Have Three Years
Microsoft will continue to support Windows 10 until October 2025, so what’s the rush to jump on Windows 11? If you’re content with Windows 10, as I am, there’s very little reason to upgrade. I’ve even seen new features added to version 10 since 11’s launch. That said, some people like always having the newest things and latest designs. I have not had a problem using Windows 11—I used it exclusively for a month while working remotely—and there are certainly appealing things about it, like the updated design and the more-soothing system sounds. But you can keep Windows 10 for now if you prefer, and many of us will.
Still on the Fence?
Maybe you’re not convinced by the reasons above, and want more information about Windows 11. We have you covered. For the contrasting argument, read Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 11. And keep track of all the latest news and tips on our Windows 11 home page.
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