5 Steps To Prepare For A Windows 11 Migration

Microsoft released Windows 10 on 29th July 2015, which feels like forever ago given the technological advancements we’ve witnessed since then. Who would’ve thought it was THAT old? Fast-forward 6 years and it’s no wonder that the general release date of Windows 11 on 5th October 2021 is highly anticipated.

Microsoft first introduced Windows 11 at their virtual event in June 2021. They’ve promised some key features that will vastly improve security and collaboration, both essential in today’s Work From Anywhere environment. For example, we’ll see seamless integration with Microsoft Azure and Teams, and Windows Hello will support biometric access.

But while the migration from Windows 10 to Windows 11 should be an easy, over-the-air upgrade, planning must take into account two key factors for the change to be beneficial:

1. Minimum system requirements

Maybe the biggest announcement that’s set to have an impact on IT Infrastructure teams is that Microsoft is increasing hardware requirements substantially for Windows 11, with minimum system requirements to include:

  • 4 GB or greater RAM
  • Storage of 64 GB or greater
  • Secure boot capability in system firmware. This ensures a device boots using only trusted software
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0. This is a secure cryptoprocessor chip used for system integrity measurements, device authentication, and cryptographic key creation and use
  • Graphics card compatible with DirectX 12 or later, with WDDM 2.0 driver

This places security firmly at the core of Windows 11. But could it see some businesses needing to replace the vast majority of their endpoints in order to be Windows 11-ready?

While the license upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 is said to be ‘free of charge’, we all know that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to major OS updates. They’re renowned for having hidden costs, and in this case, device replacement will almost certainly be one of them!

2. Stability and performance of critical applications

Application performance, and in turn, user productivity, are often the other victims in major OS migrations. Infrastructure and Operations leaders must therefore make sure there’s minimal impact on user experience, and that business-critical applications remain stable and perform, both pre-and post- Windows 11 migration.

Microsoft has said that all applications supported on Windows 10 will work on Windows 11. But there are always inconsistencies among legacy and bespoke applications.  For example, Microsoft announced the retirement of Internet Explorer in May 2021, and the IE 11 desktop application will go out of support on June 15, 2022. Windows 11 won’t support it at all, so employees and application developers will need to transition to Edge if they haven’t done so already.

Planning your Windows 11 transformation: follow these 5 steps

So, with these new system requirements and threats to application performance in mind, what’s the best way to prepare for a Windows 11 migration?

At Teneo, we recommend the following 5 steps:

Step 1:

Identify how your endpoint estate maps to the minimum system requirements. In doing so, you can prioritize the devices that need attention and establish an average upgrade cost. By assigning a device health score, you can tackle machines that require a total refresh, need memory or hard disk upgrades, or that just need to free up disk space. This will help you to determine your Windows 11 migration budget.

Step 2:

Understand which legacy or bespoke applications won’t be supported by Windows 11, for example, Internet Explorer. By building out a software inventory, you’ll be able to understand all applications, including those that are user-installed. Older legacy applications may be unsupported or unpatched for security, putting your business at risk. Some may need changes to code to support other browsers. By having a view of what’s installed compared to what’s being utilized, you can also make informed decisions around license rationalization, which may well cover the cost of device upgrades!

Step 3:

Ensure you have a user experience baseline in your current Windows 10 environment, and then create a Windows 11 pilot group that you intend to migrate first and pay close attention to.

Step 4:

Validate performance and stability of all supported applications post-migration in the pilot group. Measure metrics such as user experience index, activity response, boot time, system and hardware health, and application and page load times. If user experience is worse on Windows 11, prioritize the affected applications and troubleshoot them accordingly.

Step 5:

Once you’ve ironed out any teething problems, proceed confidently with your Windows 11 migration rollout and see success first time around.

Whether you expect to migrate to Windows 11 this year, or are holding out until support for Windows 10 ends in October 2025, we understand that proper planning time is limited in today’s fast-paced IT environment. Teneo supports each of the above planning steps to Windows 11 migration through our End User Experience Monitoring service, WFA: Visible. Find out more information about this service and schedule a meeting with us to get a helping hand.

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