The most recent version of the Operating System (OS) offered by Microsoft is Windows 11. It promises to provide PC users with a modern and user-friendly experience. With a redesigned interface, improved performance, and new features, upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 can be an exciting venture. This article aims to walk you through the step-by-step process to upgrade Windows, ensuring a smooth transition without losing your valuable data or encountering major issues.
Check For Windows 11 Update
As of the writing of this guide, Windows 11 is available as a free update for eligible Windows 10 PCs. However, Microsoft may have released newer versions or updates since then. Make sure to check the official Microsoft website or the Windows Update settings in your Windows 10 PC to see if Windows 11 is available for your device.
1. Checking For Updates
In Windows 10, you click the Start button and then the gear icon to get to the Settings menu. In Settings, navigate to Update & Security > Windows Update. Click on the “Check for updates” button. If Windows 11 is available for your PC, you’ll see an option to download and install it.
Perform A System Backup
Before proceeding with the upgrade, perform a full system backup using the built-in backup tool in Windows 10 or using a third-party backup software. Creating a system image will allow you to restore your PC to its current state in case something goes wrong during the upgrade process.
1. Create A System Image In Windows 10
Go to Settings > Update & Security > Backup. Under “Looking for an older backup?” click on “Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7).” In the new window, click “Create a system image” on the left pane. Follow the steps on the screen to make a system picture and store it on a storage device that is not part of your computer.
Update Drivers And Software
Updating your drivers and software to their latest versions can enhance compatibility with Windows 11 and provide better performance overall. It’s especially crucial for graphics drivers and other critical components.
1. Windows Update
Ensure that you have all the latest Windows updates installed on your Windows 10 PC. This can be done through the Windows Update settings.
2. Graphics Drivers
Visit the website of the manufacturer of your graphics device, such as NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel, and download the most recent drivers for your model.
3. Other Hardware Drivers
Visit the websites of the companies that make your gear (like your motherboard, network connection, or audio device) to download and install the most recent drivers for those parts.
Start The Windows 11 Upgrade Process
Once you’ve completed all the preparatory steps, you’re ready to begin the Windows 11 upgrade process. Depending on the method you choose, the process may vary slightly. There are two primary ways to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11:
1. Upgrade Through Windows Update
If you received the Windows 11 upgrade through Windows Update, follow these steps:
1.1. Download And Install
In the Windows Update settings, click on the option to download and install Windows 11.
1.2. Wait For The Download
Windows will download the necessary files for the upgrade. How long it takes will depend on how quickly you can connect to the internet and how big the update is.
1.3. Restart Your Pc
Once the download is complete, Windows will prompt you to restart your PC to begin the upgrade process.
1.4. Follow On-Screen Instructions
During the upgrade process, follow the on-screen instructions to configure your settings and customise your Windows 11 experience.
2. Upgrade Using A Bootable Installation Media
Alternately, you can use a bootable USB drive containing the Windows 11 installation media to upgrade your computer.
2.1. Download The Windows 11 Media Creation Tool
On the Microsoft website, you can find the Windows 11 Media Creation Tool. This tool will help you make a USB drive that can boot.
2.2. Run The Media Creation Tool
Follow the on-screen directions for the Media Creation Tool to make a working USB drive.
2.3. Boot From USB
Insert the bootable USB drive into your PC and restart the computer. Press the necessary key (usually Del, F2, F12, or Esc) during boot-up to access the BIOS or UEFI settings. Configure the USB drive as the system’s principal boot device and save the modifications.
2.4. Install Windows 11
Follow the on-screen instructions during the Windows 11 installation process. Make sure to select the “Upgrade” option when prompted, so your files and settings are preserved.
After the upgrade is complete, there are a few essential post-upgrade steps to ensure that your Windows 11 experience is optimal:
1. Activate Windows 11
Once the upgrade is complete, check if Windows 11 is activated on your PC. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Activation to verify your activation status. If Windows 11 is not activated, click on the “Troubleshoot” button to resolve any activation issues.
2. Update Drivers And Software
After the upgrade, check for any pending driver updates or software updates. You can obtain the most recent drivers and updates using Windows Update or by visiting the manufacturer’s website.
3. Reinstall Third-Party Antivirus And Security Software
If you disabled your third-party antivirus or security software earlier, now is the time to re-enable it or reinstall it with the latest version compatible with Windows 11.
4. Customise Your Windows 11 Experience
Take some time to explore the new features and design of Windows 11. Customise the appearance, background, and other settings to make your PC feel more personal.
With proper preparation, including checking compatibility, backing up your data, and updating drivers, the upgrade process can be smooth and hassle-free. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to enjoy the new Windows 11 experience while preserving your files and settings. Remember to take your time to explore the new OS, and don’t hesitate to seek help or support if you encounter any issues during the upgrade process. Enjoy the journey to Windows 11, and embrace the new possibilities it brings to your computing experience.