How to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11

Windows 11 was launched by Microsoft in October 2021 as a free upgrade to Windows 10. I had recently purchased a second hand Acer PC with Windows 10 and I had upgraded some of its components (RAM and SSD). I was curious about Windows 11 so I decided to perform an upgrade from Windows 10 Home on this computer and I have documented the steps in this tutorial in case you want to do something similar.

Windows 11, source Microsoft
Windows 11, source Microsoft

The upgrade process from Windows 10 to Windows 11 shouldn’t damage your computer but some old programs may not be compatible with the newest version of Microsoft’s operation system. So consider if you need Windows 11 improvements and be sure to backup your computer before performing the upgrade. If you don’t feel sure about reproducing the tutorial steps, ask someone with good computer skills to help you. As always, the author and the website decline any responsibilities about the consequences of trying to reproduce these steps.

I decided to execute Microsoft PC Health Check in order to be sure that this computer met Windows 11 system requirements. Microsoft PC Health Check is often installed as a Windows update but you can see how I installed it in this tutorial in case you need to install it. I searched for the PC Health Check application using the search bar and I clicked the “Open” link after finding it:

Search for PC Health Check App
Search for PC Health Check App

The PC Health Check Application opened and I clicked the “Check now” button to see if this computer met Windows 11 system requirements:

PC Health Check
PC Health Check

And effectively all the Windows 11 system requirements were met.

This computer meets Windows 11 requirements
This computer meets Windows 11 requirements

I decided to click the “See all results” button to check what the requirements were.

Windows 11 requirements (1)
Windows 11 requirements (1)

This PC supported Secure Boot, a feature that protect the system boot against attacks. TPM 2.0 was enabled, it is an international standard used by Windows 11 to improve the security against firmware and ransomware attacks. In was of need, you can see how to enable TPM 2.0 in the computer UEFI BIOS in an other tutorial. The processor, an Intel Core i3-8100, was supported and the system had at least 4 GB of system memory (RAM).

Windows 11 requirements (2)
Windows 11 requirements (2)

The system disk had a capacity of at least 64 GB and the processor had two or more cores.

This second hand Acer PC met all Windows 11 requirements and I was therefore ready to start to upgrade it to the latest Microsoft OS.

I opened the Settings Application from the bottom left Windows button, I clicked the “Update & Security” button and later I selected the “Windows Update” entry. There was a “Windows 11 is ready” section and I clicked the “Download and Install” button to start the upgrade process. In case the “Windows 11 is ready” section doesn’t appear, check if your computer meets Windows 11 system requirements and click the “Check for Updates” button.

Download and install Windows 11
Download and install Windows 11

Windows 11 started to download…

Downloading Windows 11 (0 %)
Downloading Windows 11 (0 %)

… and it took something like 5 minutes to download the installer. The time needed to download Windows 11 installer will depend on your network connection speed, but to give you an idea of the time needed, I was using a 1 Gbits broadband connection. The installation started right after that…

Installing Windows 11 (7 %)
Installing Windows 11 (7 %)

And took something like 40 minutes.to finish on this computer. This time will depend mostly on the processor and the system disk speed. To give you an idea, the Intel Core i3-8100 had 4 Cores at 3.6 GHz and Windows 11 was installed on a SATA Crucial SSD disk.

Installing Windows 11 (100 %)
Installing Windows 11 (100 %)

A restart was required to continue with the installation of Windows 11. I clicked the “Restart now” button to restart it immediately.

Windows 11 installation pending restart
Windows 11 installation pending restart

The computer went on with the installation. First it displayed a “Restarting” message…

Restarting
Restarting

… later an “Updates are underway – Please keep your computer on” message with the percentage of progress…

Updates are underway
Updates are underway

… later the “Restarting” message once again:

Restarting
Restarting

The computer restarted and went on with the installation with a “Working on update – Please keep your computer on. Your computer may restart a few times” message with a progress percentage:

Working on updates (12 %)
Working on updates (12 %)

The computer restarted a few times until the percentage reached 100%.

Working on updates (100 %)
Working on updates (100 %)

The computer restarted one last time and it displayed a “Preparing Windows” message during a few seconds.

Preparing Windows
Preparing Windows

Finally I could log in…

Logging in
Logging in

And Windows 11 desktop appeared after a few seconds:

Windows 11 desktop
Windows 11 desktop

I had not linked any Microsoft account during the installation of Windows 10 on this computer. As a consequence, there was no Microsoft account neither after upgrading it to Windows 11.  A fresh installation of Windows 11 requires users to have a Microsoft account in order to complete the initial setup, but it doesn’t seem to be the case if you upgrade an existing installation of Windows 10 to Windows 11 (as long as used a local account and not a Microsoft account). Good to know!

No Microsoft account
No Microsoft account

The whole Windows 10 to Windows 11 upgrade process was pretty straightforward and it took something like 5o minutes on this computer. I checked that all the documents and programs were still available and I had no issues with them. Great, I could now start using Windows 11!

If you realise that you prefer Windows 10 over Windows 11, you have 10-day period during which you can downgrade to Windows 10. You can see how to do in this tutorial.

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