The clock is ticking for the Windows 10 as Microsoft will end its support for the operating system on October 15, 2025. Moving to Windows 11 can be smooth with a planned approach and proper preparation. In this blog, Peter Caselius shares useful tips and a possible timeline to help prepare you for this important transition.
Published November 30, 2023
End of an Era
The clock is ticking for the Windows 10 operating system. For many who have believed it when Microsoft stated that there will be no new version of Windows, the unveiling of Windows 11, and the end of support for Windows 10, which happens on October 15, 2025, came as quite a shock.
This date is not just symbolic; it marks the end of security updates, leaving remaining Windows 10 systems in a vulnerable state. In this blog post, we will discuss why it is crucial to begin the transition to Windows 11 well in advance and how to, with the help of Applixure, ensure that your current devices and applications are compatible with the new operating system.
Moving to Windows 11 is not just a necessity; it's an opportunity to take advantage of new features and improvements, such as the new AI-powered Copilot, that make working more efficient and enjoyable.
While the upgrade might seem like a big step, especially for large organizations, a planned approach and proper preparation can ensure a smooth transition. We will provide useful tips and a proposed timeline to help you prepare for this important transition phase.
Why should I care?
It is crucial to understand the implications of this change. The implications are numerous, but I have compiled the list of the top three reasons I think this should be on your radar.
As stated before, when the date arrives, Windows 10 will no longer receive security updates or patches. This lack of updates leaves systems increasingly vulnerable to new viruses, malware, and cyberattacks. As time goes on, these vulnerabilities could be exploited more frequently and with greater impact.
- Software incompatibilities
Software developers often design applications for the latest operating systems. Over time, end-users may find that new software and updates to existing software are no longer compatible with Windows 10. This also greatly impacts the digital employee experience, as end-users will not have the latest features and improvements available.
- Increased IT Costs
Maintaining and troubleshooting software incompatibilities and outdated operating systems often requires more time and resources. For businesses and service providers, this can translate to increased IT costs, as more effort is needed to keep the system running smoothly. In addition, vendors may stop supporting software running on Windows 10, making it more difficult and time-consuming to resolve issues.
When should I start?
While October 15, 2025, may seem like a faraway date to some, it is crucial to start planning and executing your migration immediately, if you have not done so already.
This is because there is more to the upgrade than first meets the eye. It is important to recognize that the upgrade is not just flipping a switch, but that it may also involve hardware evaluations, leasing-periods, software compatibility, and employee training.
By beginning the migration process early, you will not find yourself fixing unforeseen issues and scrambling in panic just days before the critical deadline arrives.
Windows 11 brings with it a new set of System Requirements for the hardware. It is important to note that meeting the minimum requirements listed by Microsoft merely allows you to install Windows 11 on your device.
To have a smooth experience, at least sixteen gigabytes of RAM and 256 gigabytes of disk space is strongly recommended for typical office use. The only time I would recommend eight gigabytes of RAM today, would be cases where the endpoint is only used for web-browsing, or as a terminal to access remote resources, with tools like Citrix Workspace or RemoteApp.
Utilizing Applixure Analytics
To evaluate hardware compatibility, Applixure product family comes into play. With Applixure Analytics, you can easily list devices with the desired hardware specifications, and keep track of devices without the required system requirements, such as Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 present, or UEFI/SecureBoot enabled.
Here’s where things may get tricky in some cases. It is possible to turn off these features from the Basic Input Output System (BIOS), even if the device is compatible on paper. It’s crucial to be able to identify such systems well in advance of the migration, to avoid having to troubleshoot issues in a rush. This is why it is important to have a tool that reports data in real-time, instead of relying on a static specifications sheet of the device.
Utilizing Applixure Workflow
To enhance the migration process further, Applixure Workflow can be used to create dynamic workflow items, many of which are already in-built in the tool, in a Kanban-style board. This approach effectively tracks and manages the status of devices, distinguishing between those compatible with Windows 11 and those that are not. Each group of devices can be represented as an individual item on the Kanban board, allowing for clear visualization and organization.
These items can then be assigned to specific team members or departments responsible for handling them. This method increases accountability and ensures that all devices are appropriately managed throughout the migration process. Team members can update the status of their assigned devices directly on the Kanban board, providing real-time progress tracking and enabling coordination among team-members and different teams.
As with hardware, it is important to verify that the applications used by your organization are compatible with Windows 11.
It is worth noting that Windows 11 has already been out for two years, and that the architectural differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11 are minor, which means that the risk of incompatibility is low. This does not, however, mean that you should skip this step.
Applixure Analytics can be used to compile a list of all the applications found in the endpoints to assist you with this step. As with the hardware compatibility, the use of real-time data can help you avoid last-minute surprises and troubleshooting.
There are many ways to go about migrating to Windows 11. The proposed approach minimizes the negative impact to digital employee experience by taking into consideration the natural lifecycle of existing devices.
While offering insights for a seamless migration, it is important to understand that these guidelines are meant to serve as helpful suggestions rather than definitive rules. Organizations are encouraged to adapt these tips to fit their own needs and circumstances.
Begin with assessing your current infrastructure for Windows 11 compatibility. In practice, this means evaluating your hardware and software compatibility, as well as natural device lifecycles.
Endpoint devices should be used for as long as they can effectively perform their given task. While the three- to five-year fixed leasing-periods are arbitrary and outdated, many companies still abide by them. The good news is that they can be leveraged to ease the migration process.
Assess which devices will be replaced before October 15, 2025, and exclude them from the migration process, to minimize the impact to the end-users.
By onboarding all new devices with Windows 11, you can ease the migration process significantly.
Timeline: Now to three months
Develop a comprehensive migration plan. This includes budgeting, resource allocation, and scheduling. Identify which systems need hardware upgrades, which can be directly updated, and which will be replaced by new devices.
Identify which methods can be used to perform the migration on existing devices. Most, if not all, modern device management tools can be used to perform the task with ease.
Pay special attention to devices scheduled for replacement close to the deadline. It is essential to have a contingency plan for these devices, as they represent the highest risk with little room for error.
This plan should address potential challenges or delays in replacement and ensure that these devices can either be quickly migrated to Windows 11 or replaced without causing significant disruption to end-users.
Applixure Analytics can be used to verify the information of the devices at this stage. Quite often when the device changes owners during its lifecycle, the change is not documented in the IT Asset Management (ITAM), or Configuration Management Database (CMDB) tools. This may result in false information and can hinder the migration process. Applixure Analytics provides real-time data of the last logged on user, as well as the user who has primarily used the device in the last 45 days.
Timeline: Three to six months from now.
3. Testing and Pilot Migration
Start with a pilot migration on a small scale to identify potential issues and solutions. Gather feedback from pilot users to refine the migration process. Be sure to include devices from different parts of the organization to identify as many challenges as possible early-on. For larger organizations, it is advisable to have several pilot phases.
To effectively manage the migration, increase the end-user experience, and minimize the impact on support services, it is essential to keep end-users well-informed and prepared. This involves regularly updating them about the migration process, providing training, and offering instructions and useful resources.
Additionally, setting up a feedback mechanism to address user concerns promptly will help in identifying and resolving common issues. Applixure Feedback provides mechanisms to perform this task more efficiently. Emphasizing the importance of users’ cooperation in this process is crucial for ensuring a positive migration experience.
Timeline: Six months to a year from now.
4. Full-Scale Migration
Begin the full-scale migration process by prioritizing critical and compatible systems. In larger organizations, perform the migration in phases to lessen the burden on support teams.
Continuously provide training and gather feedback throughout the process to address issues promptly and ensure a smooth transition for all users. This part cannot be stressed enough. Even if the technical part of the migration is performed perfectly, but the users are left to fend for themselves, the overall experience will suffer greatly, and leave a lasting negative impression. Here again, Applixure Feedback offers an easy and effective way to get versatile feedback from end-users directly via their desktop during the process.
Applixure Workflow can be used to follow the migration process by creating workflow items to list all Windows 10 devices still present in the environment.
Timeline: 1 to 1.5 years from now.
5. Buffer period
Use this period for addressing any lingering issues. Optimize the new environment based on user feedback and performance metrics.
Continuously monitor, that all devices are migrated to Windows 11.
Document the entire process and outcomes of the migration. This report should include challenges faced, solutions implemented, user feedback, and lessons learned. You never know when you will have to face the same challenge again.
Keep training the staff even after the migration is finished.
Timeline: 1.5 years from now to October 15, 2025.
The switch to Windows 11 should be thoughtful and well-planned, considering the natural lifecycle of your existing devices and the needs of your organization. Remember, the goal is not just to upgrade to a new operating system, but to do so in a way that minimizes disruption and maximizes benefits for your employees and your business.
As I wrap up, let us recall the key takeaways:
- Begin assessing your current hardware and software for compatibility with Windows 11 immediately.
- Educate and involve your end-users throughout the process to ensure a smooth transition.
- Take time to plan your migration in phases, considering the criticality and compatibility of systems.
- Keep an eye on ongoing training and feedback even after the migration is complete.
Start planning, stay updated, and adapt to the change. A well-executed migration to Windows 11 translates to a more user-friendly, secure, and efficient workspace.
Remember, change is not just inevitable; it is an opportunity. Seize it.
Peter Caselius, CEO & Founder, Caselius Oy.
Peter, with over fifteen years of experience in the field of IT, is the founder and CEO of Caselius Oy.
His mission is to create the future of user-centric digital work, by moving from reactive firefighting to proactive management.
Peter has used Applixure products in his daily work since 2018.