No operating system or software is built to last forever, and Windows 8.1 is no exception. Microsoft has decided to end support for Windows 8.1 on January 10, 2023, after which the operating system will no longer receive security or maintenance updates.
If you’re concerned that your PC will be vulnerable to threats once support expires, you should consider upgrading to Microsoft’s most recent desktop operating system, Windows 11.
Why Should You Upgrade From Windows 8.1 to Windows 11?
Microsoft will no longer support Windows 8.1 after its end-of-life (EOL) date. While this does not render your PC completely worthless, using an unsupported version of Windows may not be a good idea.
For starters, Windows 8.1 will stop receiving security patches or technical updates after the cutoff date has passed. This will leave your PC vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Of course, you can deploy an antivirus program to fill the void left by discontinued security updates, but that will only get you so far.
Other issues might also end up crippling your PC. For instance, it will become increasingly difficult to find software that is compatible with the old operating system. Certain programs including Microsoft 365 apps, will stop receiving updates. If you continue to use Microsoft 365 apps on Windows 8.1, you’re likely to come across performance and reliability issues over time.
All things considered, if you have the option, you should definitely upgrade from Windows 8.1 before the support ends. If you do decide to upgrade, Windows 11’s increased security over Windows 10 is reason enough to choose the newer version. And if you’re still unsure, check out the differences between Windows 10 and 11 to see what’s different.
What Are the Minimum Requirements for Upgrading to Windows 11?
Windows 11 outperforms its predecessors in nearly every important category, including speed, security, compatibility, and so on. Unsurprisingly, such a powerful operating system necessitates the use of appropriate hardware.
Here are the minimum requirements your PC must meet to run Windows 11.
- CPU: 64-bit, dual-core, at least 1 GHz
- Memory: 4 GB
- Storage: 64 GB or more
- System Firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- GPU: DirectX 12-compatible / WDDM 2.x
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
You can also check if your PC meets the above requirements by downloading the WhyNotWin11 tool.
However, all is not lost if your PC doesn’t meet all of these requirements. You can still install Windows 11 on your unsupported machine using an ISO file. That said, your PC still needs to have TPM 1.2 (instead of the minimum system requirement of TPM 2.0) and UEFI firmware with Secure Boot enabled for this to work.
How to Upgrade From Windows 8.1 to Windows 11
The good news is that you can directly upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 11. Plus, you won’t be losing any of your data and apps as the upgrade is non-destructive. However, it’s always a good idea to use a Windows backup app to create a full backup before proceeding.
Before you can proceed with the installation, you’ll have to edit Windows Registry to bypass Windows 11 installation requirements. Here’s how to do it.
- Press Win + R to open the Run dialog. Type regedit in the text box, and press Enter.
- Select Yes when the User Account Control (UAC) prompt appears.
- Use the left pane to navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > Setup > MoSetup.
- Right-click on the MoSetup key and choose New > DWORD (32-Bit) Value. Name it AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMOrCPU.
- Double-click the newly created DWORD and change its Value data to 1. Then, hit OK.
- Exit the Registry Editor window and restart your PC to apply the changes.
Your computer is now ready to install Windows 11 even if it doesn’t meet the minimum requirements.
To upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 11 using an ISO file, follow these steps:
- Download the Windows 11 ISO file from Microsoft’s Windows 11 download page.
- Right-click on the ISO file and select Mount to create a virtual bootable disc.
- Navigate to the mounted drive and double-click the setup.exe file.
- Click Next.
- Click the Accept button after reading the license terms.
- Click the Install button to initiate the installation process.
Say Hello to Windows 11
As we just saw, upgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 11 is quick and painless. However, if your PC is already on its last legs, you might want to consider purchasing a new Windows 11-compatible PC for the best experience.