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A Windows 11 'free' upgrade pushes users to buy a new PC

Windows 10 mot 11Image: Rob Schultz/Foundry

Upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 10 didn’t take much effort. But Microsoft has had an uphill battle trying to convince users to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, and it appears that the company is turning up the pressure — even if your PC doesn’t qualify.

Reddit user Woopinah9 reported that Microsoft pushed a full-page advertisement for Windows 11 to his Windows 10 PC while he was working. The problem? Even the ad acknowledged that the PC was ineligible to upgrade. The implicit message was that the user needed to buy a new PC.

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Here’s the situation right now: Windows 10 will reach the end of support on October 14, 2025. Consumers will be offered extended support to allow them to go past that, but Microsoft hasn’t said how much it will charge. Businesses will need to pay $61 per year. And the mess that was (and is) Windows 11’s hardware requirements means that there will be a few users who will fall through the cracks, as the Reddit user obviously has.

So what are users supposed to do? A whole host of Reddit commenters noted the contradiction: Microsoft is encouraging them to upgrade to the latest cool thing, then telling them they can’t have it. In some sense, this is the same message the PC industry delivers with each new generational upgrade: Look how fast this PC runs compared to one that’s three years old, or five years old. Go buy it!


Microsoft’s guidelines for the next big thing, an AI PC, are equally vague: a Copilot key, an NPU, and Copilot itself. Microsoft has yet to confirm a requirement that the PC be able to processs a given number of trillions of operations per second (TOPS), a unit of measurement for AI processing. And, of course, as most silicon vendors will tell you, millions of “AI PCs” have already shipped with powerful GPUs that can perform AI operations in place of an NPU. But those aren’t really AI PCs…or are they?

The switch to the next major version of Windows 11 and AI PCs may indeed be groundbreaking. But if Microsoft is going to try to persuade consumers that they need to abandon their investment in Windows 10 and upgrade to an AI PC running Windows 11, the company needs to convince users of the advantages of doing so and tell them specifically what they’ll need to achieve that. So far, the company has done neither.

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

Recent stories by Mark Hachman:

Finland’s ‘Windows95man’ is taking Eurovision by stormMicrosoft’s Copilot AI is stealing one of Midjourney’s best featuresMore workers are using AI, but they’re ashamed to admit it

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