Will Microsoft force me to upgrade to Windows 11? What about Windows 11 version 22H2?
Microsoft released Windows 11 almost a year ago now, and soon, Windows 11 version 22H2 is also going to be knocking at our doors. A worry some users might have is that the upgrade to a new version of Windows is mandatory, because many of us just like using things the way we always have. Plus, new versions of Windows can sometimes have issues, so you may prefer waiting a while. So you may be wondering if Microsoft will force you to upgrade to Windows 11 or, if you’re already on Windows 11, if you’ll have to upgrade to version 22H2.
If you’re still on Windows 10, the first thing you need to know is that system requirements for Windows 11 are much higher than those for Windows 10. Those requirements include 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 64-bit CPU. In fact, Microsoft has a list of supported CPUs, and it excludes a lot of processors that are just a few years old. Not only will you not be forced to upgrade, you might not be able to at all even if you wanted to. There are ways you can check if your PC is eligible for the upgrade, or why it might not be.
For those on Windows 11, version 22H2 doesn’t add any new requirements, so you should be able to do it just fine. But even if you can upgrade, it doesn’t mean you want to. And thankfully, Microsoft won’t force you to upgrade to a new version of Windows, at least not for a while. Major Windows upgrades have been optional for a few years, but there are some caveats. Let’s take a closer look.
The Windows 11 upgrade is optional
Microsoft has always been very clear that it won’t force Windows 10 users who are eligible to upgrade to Windows 11 to do so. That’s been the case with past versions of Windows 10, too, so that shouldn’t be too surprising. You might be notified about the update, but you can choose to ignore that and only upgrade when you’re ready.
There’s a big caveat to this, however, which is that Windows 10 has an end-of-support date, and that’s October 14th, 2025. What Microsoft tends to do is that when a version of Windows nears the end of support, you’ll be upgraded automatically to the latest available version so you can continue getting security updates. This makes sense, as it helps you be protected from all kinds of cyberattacks.
What about version Windows 11 version 22H2?
If you’ve already upgraded to Windows 11 or you bought a PC with Windows 11 out of the box, the same general logic applies for future updates. New major updates are always optional when they come out, so you won’t be forced to upgrade to Windows 11 version 22H2 anytime soon.
What changes here is the support period for Windows 11. Microsoft has said that each major version of Windows 11 is supported for 24 months for Home and Pro editions, and 36 months for Enterprise and Education editions. That means the original Windows 11 release will be running out of support in late 2023.
As such, while you won’t be forced to upgrade in the next few months, Microsoft may start pushing Windows 11 version 22H2 to users at some point in 2023, so they can stay in the support cycle and receive new updates. Of course, for Enterprise and Education users, you’ll probably be safe for another year, since support for the initial release of Windows 11 will only end in late 2024.
You can try it and then go back
Whether you’re debating installing Windows 11 itself or the version 22H2 upgrade, the good news is you can try the update first without committing to it. Windows has a built-in rollback option, which is available for 10 days after an upgrade. Basically, you can install a major update, and if you don’t like it or you run into any issues, you can go back to the previous version.
You have to use that option within those first 10 days, however, otherwise things get a bit more complicated. For Windows 10, Microsoft says you can use the Media Creation Tool to download Windows 10 and perform a clean install. For Windows 11, however, Microsoft likely won’t provide installation files for previous versions of Windows 11 once a new update is released. You should be able to find an ISO file elsewhere so you can go back to the previous version, but you’ll want to make sure you’re getting it from a reputable source.
That’s about all you need to know if you’re worried that Microsoft will force you to upgrade to Windows 11 or to version 22H2. Not only are the updates themselves optional, you actually have the choice to try it out and see if you like it. If you don’t, you can always go back to the previous version and stay there as long as it’s supported. And if you’re having specific issues with a new update, there’s a good chance they’ll be fixed in a future update, so you may want to upgrade later. There’s no set end date for the free upgrade to Windows 11, so that shouldn’t be a problem, either.