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Upgrading to Windows 11? Don’t forget your backup and PC check

Microsoft might be heavily promoting its latest operating system, Windows 11, everywhere online — but perhaps don’t rush to upgrade unless the hardware and software is ready.

Erin Osborne, a growth strategist at Macrium Software, warns that several tasks and checks should be completed before installing the new Microsoft OS to ensure installtion is as painless as possible.

“Most devices bought in the last 18 to 24 months should be fine. If you aren’t sure, we recommend you run a PC health check,” says Osborne.

Windows 11 has many new security features that rely on specific, more recent hardware, she warns, suggesting consumers without a Windows Insider account click here to download the Microsoft PC Health Check app.

If all is well, the next step is to create a full image backup of your current system.

Software available for this task includes Macrium’s Reflect 8, which means that you can restore your previous setup if things go wrong or you dislike Windows 11 once installed, Osborne says. Instructions for using Reflect 8 for this task are available here.

“Or, if you’re part of the population who needs to upgrade your hardware to enable running Windows 11, Reflect ReDeploy is the ideal way to move your current setup over,” according to Osborne. “Or maybe just wait.”

Osborne says the previous Windows 10 rollout was “pretty much a disaster”.

“While all indications point to Microsoft having learned from those events, it could be a good idea to just let the dust settle a little post-release before you jump in,” she says.

According to the Windows Insider Blog, Windows 11 raises the bar for security by requiring hardware that can enable protections like Windows Hello, Device Encryption, virtualisation-based security (VBS), hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI) and Secure Boot.

“The combination of these features has been shown to reduce malware by 60% on tested devices,” it says.

However, some independent reviewers — for example, PC Gamer — have sounded a note of caution, suggesting it might be wise to wait at least until some more of the biggest features have been released.

( Image copyright © Microsoft 2021 )

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