Microsoft’s full-screen reminders to upgrade to Windows 11 are back for Windows 10 users, and they might be here to stay

Microsoft has taken a new tack with its continued campaign of full-screen banner ads designed to push Windows 10 users to upgrade to Windows 11, and this time, users of suitable and unsuitable PCs – those that don’t meet the hardware requirements for the newest OS – are seeing different adverts. 

Windows 11’s market share has remained relatively static in recent months, and Microsoft is clearly eager to change that, with Windows 10 holding the vast majority of market share with around 70% (according to StatCounter). 

As for Microsoft's latest tactic to drive upgrades, Windows Latest noticed two separate initiatives as mentioned. The first was witnessed on a Windows 10 PC that wasn’t eligible for a Windows 11 upgrade, and it showed a screen warning that the device will stop receiving updates come October 2025, reminding users that their PC can’t run Windows 11. The full-screen notification was titled “A new journey with Windows” and appeared after monthly mandatory security updates were installed, possibly implying that this could be a repeating occurrence.

The notification screen also offers users the ability to be reminded at a later date, and to learn more about the end of support for Windows 10. It links to a support document that encourages you to consider a Windows 11 upgrade, partly by including a comparison of the two operating systems. 

This differed from a PC running Windows 10 and eligible for a straightforward Windows 11 upgrade. On this system, Windows Latest received a notification encouraging them to go ahead and schedule their update or just upgrade right away, alerting them of the upcoming end-of-support date and reminding them to make sure that their device stays supported past that date. This notification has been seen before, of course (a number of times).

Microsoft Store in Windows 10

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's ambitions vs Windows 10 fans' devotion

Windows 10 continues to be the dominant flavor of Windows and users aren’t happy about being forced to move on or face losing support. Windows 11 was released the best part of three years ago, but it’s still struggling to get near Windows 10’s popularity, as mentioned. Part of the problem here is those hardware requirements, of course, which are a stumbling block for some folks with older PCs.

Users who want to stick with Windows 10 do have a few choices and we’ve recently discussed this in-depth. One option will be to continue getting security updates past Windows 10’s end-of-life date with Microsoft’s Extended Security Update (ESU) program. Currently, this is only available for commercial customers, but Windows Latest asserts that a version for individual consumers will arrive later in 2024. Currently, an ESU license for a single device is $ 61 a year for businesses, but the price doubles every year (for up to three years). 

Windows 10 users are faced with three primary options in the longer term: upgrade to Windows 11, continue to use Windows 10 without crucial security updates (not a good idea at all), or opt into a pricey extended security update plan. I understand Windows 10 users’ frustrations as many are not sold on Windows 11 as being an improvement in quality. Additionally, many users aren’t keen on Microsoft’s insistence on integrating AI into many apps and parts of the operating system, and Windows 10 still looks and feels like a modern, up-to-date OS. Furthermore, there are those hardware requirements to consider, as already noted. 

I don’t know how well Microsoft will weather this transition, but the company needs to walk a fine line between reminding users about the reality of Windows 10 running out of support, and getting too pushy with all these notifications. Right now, it feels like Microsoft is erring (again) towards the latter, but I don’t see the company backing down.


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Google Photos update could make it a powerful new reminders app

Google Photos continues to get smarter and it could soon gain the ability to let you set reminders for certain tasks and events, all from within the photo management app. 

There’s already a myriad of smart AI-powered options within Google Photos, from being able to extract text from an image, translate languages, and use the Google Lens feature to pick out even more information in photos and search Google for highlighted items. But this forthcoming reminder function, spotted by The SpAndroid, continues to build out the Photos app into more than just a place to store, edit and peruse shots. 

Much like the “Copy text”, “Search” and “Listen”  ‘chips’ (aka prompts) that pop up to offer you various options, an incoming Google Photos update could soon serve up the option to “Set reminder”. 

Tapping this effectively lets you create a calendar entry for a corresponding Google Calendar app. So let's say you snapped a photo of a restaurant board offering specials on certain days, you could use the new feature to then set a calendar reminder to check out the restaurant on a particular day.

As someone who snaps photos on his phone to serve as reminders and reference points, this new feature seems particularly handy. Sure, it’s not hard to bounce into a calendar app and set your own reminder, but being able to do things with fewer taps or swipes through app menus is certainly appealing to me. And it also means the information you’re after is right in front of you, rather than forcing you to bounce between apps.

Unfortunately, this reminder feature doesn't appear to have rolled out widely yet, with it not popping up in Google Photos on my iPhone 13 Pro or Google Pixel 7 Pro. However such updates can take time to roll out worldwide. I’m running Google Photos version 6.60, so I may need to wait until version 6.61 as that was used by The SpAndroid to test the reminder feature.

Ever smarter software 

Given Google is pushing AI-powered tools into its software, as well as Pixel phones with the Pixel 8 Pro at the top of the pile, it’s no surprise to see it bolster Photos with AI-centric features. 

It might seem creepy that Google could extract all manner of information from your smartphone snaps, but these tools can be very handy at times, letting you do more with less back and forth between apps. 

I’m actually keen to see Google do more in embracing interoperability between its app ecosystem. I’d like Google Maps to pull Google Photos into my timeline so I can better retrace my steps when trying to remember where I went and when; you can manually add photos to Maps and map locations can be automatically added to photos, but it doesn't quite feel like there’s perfect harmony between the apps. 

Nevertheless, it’s neat to see how Google Photos continues to evolve. I only hope it sticks to the side of being handy and not fall into the realms of creepiness. 

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Hunting for your Google Workspace reminders? They’ve moved to a new app

Keeping track of your reminders in Google Workspace could be a bit trickier for a short while as the platform moves alerts over to a new app.

Users of the online collaboration platform have been told their reminders for Google Assistant and Google Calendar will now be moving over to the company's Google Tasks app.

The news was first announced in September 2022, with the migration now underway for Google Workspace users across the world, as it looks to “to create a single experience for managing to-dos across Google.”

Google Tasks migration

Originally launched in 2018, Google Tasks is one of the most underappreciated Workspace tools, often going unnoticed by many users, but the company is now looking to boost its importance with the new move.

Now, Google Tasks will be directly integrated with Workspace apps such as Gmail, Google Chat and Calendar, meaning you can quickly add to and manage your to-do list as new jobs come in.

Users will be able to select a new “Add to tasks” button in Gmail, create tasks directly from Google Chat, and create a task in Google Calendar in order to make sure they have the time to get it done. 

Once created, all these tasks can be sorted into lists, with priorities set with the star selection already seen in Gmail and Google Drive – and finished tasks marked as complete with a satisfying tick mark.

Google Tasks new layout

(Image credit: Google Workspace)

Google says that integrating Assistant and Calendar reminders into Tasks will also make users' lives much easier, allowing them to save suggestions or ideas hands-free.  If you specify a date or time, your device will display a notification when it's time, so you don't forget.

Anyone wishing to have a copy of their Reminders data should receive it before June 2022, the company says, with Keep reminders also remaining on the app, but no longer showing on your calendar.

Following the migration, users will be able to view their tasks by going to the Tasks calendar instead of the Reminders calendar – and they can also go to Google Tasks, or ask Assistant, for your tasks.

Users can find out more on the changes on Google Workspace's support page.

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