Microsoft reminds Windows 11 users on original version that they’ll soon be forced to upgrade

Are you still running Windows 11 21H2? The original version of Windows 11 is about to run out of road for support, and Microsoft has reminded us that users are going to have to upgrade to a newer version imminently.

Neowin spotted that Microsoft has updated its release health dashboard to make things clear for those on Windows 11 21H2 (Home and Pro, plus Pro variants).

The company reminds us that support ends on October 10, 2023, and that the cumulative security update for October, to be released on that day, will be the last ever update that Windows 11 21H2 receives.

Microsoft further clarifies: “The September 2023 non-security preview update will be the last optional release and the October 2023 security update will be the last security release for Windows 11, version 21H2. Windows 11, version 22H2 will continue to receive security and optional releases.”

Analysis: Only one road ahead

Users on 21H2 will therefore be pushed to upgrade to 22H2 and Windows 11 will automatically fire up the update to do so when this end date rolls around – or up to a couple of months before that. So, if you are still on Windows 11 21H2, you might experience this forced upgrade very soon.

It is, of course, of paramount importance that your copy of Windows 11 remains in date and keeps up with the flow of security fixes, otherwise your PC could be open to being exploited by hackers and opportunists out there.

If Windows 11 23H2 emerges very soon, it’s possible you could get pushed to move to that instead of 22H2. However, we don’t think that’s too likely – although it could arrive later this month, as we’ve previously observed, but most rumors have it penciled in for Q4, which of course means October at the soonest, and quite possibly not early in the month. We shall see.

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Still on Windows 11 21H2? Forced upgrades are coming as Microsoft reminds us it’s on life support

Windows 11 21H2 is about to run out of road for support, so if you’re still on this version of the operating system, then you need to upgrade very soon.

Bleeping Computer highlighted an end-of-servicing announcement Microsoft issued pertaining to Windows 11 Home, version 21H2 (and Pro versions, too, including Windows 11 Pro Education).

Microsoft reminded us: “These editions will no longer receive security updates after October 10, 2023.”

What does that mean? Feature updates are one thing – upgrades that add new capabilities and refine the interface of Windows 11 in one way or another – but security updates are the really important bit.

They patch up vulnerabilities that have been discovered in Windows 11, and if not fixed, could be exploited by attackers to compromise your system in some way (usually with dire results).

If you’re still running Windows 11 21H2 – which is the version of the OS from 2021, as the name suggests – then you need to upgrade to 22H2, and do so before October arrives.

Analysis: Get going on that upgrade

Upgrading to Windows 11 22H2 is an easy process. Just head to Windows Update (in Settings), and click the ‘Check for updates’ button, whereupon the upgrade should show up with the option to install it.

Not sure what version of Windows 11 you have? You can find out simply by typing ‘winver’ into the search box on the taskbar and clicking on ‘Run command’. Winver stands for Windows Version and will pop up a panel telling you if you are currently running Windows 11 21H2 or 22H2 (or whatever flavor of Microsoft’s OS you’ve got for that matter, if it’s another).

Windows 10 users have already seen their 21H2 version pushed out of support, which happened last month – the June cumulative update contained the final round of security patches for that incarnation of the OS. That means Windows 10 users should already have upgraded to 22H2, and indeed Microsoft is forcing the upgrade on folks (to ensure they stay protected).

Microsoft has also been forcing upgrades to Windows 11 22H2 for the same reason over the course of 2023, and as the final October deadline for 21H2 support approaches, more users are going to get an automatic upgrade coming into play, again to ensure their PC continues to receive security fixes.

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Microsoft gets defensive and reminds users how great Windows 11 is

Microsoft recently released a feature update for Windows 11 called Moment 3, which was full of useful upgrades and performance enhancements, that could even win over many Windows 10 users in the battle to get them to upgrade to Windows 11

Soon after the release of Moment 3, Microsoft released a list of enhancements that the company has made throughout the year to “more than a billion users worldwide” via a blog post. The list is basically a rundown of every change made in the past year on Insider channels that are now present in the Moment 3 update.

According to Neowin, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer Panos Panay had reminded people that the newest iteration of Windows is focused on quality, and that Windows 11 is the “most reliable version of Windows ever.”

The official blog post from Microsoft with the rather unsubtle title ‘Delivering Delightful Performance for More Than One Billion Users Worldwide’ dives into all the major changes made thus far that Windows users should be grateful for.

There’s been no shortage of negative news stories, crashes and bugs crawling around Windows 11 and subsequent updates and fixes this year, so the blog post comes across like doubling-down from the tech giant. While the Moment 3 update was definitely welcomed with open, almost desperate arms, it does seem a little strange for Microsoft to put out a blog post detailing every ‘good’ change it’s made so far.

The improvements boasted by the tech giant are listed in full in the post, with some notable mentions like making PCs more sustainable, Microsoft Edge starting up faster and increasing users productivity by speeding up how long it takes to get to the desktop.

Microsoft still needs to entice more people to move over to Windows 11, and the recent string of bad headlines definitely hasn’t helped with the migration, but the new blog post could be persuasive.  If you’re apprehensive about upgrading to Windows 11, having every major change listed out could help settle any concerns and aid your decision to upgrade or stay put. That being said, some of the listed upgrades are a little vague, perhaps purposely so.

The Moment 3 update is definitely a step in the right direction and does show that Windows has moved pretty far away from the dark days of Windows Vista. Giving users a whole blog post on all the changes you’ve been making is a straightforward step towards enticing people to upgrade, and we will have to see just how persuaded users are. 

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