Windows 11 FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: Oct 31


Six years after the introduction of Windows 10, the free upgrade to Windows 11 marks the start of an optically completely new operating system. From October 5, 2021, Microsoft will officially start the redesign and with it the delivery on the first PCs. Distribution to all compatible computers is expected to be completed within the next few months.


The new look of Windows 11 is particularly evident in the start menu and the rounded corners that run through the entire operating system. Deep integration of Microsoft Teams, the embedding of news widgets, and new animations provide a breath of fresh air as well as an improved interlocking with the Xbox gaming cosmos, the use of Android apps, and faster updates.


Many innovations also mean many questions. We answer the most important ones as part of our comprehensive Windows 11 FAQ.


Table contents

How do you leave the Insider Preview for the final Windows 11?


Microsoft has now released Windows 11 and the new operating system is now arriving regularly with users. Many curious people have known and used the new version for a while, via Insider Preview. We show how to leave them again.


Windows 11 has been essentially ready for weeks and even months, Microsoft recently only fixed a few final bugs. That meant that the new OS could be tried out more or less completely safely. This was possible by simply switching to the beta and now also the release preview channel.


The latter version is essentially the same as the Windows 11 version as found in the wild. In this case, it is not necessary to leave the insider channel - it simply makes little difference. Of course, it is possible.


In the case of the beta channel, this may be a very good idea, because in the future builds will end up here that were previously in the developer channel - so it is conceivable that bugs spillover from the developer channel that cannot be found on a productive system wants.


Change from dev channel not possible


Switching to regular Windows 11 is very easy, at least if you are not in the dev channel. If that's the case, then you're basically stuck there. Microsoft warned against this months ago, so most insiders on this channel will be aware of it.


If you are currently in the beta channel and have installed build 22000.194 (on the release day), you can exit the Insider Preview with just a few clicks:

  • Open the Settings app

  • Click Windows Update

  • Choose Windows Insider Program

  • At the bottom you can find the item "Stop receiving pre-release versions", click on it

  • Here at "Unregister, this device when the next version of Windows releases is released" the switch is to be set to "On"

  • Now all you have to do is restart

Incidentally, under the latter point, there is an entry "Unregister this device immediately". At first glance, this formulation is a bit confusing, because registration means the insider version of Windows 11 as a whole - if you activate this point, you are downgrading to Windows 10.

TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot: This is how you get your PC ready for Windows 11


When Windows 11 was announced, there was a pretty big surprise or a big upset: In contrast to most previous Windows versions, Microsoft decided to incorporate two significant requirements or hurdles: TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot.


First of all: In both cases, interventions in the UEFI / BIOS are probably necessary. That sounds "dangerous", but it isn't. You can't go wrong even in the BIOS (stands for Basic Input / Output System). If you click on it once or change something unintentionally, you can press the Esc key at any time or go to the far right in the menus and exit there without saving.


The second note in advance: Even if we talk about BIOS again and again, nowadays it is probably UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) or a mixture of BIOS and UEFI. In addition, the term BIOS has become commonplace and many mean UEFI, but say BIOS.


However, before performing such interventions, one should do thisDownload and run the Windows 11 system check tool. This application reveals whether a PC is fit for Windows 11 and, if not, what needs to be done to meet the minimum requirements. The program also reveals whether TPM 2.0 or the secure start, i.e. Secure Boot, is active.


Activate TPM 2.0


The first setting we focus on is the Trusted Platform Module or TPM for short. This is a special chip that is used to generate, store and protect encryption keys. Such a chip is usually already integrated on modern mainboards, but can also be retrofitted in an emergency. Before you do that, you should check whether the CPU and other components also support Windows 11, because if you don't have a TPM on board, there's a good chance that the rest of the hardware is older. There are essentially two ways to activate TPM 2.0: directly via Windows 10 and via a boot sequence.

  • First, let's look at the path that leads directly through Windows 10:

  • Open settings

  • Click on "Update and Security"

  • Go to "Recovery"

  • At "Extended start" press the button "Restart now"

  • Click on "Troubleshoot"

  • Go to "Advanced Options"

  • Go to UEFI firmware settings (note: devices with legacy BIOS do not have this option)

  • Press "Restart"

  • Now you end up in the UEFI settings. Search is now the order of the day, you have to find the appropriate entry for the Trusted Platform Module (TPM). This is often placed at points such as advanced or safety. In addition, the whole thing hides behind the abbreviation fTPM. By the way, there is no generally valid way here, because this setting differs from manufacturer to manufacturer or motherboard to motherboard - you should therefore consult the manufacturer's website or the manual

  • Once you have found the TPM setting, it must of course be activated (i.e. set to "Enabled")

  • Now you should leave the UEFI settings

  • The settings must be confirmed and the PC must be restarted

The above-mentioned way is ultimately only one of two possible ways to get into the UEFI or BIOS. If you cannot or do not want to do this via Windows 10, you should restart the PC or switch it on regularly. In the course of the boot process, the first thing that appears is a display or a boot screen or so-called bootsplash. This then takes you to the BIOS after pressing a certain key (which one exactly is clarified by taking a quick look at the manual. In most cases, it is the F2 or Del key).

Get into the UEFI by restarting:

  • to turn on the computer

  • The boot screen should read which key you have to press to get to the firmware

  • It is best to press this button several times in succession so as not to miss the right time. Usually, this is the Delete key, Esc or function keys (often F2) are also often used here

  • You land in the UEFI settings and should proceed as described above from point 7.

Activate Secure Boot


Secure Boot is the second important function that Microsoft requires for Windows 11. The "safe start" is used to ensure that the system only allows previously signed boot loaders. This increases security because malware cannot sneak in when the system is started.


To enable Secure Boot in the UEFI settings, you have to proceed as described above, which is why we will not again list everything step by step at this point. Before doing that, however, you should check whether Secure Boot is not already active.


How to check whether Secure Boot is active or not:

  • Open start

  • Search for "System Information", typing in the word "Systemi *" is usually sufficient; the appropriate symbol should also be the first result

  • In the system overview, you should look for the item Secure Boot State, where you can find out whether Secure Boot is active or not

  • You should also check the "BIOS Mode": If it says UEFI, then Secure Boot can be activated without much effort; if you read "Legacy (BIOS)" or "Previous version", additional steps are required.

As already mentioned, it is now again (as previously explained and described) to get into the UEFI / BIOS. Secure Boot should be activated there, but the exact where is different from board manufacturer to board manufacturer. As a rule, however, this point can be found under "Security". If it is not, the manual or the manufacturer's website should be consulted.


Secure Boot is on, but BIOS mode is in Legacy - what now?


If you have successfully activated Secure Boot and run the system check tool for Windows 11, you may still not be fit for the new operating system. As mentioned, this is due to the legacy mode of the BIOS. The reason is that you have to switch the drive from Master Boot Record (MBR) to the GUID Partition Table (GPT) used by UEFI.


Microsoft instructions for using the MBR2GPT tool in Windows 10


This is usually done during a clean installation. But do not worry: this is not necessary. The changeover can be carried out during operation and without data loss, with the help of a simple Microsoft tool called MBR2GPT.exe - this should already be in the correct folder (C: \ WINDOWS \ system32)

  • Search for a command prompt via Start

  • Right-click and run as administrator

  • Enter or copy the following command: mbr2gpt / convert / allowfullOS

  • Press Enter and execute the command

  • That's it, then you can go to the firmware to set the UEFI mode

Windows 11 upgrade: So you can start the installation immediately


Windows 11 is now available as a free upgrade for all compatible desktop PCs, notebooks, and tablets. There are five ways to immediately install the new Microsoft operating system, which we explain to you in a simple way with these instructions.


There are now a total of five methods available to you for updating from Windows 10 to Windows 11. From the simple Windows update function to the installation wizard and the Media Creation Tool (MCT) to manual installation via ISO file and bootable USB sticks. For all types, the minimum system requirements for Windows 11 (e.g. TPM, Secure Boot, and Co.) should be met.


At your own risk, the download is also possible without these hardware requirements, either via TPM skip or by accepting possible Microsoft restrictions.


Windows 10 upgrade to Windows 11 via Windows Update function


The easiest and safest way to update to Windows 11 is via the classic Windows Update in the Windows 10 settings. However, Microsoft is rolling out the upgrade in unspecified waves. For some users, this may mean that an automatic Windows 11 update will not be possible until next year.


Among other things, the age of the computer and the built-in components could play a role, since the Redmond-based company may initially only want to equip more modern PCs with Windows 11 in order to avoid unforeseen compatibility problems. The installation will be refused this way even if there are known problems.


Windows 10 upgrade to Windows 11 via the installation wizard


If all the hardware and software requirements of Windows 11 are met, but the Windows update is still not initiated, the installation wizard for Windows 11 offered by Microsoft, a new version of which is available for download, will help. If Windows 10 at least version 2004 is installed on the computer to be updated, the upgrade to Windows 11 can be started manually with this tool.


As is well known, you have the choice of keeping files and programs or reinstalling Windows 11 with the associated loss of data. The only restriction: the installation wizard is not compatible with systems with ARM processors.

Windows 10 upgrade to Windows 11 via Media Creation Tool (MCT)


Another option for a manual upgrade to Windows 11 is the Media Creation Tool, which is also sold directly by Microsoft. The so-called MCT downloads the required version of the new operating system and creates an installation medium on a bootable USB stick, a DVD, or directly on the PC.


With this medium, the update can be started directly from Windows 10 operation, better known as In-Place Update. Alternatively, the stick or DVD can be used for a completely new installation.


Windows 10 upgrade to Windows 11 via ISO file


Last but not least, experienced users can download the Windows 11 ISO file directly download from here and integrate them into the system manually using the provided function (right-click -> Provide) or with the help of various third-party tools (e.g. Ventoy ) equip a DVD or USB stick with this.


The minimum hardware requirements of Windows 11 are also assumed for this expert method. If these cannot be fully met, Windows 11 warns you during installation of a possible loss of warranty or the exclusion of future updates.


Windows 10 upgrade to Windows 11 via "Out of Box Experience" (OOBE)


Microsoft no longer offers the upgrade option from Windows 10 to Windows 11 only via the classic Windows update and the methods described above. The Redmond-based company now allows users with compatible PCs to initiate the update directly while setting up a new Windows 10 computer. Everything happens automatically in the setup wizard, also known as the "Out of Box Experience" - OOBE for short.


The only thing that is necessary besides meeting the hardware requirements is an active internet connection. It ensures that a required patch is installed during the setup of Windows 10 and that the upgrade to Windows 11 can be suggested. PCs with ARM processors, for example, the Microsoft Surface X, also benefit from this method. In addition, it does not matter whether it is a new computer or just a new installation of Windows 10 on "authorized devices", both are possible.

Downgrade: How do I get back to Windows 10 from Windows 11?


Windows 11 is not a complete upheaval, but after the change, it can turn out that the change was too hasty. In this case, it is of course possible to go back to the previous one.


Many users are cautious when releasing a new major version of the operating system. Because it is not for nothing that it is said: "Never change a running system." If everything works as expected, installing a feature upgrade can mean that a particularly important feature suddenly works completely differently or is no longer available. Microsoft is well aware of these fears, but of course, we still want to do everything we can to ensure that users switch to the latest Windows version as soon as possible. To make things as easy as possible for users, a really simple downgrade option is now offered.


No Windows 10 user should fear that they will not be able to cope with an upgrade and will now have to take a complicated route back to their predecessor. Therefore, when installing the upgrade to Windows 11, the existing Windows 10 installation is saved in the form of a backup. This then remains on the local storage for 10 days.


If the initial difficulties with the new Windows version cannot be resolved after a few days, all you need to do is go to the settings. A "Restore" menu item is displayed there in the "System" area. If you click on this, you will be gently guided through the downgrade process. Microsoft also asks why you are not satisfied with the new version and then brings you back to the familiar Windows 10 version.


Unlimited returns


The integrated return function suggests that the user can create a comparable option for himself, which is not limited to a few days, by simply creating a complete backup using Macrium Reflect Free, for example. If necessary, this can be played back at any later point in time and you can pick up where you left off.


Alternative: radical tour


It gets a little more complicated after the ten-day downgrade window or if for some reason it doesn't work as expected. Then Windows 10 must be brought to the computer with a complete reinstallation. The basis for this is a Windows 10 installation medium that can be created with the Media Creation Tool. The system can then be set up again with this. However, if it was not a complete PC, which usually has the license key already stored in the BIOS, you need the license key that you received with the last Windows 10 version.

How can I get Windows 11 for free?


Every new release of a major operating system upgrade by Microsoft brings with it the question of how to get the latest version at no extra charge. It's basically going to be pretty easy with Windows 11 because Microsoft has made it clear that it's a free upgrade.


Specifically, this means: Anyone who already has a valid Windows 10 license and a sufficiently good computer can upgrade to Windows 11 for free. However, there are some hurdles that mean that not all users will be there right from the start of October 5, 2021.


Gradual supply


First of all, those users who buy a new PC from October 5th will get the new operating system. Then, step by step, all other users will also be taken along - at some point, they will receive a notification that the update is ready if you look under "Settings> Windows Update> Check for updates". However, it can happen that the whole process takes a while. Microsoft has stated that all devices that are eligible for the upgrade should be supplied by mid-2022. So there is not even a guarantee that you will get the update this year, unless you take action yourself and force the update via a Windows 11 ISO, for example.


By the way, eligible devices are those that meet the official system requirements. There has been quite a bit of controversy about this since Microsoft's first announcements. Although Microsoft ultimately made some adjustments, Windows 11 will at least cost the price of new hardware for many users.


But if you don't even have a valid Windows 10 license, you won't get Windows 11 for free. The respective license fees for the individual editions that Microsoft brings onto the market are then to be paid here.


Windows 11: These nine settings should be changed first


Tip 1: View and switch off telemetry detection


Security and data protection were already big upsets with Windows 10, the Redmond company was heavily criticized and had to react quickly at the time. Since the Creators Update (from spring 2017), the most important data protection settings are already displayed during installation so that they can be viewed or not overlooked.


In the case of Windows 11, Microsoft did not raise the issue of data protection and telemetry or did not comment on them. So it can't hurt to take a closer look at the individual items and check what is set.


Little hint: The following tips are largely based on the experience of Windows 10, which is why it may well be that one or the other small detail has changed here - but this is probably not due to the close relationship to Windows 10.


The most controversial point has always been the detection of telemetry. This data includes the anonymized analysis of the user's PC. Microsoft wants to collect information that serves to improve the operating system.


In the early days of Windows 10, turning off the telemetry collection was still quite tedious, because you had to use either the group guidelines or the registry.


But in Windows 11 this is no longer necessary as the Settings app has everything you need. And that's a good thing because you can deactivate telemetry very quickly and easily. However, you can still go through the registry, because then the acquisition of the telemetry can be controlled more finely.

Via the Windows settings


For this you have to find the item "Diagnosis and Feedback" in the Windows settings under "Data protection & security" (the seventh from the top), there is then the item "Find optional diagnostic data". If it is off, Microsoft does not notice anything, if you want to help the Redmonders to improve the operating system, activate the point.


If you want to know exactly what data the operating system is currently collecting, you have to activate the diagnostic data display and access a separate application called the Diagnostic Data Viewer. Although this ensures transparency, it is boring and complicated for ordinary people.


If you do not want the diagnostic data to be recorded, you can prevent it with a simple slider and/or remove information that has been collected so far.


Registry

  • Here, too, the path leads first to the start menu, either via the Windows symbol in the lower-left corner, or the Windows key.

  • There you then type in regedit, right-click on the associated program icon and start it as administrator:

  • Look for the following path:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Policies -> Microsoft -> Windows -> DataCollection

  • Right-click on DataCollection, select "New" and create the entry AllowTelemetry via "New DWORD value (32 bit)".

  • Double-click AllowTelemetry.

  • A total of four values ​​can be entered for AllowTelemetry, more precisely the digits 0-3. They are used for the operating system and the preinstalled apps, not for downloaded ones.

They mean:

  • Value 0: Minimum data is transferred, including, if set in the respective applications, Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) and Windows Defender. The value 0 is only possible for enterprise and education systems.

  • Value 1: In addition to the settings of value 0, a few diagnostic data such as device and compatibility information are transmitted.

  • Value 2: Usage and performance data Windows, Windows Server, System Center, and apps are also sent here.

  • Value 3: The full telemetry transmission includes extended diagnostic data, which is also used to solve any problems.

Tip 2: create a system restore point


After setting up a new system, everyday computer life begins. New software or drivers have to be installed again and again. Something can always go wrong and it is advisable to have a plan B for this purpose. In the case of an operating system, this means the presence of a system restore point.


With the help of this point, you can reset the operating system to this point at any time without having to do a new installation. We recommend creating such a backup as soon as possible after a new installation.

  • To do this, first, open the start menu, either via the Windows symbol in the middle of the taskbar or the Windows key, the search also leads to the goal.

  • Then you type in " restore point " (tip: you don't have to enter the word in full, just pay attention to the suggestions) and then click on "create a restore point". A window with system properties opens with an overview of all available drives.

  • Here you have to select the system drive, which is usually the local disk marked with "(C :)" and "(System)". Then click on "Configure ...", which is located under the area with the drives.

  • There you should click "Activate computer protection" and select the maximum possible storage space allocation. Around two or three percent are recommended here, which is usually the default setting. Then you confirm with OK.

  • Immediately afterward you should create your first restore point, you can do this with "Create". A small window opens, the name must be entered there and the process is carried out by clicking on "Create", after successful completion you will be informed.

  • A meaningful name is of course also recommended.

  • If a system restore is actually necessary, then click on the point of the same name in the Computer protection tab of the system properties and follow the steps there.

  • If the computer does not start at all, you can press F8 or Shift + F8 during the start-up process, this will take you to safe mode and start the recovery from there.

Tip 3: show filename extensions and hidden items


Extensions such as .exe, .docx, or .dll have not been shown by default for a while now; Microsoft is of the opinion that this simplifies the file system. The same applies to hidden files, these mostly affect the system, here Microsoft wants to prevent you from accidentally deleting something important.


But in these two cases, as is so often the case, the opposite of good is well-meant. Accordingly, most want to activate both views.


Explorer


The easiest way to do this is via the file explorer, but Microsoft does everything a little differently with Windows 11. In the ribbon menu, there is now the item "Show", at the very bottom of the selection the item "Show" can be selected. In addition to other display options, the two items "File name extensions" and "Hidden elements" are also located here.


To the right of this is a button for options, above which you can get to the advanced settings (via "View"), which you previously had to look for in the control panel. Various refinements can be made there, such as "hide drive letters" or "start folder window in its own process".


Tip 4: disable the lock screen


The lock screen is a practical and necessary thing on a tablet, but there is usually no reason to use it on a desktop PC. This is not feasible with onboard resources or a simple setting, but we can offer you the next best or simplest solution.


Because with a download you can download a file that carries out the necessary registry change. In the download, you will not only find the REG file required to switch off, but also the one that you need to restore. The program was already created for Windows 10 but also works perfectly with Windows 11.


Tip 5: customize user account control


UAC, in English User Account Control (UAC), is an important control tool. But since Windows Vista, it has also been a much-discussed topic because since then Microsoft has exaggerated the installation confirmations.


And even with Windows 11, there are some who don't want to confirm each installation individually. Fortunately, Microsoft allows you to customize User Account Control in four levels. And first of all: We advise against the lowest level because here you switch off any information. This is at best "recommended" to absolute professionals who have their system one hundred percent under control - and never click wrongly once.


To the settings of the user account control the easiest way to get there is by searching Windows for the term in the start menu.

There are four setting options here:

  • The highest level notifies the user of practically every change relevant to the system. This includes important changes, but also trivial ones such as adapting the screen saver.

  • Then comes the standard setting of Windows 11, it is certainly a good compromise between the need for security and trust in the user or in one's own abilities. Because here you are only notified when apps want to make changes to the computer.

  • The level below is, in principle, a cosmetic one. Because it does not differ from the standard-setting when it comes to the basic notifications. The only thing that is not dimmed here is the desktop when a notification is received. This means that you can still click on all other programs and windows in the event of a warning.

  • The last level is the "most dangerous" one, here you are not informed of any activity, neither with system changes nor with the installation of apps. Applications can act unnoticed in the background, which is why we and Microsoft strongly advise against it.

Tip 6: change the default browser


Anyone who sets up a system from scratch will only find one browser anyway, namely Microsoft Edge. And if you upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, you will find that the standard browser has also been changed to Microsoft Edge in many places.


If you reinstall a browser such as Chrome or Firefox, you have to do a lot more under Windows 11 than before to change the standard application. And that although there is usually a request from the respective program. These are the steps that must be taken.


Who changes the default browser manually must or wants (because he has decided to use another installed browser after all), he must make the appropriate change in the settings. This is (in the meantime) much more difficult, even if you find the point where you expect it, namely in the area for standard apps.

  • Specifically, you first click on the gear icon (Settings) in the start menu and then go to "Apps". On the left, you can find the second point from the top "Standard apps"

  • An overview with various standard applications now opens in the main window. In alphabetical order you will find the pre-installed browsers such as Chrome or Firefox:

  • You click on the browser symbol and select the desired file types that should be opened with it. In this case, the formats ".htm" and ".html" stand for the website.

That's it, the configured browser opens automatically when you click on a website link anywhere. Similarly, you can also define the browser to open PDFs, SVG or WEBP formats, and other files.


Tip 7: delete Windows.old


A folder called Windows.old can often be found on the system drive (e.g. C: \). This is used to restore a previous version of the operating system if necessary. On the one hand, this can be a "large" OS version, i.e. Windows 10, but on the other hand it can also be a feature update.


In both cases, all the necessary data ends up in the Windows.old folder. However, this can only rarely be simply deleted using Explorer. This is how it works:


settings

  • For Windows 11 users, the first port of call should therefore be the settings. As always, these are best reached via the cog in the new start menu

  • In the overview, click on System and look for the item Storage in the right menu column, which is the sixth from the top

  • On the right, there is an overview of the drives and partitions as well as the files they contain. "Temporary files" can be found below, which can be selected with one click.

  • Here the item "Previous Windows installation (s)" is shown, which, along with other temporary files, can be selected using a tick and deleted using "Remove files".

Control panel

  • It can happen that the Windows.old folder is more persistent than hoped and cannot be deleted. One way of being able to delete it anyway is through the disk cleanup of the old control panel.

  • This can be found relatively laboriously via the control panel, but it is much easier to search for "Disk Cleanup" in the start menu because the desired result comes after just a few letters.

  • Disk cleanup is best carried out as an administrator, this is done with a right-click.

  • Now select the drive that contains the Windows.old folder, which should normally be C :

  • The application will now do a quick calculation of how much space can be freed

  • Then the complete disk cleanup of the respective drive opens

  • After a click on "Clean up system files" and a further selection of the drive (see above), the searched "Previous Windows installation (s)" appear, which can be deleted by ticking the box and confirming with "OK"

If you cannot find such a folder on your computer or if it is empty, you should not be surprised, because it is usually deleted automatically after 10 to 30 days.


Tip 8: shut down faster


If you come from an older Windows version, you will have already noticed a major improvement in Windows 10: Windows 10 starts surprisingly quickly compared to its predecessors. There is no noticeable improvement in Windows 11, but that is already complaining at a high level.


The shutdown or restart, however, can last an eternity as sometimes after.


This has to do with the fact that a fairly long time is preset in Windows 11 before an application is automatically or forced to terminate. This means that programs that are still open and that have been forgotten to close slow down the shutdown for longer than necessary. But of course, you can change that.

  • First, you start the registry editor as administrator, as usual, the best way to do this is by typing " regedit " in the start menu and pressing the right mouse button when opening the program.

  • Now navigate to the following path via the menu in the left column: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Control

  • In the right part of the window, double-click " WaitToKillServiceTimeout ".