Microsoft Windows 11 for Nonprofits

Windows 11 has now been in general release for over a year and a half. At Community IT, in the spring of 2023, we see about 12% of our managed Windows devices are running this version of the operating system. We have seen no issues with security, performance or application compatibility. All of the tools that we use to manage and secure our devices are compatible with Windows 11. 

The difference between Windows 11 and Windows 10 is probably one of the smallest differences in a Windows upgrade that we’ve experienced. The Windows 11 user interface is slightly different: the Start button is now in the middle of the task bar instead of the bottom left, corners of windows are rounded, and the default color scheme has changed. But these changes are probably not going to cause the average user any great discomfort. It’s still “Windows.” 

We are telling our clients that when they buy new computers, they should buy them with Windows 11. This means that unless you are replacing all of your computers at once, some of your users will be using Windows 10 and others, Windows 11.

In previous updates, the new version was so different from the older one that we usually recommended upgrading all client computers at once. However, Windows 11 and 10 are close enough that, for most use cases, there’s no reason to recommend that aside from the desire to have all staff on the same version. This may be a valid concern for your organization, but is not a technical reason to upgrade.

We expect a mix of Windows 10 and 11 within the same organization to create minimum confusion but want to ensure our community is aware of potential issues. For example, it’s possible there could be confusion in reading documentation with screenshots if the screenshots are from Windows 10 and the reader is on a Windows 11 computer. The slight variations in the start screens and other standards may mean that your Windows looks a little different than your neighbor’s. The user interface differences are mild enough that most users will have few problems translating, especially as they become aware that this update may be the reason something looks slightly different.

Microsoft is transitioning to Windows 11 and will no longer support Windows 10 after October 14, 2025. It seems hard to believe, but Windows 10 was launched in 2015 and, while still perfectly functional now, will become less cyber secure after 2025. Any computers purchased today with Windows 10 will need to be upgraded to Windows 11 before that time, so buying that version now saves you future hassle.

We are not planning deployment of Windows 11 globally to our managed client computers at this time. Windows 10 is fully supported by Microsoft at this time and will be for several years yet, and there are no overwhelming benefits to doing an in-place upgrade outside of the point of purchase of new laptops and computers. As the 2025 date approaches we may change that recommendation. In the meantime, as an individual end user you can perform an in-place upgrade on your own if desired; you need to be a local administrator of your Windows computer or talk to your administrator or IT support.

Need more expertise on Microsoft Windows 11 for nonprofits?

Community IT has been serving nonprofits exclusively for twenty years and we have a lot of experience in managing Windows updates. We offer Managed IT support services for nonprofits that want to outsource all or part of their IT support and hosted services. For a fixed monthly fee, we provide unlimited remote and on-site help desk support, proactive network management, and ongoing IT planning from a dedicated team of experts in nonprofit-focused IT.

We constantly research and evaluate new technology to ensure that you get cutting-edge solutions that are tailored to your organization, using standard industry tech tools that don’t lock you into a single vendor or consultant. And we don’t treat any aspect of nonprofit IT as if it is too complicated for you to understand. We published our How Do I Know If An MSP Is Right For My Organization Guide to help our community understand IT services, and The Nonprofit Guide to Vetting a Managed IT Service Provider if you are ready to outsource some or all of your IT upkeep. 

We regularly present webinars at Community IT about technology platforms, decisions, implementations, and security issues. 

We think your IT vendor should be able to explain everything without jargon or lingo. If you can’t understand your IT management strategy to your own satisfaction, keep asking your questions until you find an outsourced IT provider who will partner with you for well-managed IT.

If you’re ready to gain peace of mind about your IT support, let’s talk.