Microsoft urges Windows 11 users to switch to the beta – but there are already problems

Frustrated team of people in an office looking at a laptop
(Image credit: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock)

Many people are already using an early version of Windows 11, Microsoft’s eagerly-anticipated upcoming operating system, and now the company is suggesting people move to the newly-released beta version. However, some people are reporting issues when trying to switch.

Up until recently, if you were trying out Windows 11, you will have been signed up to the Dev Channel. As the name suggests, this is primarily for software developers to try out the very latest version, which often means there are bugs and missing features. It’s not really recommended for most users.

However, there is now a new Beta Channel, which is more reliable. While you’re not getting the absolute cutting edge version of Windows 11 ahead of its release, it’s still an early version. However, any bugs or issues found in the Dev Channel are hopefully fixed, leading to a much smoother experience.

Now that the Windows 11 beta is out, Microsoft is encouraging people to move to it, with fewer bugs and problems, which should make it feel and behave a lot more like the final version of Windows 11 will when it releases later this year.

As the tweet above suggests, Microsoft recommends you move to the beta channel ASAP, as at the moment you do not need to do a clean installation. Instead, you can go to Windows Update > Windows Insider settings and switch to the Beta Channel.

However, if you leave it too late, you may find you have to do a complete reinstall of Windows 11 if you want to switch, which can end up being a bit of a headache.

Problems emerge

While Microsoft’s tweets make the process of switching from the Dev Channel to the Beta Channel sound straightforward, several users have responded to the tweet saying that they have been experiencing issues.

Many are having issues where they cannot switch to the new beta version, as the option is missing. Microsoft seems to be aware of the issue and is investigating.

Some are now also seeing an error message saying that they cannot switch to the beta as their hardware doesn't meet the minimum requirements for Windows 11, even though it previously ran the Dev Channel build of Windows 11.

In a response to one affected user, the Microsoft Insider twitter account explains that the Dev Channel version had an exception that allowed it to be installed on devices that wouldn’t usually meet the minimum specifications. So, be warned: you might find you’re unable to move to the Windows 11 beta because of that.

Analysis: teething problems are to be expected

Woman angry at her laptop

(Image credit: fizkes / Shutterstock)

While reports of problems with Windows 11 so early on may be worrying – after all, Windows 10 still has plenty of bugs, and many users hoped Windows 11 would avoid that – it’s worth remembering that it’s still incredibly early days for Windows 11.

It hasn’t even officially launched yet, and the dev and beta versions have been made public so that people use them and discover issues. Once those issues are found and reported, Microsoft will hopefully get to work fixing them, and the end result is that Windows 11 should launch later this year relatively free of issues.

So, these kind of problems now are to be expected, and are no indication that Windows 11 will suffer issues like this.

What’s is concerning is that the minimum requirements for Windows 11 are still confusing users, and some people who have installed the dev version of Windows 11 are finding they cannot move to the beta version (or the final version after that). This means they’ll need to either stick with the dev version, which isn’t ideal, and they may find a later version comes out that isn’t compatible with their hardware either, or go back to Windows 10, which could involve reinstalling the OS again.

Microsoft’s messaging about what devices can run Windows 11 has been muddled, and while it has attempted to clarify it, it’s still clearly causing confusion. That’s something that Microsoft will need to rectify soon.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.