PC cloud gaming service warns against installing Windows 11 – should gamers be worried?

Man looking worried sat in front of laptop
(Image credit: Marjan Apostolovic / Shutterstock)

Windows 11 might be officially out now, but cloud gaming platform Shadow has told users that they shouldn’t try to install the Windows 11 upgrade for Windows 10 just yet – advice that could be well heeded by all PC gamers, who should at least have caution at the forefront of their minds.

We’ll come back to the latter point, but the central nugget of info here is that Shadow has said that Windows 11 isn’t ready to be installed on its cloud PC instances, as Rock Paper Shotgun reports.

Theoretically you can do anything with your cloud PC on the service, which gives you remote access to a full system, so you can install whatever software you want (as well as games), tweak settings, or even change the OS. Indeed, some folks have already run the preview version of Windows 11 on their Shadow machine (unofficially) long before it was released.

Naturally, those folks have no doubt encountered Windows 11 bugs in beta, but even now Windows 10’s successor has begun its rollout, Shadow asserts that it isn’t ready for cloud PC installations in an email to subscribers.

The email states: “Today, Microsoft will officially launch Windows 11. Its release will be gradual, with potential bugs and issues early on. With this in mind, we will monitor the initial performances of Windows 11 before taking any action.

“This will allow us to guarantee strong performances and an overall high quality of service when we do make the eventual transition to Windows 11. Please do not update your Shadow to Windows 11 until further notice.”

The email concludes by letting subscribers know that they’ll be told when Windows 11 is ready to go on their cloud PC installation, and in the meantime, the Shadow team will continue to run tests on the OS to ensure suitability and that the service is “fully optimized” for Windows 11.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you going ahead and sticking Windows 11 on your cloud PC anyway, just as there hasn’t been any roadblock for those who wanted to use the preview version as we noted before. But obviously there’ll be no support for anyone taking this route if things go awry.

The company says that regarding the future, “our early tests indicate that Shadow will run at an optimal level on Windows 11”, as you might expect – so eventually, subscribers should be able to make the move with full support in tow.

Analysis: Never mind cloud PCs, should all gamers wait and see with Windows 11?

In our opinion, there’s a fairly robust argument as to why all PC gamers should take Shadow’s advice here, and stick with Windows 10 at least for the immediate future, in order to see what kind of bugs might crop up with Windows 11.

Remember, there’s a reason why Microsoft’s Windows 11 rollout is a highly throttled affair, coming to just a very small number of PCs to begin with, precisely to discover if any further major issues appear that weren’t found in preview testing. As we’ve seen time and time again with Windows 10 feature updates, it’s not unthinkable for some nasty gremlins to manifest during the rollout (to the point that in the past, we’ve seen active rollouts put on ice for a month while a seriously scary file deletion bug was resolved).

For gamers in particular, it seems like there are extra reasons to be cautious here. For starters, we’ve already heard about Virtualization-Based Security (VBS) coming with Windows 11 PCs which could interfere with frame rates substantially, although only with prebuilt machines. Furthermore, DirectStorage, which was promised for inclusion at launch, isn’t in Windows 11 yet (it’ll speed up SSD performance and loading times considerably – but not right now).

More worrying is the news that there are issues with Windows 11 systems that use Intel Killer networking hardware, and that dropped packets might cause serious hiccups for online gaming, streaming, and sluggishness with your net connection in general. That’s the major known issue currently pinpointed by Microsoft with the initial release of Windows 11, but there’s also an unofficial problem with a purported memory leak that could slow down any PC too, gaming rig or otherwise.

Given the caveats around Windows 11 right off-the-bat upon release, then, as well as some of these issues which may affect gamers, it seems wise to wait and see how the eager early adopters fare, rather than rushing to download and install the revamped OS. Give it a little time, let the dust settle, and then take the plunge if no further issues pop up and early adopter feedback seems solid.

That said, if you do want to go ahead right now and upgrade anyway, we’ve got a full guide to Windows 11 problems and how to fix them which could come in very handy.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).