I’ve had enough: Microsoft should use the carrot, not the stick, to push Windows 11

Windows 11 on a laptop
(Image credit: 123RF)

Windows 10 is dead! Upgrade to Windows 11 now! Cue a bunch of startled Windows 10 users wondering exactly what’s going on following recent moves from Microsoft to effectively hold an early curtain call for the older OS.

Okay, so Microsoft hasn’t been quite that over-the-top, but I’m wondering how far the company is willing to step up its cautioning, given the latest incident spotted in a blog post by our sister site T3.

This consisted of a fresh reminder for Windows 10 users that their operating system will run out of road for support on October 14, 2025, and that Windows 10 22H2 will be the last feature update for the OS.

In other words, there will be no more features coming to Windows 10 – at all – and the OS will only get security updates for the next two and a half years, until support fully ends later in 2025 as noted.

None of this is news as such – the cessation of feature updates hit the headlines the week before last, and we’ve all known that support will finish in October 2025 since Windows 11 arrived on the scene to take the baton from Windows 10.

Windows 11

Upgrading to Windows 11 is relatively straightforward, but - like me - not everybody wants to. (Image credit: diy13 via Shutterstock)

However, what is new with this blog post, which has been penned by Microsoft as a Windows client roadmap update that “helps consumers and organizations with planning” for the future of their OS, is a recommendation section.

In this, Microsoft states: “We highly encourage you to transition to Windows 11 now as there won’t be any additional Windows 10 feature updates.”

So, there you have it. Everyone is being ‘highly encouraged’ to upgrade to Windows 11, and I’m not happy about it.

Of course, I won’t be upgrading to Windows 11; not yet anyway. Despite how Microsoft appears to be presenting the need to upgrade as something of a matter of urgency.

For starters, it feels unfair to pull the rug on feature updates at this point, with still well over two years to go for Windows 10.

While I wouldn’t expect Microsoft to be revamping anything major in Windows 10 at this point in its lifespan – of course, the focus is now on Windows 11 – it’d still be nice to have some minor feature improvements to be getting on with. At least for this year, and a final 23H2 update to give Windows 10 users something to look forward to on the functionality front. It doesn't need to be a lot.

The default Windows 10 desktop wallpaper with a stock image of a gravestone in front of it

(Image credit: Microsoft, Shutterstock)

Sticky situation

It felt like the announcement of no more features for Windows 10 was simply a stick to get people upgrading – rather than using the carrot of making Windows 11 better here, there, and everywhere, so the desire to upgrade would come naturally. And this further recommendation, this fresh shout of ‘encouragement’, feels like Microsoft is wielding that stick again.

On top of, I might add, a new pop-up I saw at the weekend, which appeared from my Windows 10 taskbar, and urged me to upgrade to Windows 11. (Following suffering through those many triple-screen nags on boot, before the desktop appears, which have been a standing feature for a while in Windows 10).

Is there really any rush to upgrade to Windows 11? Frankly, no, there isn’t. October 2025 is a long way off – for consumers at least, who don’t need to plan ahead nearly as much as businesses – so why is Microsoft trying to induce this feeling of, well, maybe not panic, but something along those lines to attempt to get folks to upgrade sooner rather than later?

Again, give us the carrot, not the stick. Personally, I’m happily waiting with Windows 10 – even with its complete freeze on features – simply because it gives me the functionality that Windows 11 doesn’t with its revamped interface. (Mainly ‘never combine’ for the taskbar, which is admittedly rumored to be incoming, along with labels for apps too).

Make Windows 11 better, not Windows 10 worse

I will make the leap to Windows 11 when the interface is fully rounded out and able to offer the same options that Windows 10 does. And I do believe as a PC gamer, Windows 11 will be a very worthwhile upgrade before too long. (DirectStorage for one thing sounds like it’ll be a really powerful addition to the OS, working better under Windows 11).

Ironically, rather than being ‘encouraged’ by this kind of messaging – and yet another pop-up from the taskbar, as mentioned – I’m discouraged that Microsoft appears not to have learned lessons from badgering folks to upgrade to Windows 10 (from Windows 7 or 8). It was a campaign that was notoriously dubious or even deceptive at times, and while Microsoft is not at that same level with the Windows 11 cajoling, it’s still overstepping the mark in my opinion.

Of course, all this is rubbing salt into the wounds of those who can’t actually upgrade to Windows 11 due to their Windows 10 PC not meeting the tougher system requirements. And it’s doubly unfair that they don’t get any feature updates whatsoever – not even a tweak here and there – for years, too…

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).