Windows 11 is here. It's shiny, it's new, and it comes packed with must-have features that promise to make your life better. At least, that's what Microsoft would have you believe. However, a wise man once told me, "Never pre-order a video game, and never be an early adopter for a new product." Or maybe I found that inside a fortune cookie. Either way, it's pretty sound advice.
Just think of all the products that have launched, promising to be the next big thing, but in reality, turn out to be buggy, unfinished half thought-out products. Here's a short list of failed products to jog your memory.
Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows RT
Microsoft Zune (RIP)
Google + (and many, many other Google products that have disappeared over the years.)
Cyberpunk 2077 (this one still hurts)
And sometimes product launches go really bad, turning what should be a cell phone launch into a portable spontaneous fire starter that you store in your pocket. Thanks, Galaxy Note 7.
The moral of the story is that rushing to embrace new products isn't always wise. Given Microsoft's track record, I wouldn't blame you for delaying the transition to Windows 11 for a few months or even a year. So here are a few ways to block the Windows 11 upgrade.
Blocking Windows 11 with Group Policy is simple and quick, though there is a catch. This option is only available on Windows 10 Pro, Education, and Enterprise. Windows 10 Home users will need to block Windows 11 using the Registry Editor, which we'll go over next.
For our non-Home users, here's how to do it.
In the search field, type gpedit.
Click Edit group policy.
In the Local Group Policy Editor, navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Updates for Business.
Double-click Select the target Feature Update version.
Enter Windows 10 in the "Which WIndows product version would you like to receive feature updates for?" textbox.
Enter 21H2 in the "Target Version for Feature Updates" textbox.
Click Apply and OK, then close the Local Group Policy Editor.
You can also configure this group policy at the domain or OU level using Group Policy Management.
Before we dive into the Registry Editor, let me put out this warning. Modifying the registry can mess up your computer if you're not familiar with what you're doing. With that said, if you're comfortable with the risks and you consider yourself a Windows wizard, let's get crackin'!
Fire up the Registry Editor by typing regedit in the Windows search field.
Click on Registry Editor.
If the User Account Control window launches, click Yes.
Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Policies > Microsoft > Windows > WindowsUpdate.
Enter Windows 10 as the value data and click OK.
Double-click on TargetReleaseVersion and enter the value data of 1 and click OK.
Double-click on TargetReleaseVersionInfo and enter 21H2 as the value data, then click OK.
Your finished registry edits should resemble this.
If you don't see the WindowsUpdate key or are missing these DWORD values, you may need to create them manually then set their values.
If you've already got your network configured to download updates via WSUS, then you most likely don't have to change anything. Unless you've modified the products and classifications in WSUS to include Windows 11, you shouldn't receive the Windows 11 upgrade. If you're not sure if this change has been made, here's how to find out.
In the navigation tree, expand your server and click Options.
Next, click Products and Classifications.
Scroll down the list and see if Windows 11 is check marked.
If Windows 11 isn't checked, you don't need to worry about the upgrade being distributed to your environment.
My early impressions of Windows 11 have been positive so far, but your mileage could vary. Waiting a few months for Microsoft to find and fix bugs in Windows 11 could make your transition from Windows 10 a much more pleasant experience.
If you're interested in the new features of Windows 11, check out our Windows 11 First Look, where I highlight many of the new features, both good and bad, in Windows 11.
If you need to find out which devices on your network meet the Windows 11 minimum requirements, check out our article on how to Find Windows 11 Compatible Devices with PDQ Inventory.