Windows 11 Upgrade Info (and Caution!)

Microsoft recently released the Windows 11 upgrade for systems that are running Windows 10. Should you install it?

First, in case you don’t want to read the entire email, our current recommendation is for you to wait until 2022 before installing the Windows 11 upgrade (assuming we send out a “green light” message between now and then).

Now for a little history on our support for operating systems, our testing plan, and what to expect.

Historical O/S Upgrade Support

We first began to license Bookstore Manager to other retailers in 1989. Over the years, we have run on various operating systems including 386/MultiWare, SCO XENIX, SCO UNIX, Novell, LANtastic, Windows for Workgroups for DOS, Windows 3.11, Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 as well as Windows NT 3.5, NT 4.0, Windows 2000, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2016, and 2019. One challenge we have encountered with the progression from one version of Windows to the next was a lag/delay before all the POS hardware would work properly. While Bookstore Manager Software continued to work as expected on each newly released version, we would sometimes find commonly used receipt printers, price display units, multi-feature (Cherry or Logitec) keyboards, Zebra label printers, PS/2 barcode scanners, and various serial devices that didn’t have drivers for the new O/S.

Because of the wide range of hardware configurations that have been sold over the years that are capable of running Microsoft Windows, there have been other problems with initial releases of new versions of Windows (and sometimes with Service Packs). In addition to POS hardware driver issues, there have been network communications problems and even one big Windows update that caused a significant number of computers to no longer boot. Windows 11 is no different. A recently fixed issue impacted systems using some Intel network chips, drivers, and software, making their network and Internet access very slow. And, each patch seems to either fix or break some computers using AMD processors.

Another concern is with stores that have a mix of different versions of Windows. When Windows 7 came out, many computers with Windows XP couldn’t connect to a computer with Windows 7. Likewise, when Windows 10 came out, computers running Windows 7 couldn’t connect (and Windows XP still cannot). Even today, when Microsoft pushes out an update, it’s not unusual for there to be a network issue with computers running other versions of Windows. For example, the Windows 10 update each month for the last four months has caused Windows 7 computers to lose connection to a shared network printer (like a report printer or shared labels printer) on a Windows 10 computer.

Our Testing Plan for Windows 11

We plan to install Windows 11 onto a test system to begin checking out hardware. Since a support tech will be doing this while also handing normal duties (including support calls and emails), we don’t know exactly how long it will take to do our testing. We will keep a log of which hardware has been tested and will send out a list by early 2022. Since most retailers don’t want to make big changes right before going into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons (especially when there is a working setup), we anticipate most (if not all) will want to wait until early next year before installing the upgrade.

When we send out our upgrade report, we will include a list of the hardware we tested with Windows 11. If you are using any equipment we didn’t test, please let us know. If it is something we sold in the past, we will do our best to find that specific model so we can test it here. If we’ve never sold it, we will most likely be limited to reports on that hardware being used with Windows 11 that may be found on the Internet. We will test the hardware that we have available in the next few months and send a follow-up email with the results, but we will probably encourage everyone to wait until at least six months after its release before taking the plunge.

Looking back to Windows NT 4.0 and Windows XP, we have traditionally waited until the first “Service Pack” for a Windows version has been released before we started installing it on new computers. The first service pack usually came out around 12-15 months after the new O/S was originally released. With Windows 10, Microsoft abandoned the “service pack” approach. They released the upgrade from Windows 7/8.1 to Windows 10 in late June of 2015. We tested various hardware on Windows 10 and sent an email with the results by late November of 2015 (five months), but encouraged everyone to wait to upgrade until at least January 2016 (to get past the holidays). Windows 11 was just released in early October 2021, which is why we will encourage you to wait a little longer before installing the upgrade.

What’s Next?

For PCI compliance, you need to be running a supported version of Microsoft Windows. Microsoft’s support for Windows 10 (enhancements, fixes, and security updates) will continue for almost four more years (until October 14, 2025). You have plenty of time to wait while we test hardware on Windows 11 and let you know what we find.

If you’ve already upgraded to Windows 11, please let us know what your experience has been and what hardware you are using.

Your BSMGR Support Team

Bookstore Manager, Inc.
201 Fannin St.
Abilene, TX 79603