Windows 11 21H2 is reaching end of support and devices will be upgraded automatically
Microsoft's Windows 11 version 21H2 operating system is reaching end of support on October 10, 2023. The Windows 11 version will receive a last batch of security updates on the day before it put to rest by Microsoft.
In other words, devices that still run the then-unsupported version of Windows 11 will not receive security updates going forward, which could make them vulnerable to attacks.
While actual use numbers are unclear, only Microsoft knows those, it is certain that the operating system version is still used on million devices.
Windows 11 version 21H2 was the initial release version of the Windows 11 operating system. It was the first version of Windows 11 and the first consumer version to receive 2 years of updates.
On October 10, 2023, Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Pro for Workstations and Windows 11 Pro Education will run out of support.
Microsoft warned system administrators and owners in July 2023 about the upcoming support end for the operating system, and it has now published a reminder on the Windows Release Health website.
There, Microsoft confirms once again that Windows 11 version 21H2 will run out of support on October 10, 2023 and won't receive security updates after the day.
Microsoft furthermore claims that Windows Update will install a newer, still supported, feature update on devices that are about to run out support automatically. This applies to consumer devices and non-managed business devices, provided that they run one of the editions of Windows 11 that run out of support in October 2023.
The forced upgrades to a newer version of Windows 11 starts several months prior to reaching end of servicing and may continue even after the operating system runs out of support.
Microsoft does not specify the Windows 11 version that devices will be upgraded to automatically. Windows 11 version 22H2 is the only version supported at the time, but Windows 11 version 23H2 is expected to be released in the coming months as well.
Another aspect that is not clear is how systems with unsupported hardware are handled; this is unrelated to the unsupported processor error that was thrown at some users recently or the rather generic Windows 11 update has failed error.
Windows 11 users who installed the operating system on unsupported hardware may need to find other means to upgrade the operating system version. They will get the dreaded "This Pc doesn't meet the minimum system requirements to install Windows 11" error during installation.
Options include creating specially prepared ISO images with Rufus to bypass the requirement checks and upgrade to Windows 11 version 22H2 this way.
Windows 11 version 22H2 has the same system requirements as the original release version of Windows 11. It continues to be supported for another year, before it will run out of support in October 2024.
Most devices should be upgraded to the new version, if alone for continuing to receive security updates.
The upcoming Windows 11 version 23H2 release will be supported until October 2025. It will be a smaller update, but only if the device is running Windows 11 version 22H2.
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