Only Six Percent of Windows-Based Companies Have Fully Migrated to Windows 11

By business.com editorial staff | Updated Nov 02, 2021

Nearly 3 in 4 IT professionals who’ve installed the new operating system are pleased with its performance

Upon its 2015 release, Windows 10 was declared the “last version of Windows” as Microsoft envisioned the operating system’s future more as a service than software, supported by perpetual rolling upgrades.

So it came as a surprise to some when the company announced Windows 11 in June of 2021 and delivered the new version just four months later. Even more curious was a subdued rollout that left 62% of Windows users unaware of the operating system (OS), according to a recent Windows 11 consumer study.

With Microsoft tailoring several Windows 11 features specifically for business users, we wondered how the professional information technology (IT) community felt about the platform. To find out we asked several hundred IT professionals about their companies’ implementation experiences and their initial impressions of the brand-new OS.

Key findings

  • Among the 83 percent of businesses running Windows, only six percent have fully migrated their machines to Windows 11. Around 40 percent of Windows-based businesses haven’t upgraded a single computer.

  • Despite slow company rollouts, 81 percent of IT professionals had upgraded their own machines to Windows 11. Only 4 percent were dissatisfied with the new OS. 

  • Although half of IT professionals noted some issues with slow processing, Windows 11 received good grades against ransomware and malware. Nearly 40 percent of IT techs said this release is more secure than previous versions.

Companies Have Been Slow to Adopt Windows 11

Microsoft’s flagship operating system remains the standard in the professional world, with more than 80 percent of IT professionals surveyed working within Windows-based networks.

Yet this commitment to Windows hasn’t translated to a speedy adoption of the latest version in workplaces large and small. Overall, 42 percent of businesses that run Windows haven’t installed Windows 11 at all and just over a quarter have upgraded the majority of their machines.

What percentage of your company’s computers have been updated to Windows 11?

None42%
Fewer than half of all computer30%
More than half of all computers28%

Adoption has varied slightly by workforce size, with installation proceeding most slowly among the smallest and largest companies. Many smaller companies expressed that they had no perceived need to upgrade, while some larger businesses acknowledged they simply lacked time to complete a company-wide switchover.

4 in 5 IT Professionals Have Upgraded Their PCs to Windows 11

Despite slow adoption among businesses, IT professionals who run Windows on their own computers have responded warmly to Windows 11. 

Eighty-one percent of IT professionals in the study had upgraded their personal machines to Windows 11, and nearly three in four were satisfied or very satisfied with the new system. Only 4 percent expressed dissatisfaction.

On the whole, IT professionals in companies that have started their Windows 11 rollouts indicate that the OS installs smoothly. Among IT workers who have commenced the Windows upgrade, two in three said the process has been simple for users in their companies.

How easy was it for your users to upgrade to Windows 11?

Very or somewhat easy67%
Average28%
Very or somewhat difficult5%

However, not all transitions have gone off without a hitch. Around one in three techs noticed that the volume of user support requests ran higher than with previous upgrades.

This increase might be the result of an overhauled user interface or the product of perceived machine slowdowns. More than half of respondents reported that machine memory limitations had slowed processing under the new OS.

The negative impact of the memory issue may be offset by a notable improvement in security against ransomware and malware along with faster Wi-Fi speeds.

Security and speed on Windows 11, according to IT professionals

Problems with memory and processing speed

Security compared to previous versions

Wi-fi and Internet speed compared to previous versions

No problem49%More secure39%Faster22%
Minor problem36%Same56%Same69%
Moderate or major problem15%Less secure5%Slower9%

This seal of approval from IT professionals also bodes well for the operating system's eventual widespread acceptance.

What’s Holding Workplaces Back from Windows 11?

Given the strong support for Windows 11 among IT workers, you may be wondering why more of their companies haven’t been early adopters of the new OS.

The top reasons for delayed upgrades at companies of all sizes centered around technical concerns. IT workers noted that their businesses tend to be cautious and slowly roll out new software to avoid initial compatibility issues and possible zero-day exploits.

The pandemic-driven expansion of remote working was also cited as a factor that will prolong the rollout; upgrading machines that aren’t centrally located is more complicated to orchestrate and dependent upon user cooperation. 

Top reasons companies haven’t totally upgraded to Windows 11

Time constraints20%
Need compatibility testing14%
Waiting for first major patch kit13%
Not a high priority7%
Need to develop a project plan before rolling out7%
Users are hesitant7%
Hardware compatibility issues 5%
Software compatibility issues5%
Workers are satisfied with Windows 10 performance and support4%
Budget constraints2%
Management hesitation2%
Other 14%

Companies delaying adoption because of technical issues specifically cited a need for more internal vetting, fear of implementing an unpatched program, and concerns about compatibility with current hardware and software configurations.  

Our results revealed little explicit pushback against the new OS, but also little rush to install. Over half of those who haven't yet updated indicated that they may do so after additional vetting, additional patching, or when they find enough time. This suggests widespread adoption could continue at a gradual pace over the coming months.

Conclusion

Windows 10 is a popular, stable OS currently used on over 1.3 billion machines. Given Windows 11’s additional hardware requirements, low public awareness, and unproven record, its quest to replace the previous version will likely proceed slowly. In continuing support for Windows 10 until 2025, Microsoft seemingly accepts such a gradual rollout.

Businesses tend to be particularly slow OS adopters, choosing patience to ensure stability, security, and compatibility. Our research revealed profound professional reticence regarding Windows 11, which is not unexpected as the new version was released only a few weeks before our study.

Yet most companies currently delaying installation are wisely waiting only for more assurances and time, indicating that expanded adoption is on the horizon. Judging by the ease of upgrading, improved protections, and IT satisfaction, the new operating system is likely to be well-embraced.

Rather than hitting the scene light a lightning-fast hare, Windows 11 entered more like a tortoise; featuring a rollout that's shaping up to be slow and steady, but will eventually become the business norm. 

Our data 

Business.com conducted an online poll of 453 currently employed information technology professionals whose companies primarily run Windows to gauge their interest, experience, and expectations regarding the latest Windows operating system. Windows 11 was announced on June 24, 2021 and released on October 5, 2021. The survey was conducted in October 2021.

Image Credit: Prostock-Studio / Getty Images
business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff
business.com Member
The purpose of our community is to connect small business owners with experienced industry experts who can address their questions, offer direction, and share best practices.