Once again it’s that time when a new Windows 10 feature update is imminent — in this case, version 21H2, the Windows 10 November 2021 Update — and when you need to decide whether or not you want to participate in its unpaid beta testing process. Microsoft makes it easy for you to opt into beta testing, but not as easy to opt out. Complicating matters somewhat, if your computer meets the Windows 11 hardware requirements, you might additionally see that OS as available for installation in Windows Update.

My advice is to hold off installing either release for the time being. Many of us Windows admins consider it unwise to install either a new feature release or a new version for several months after it’s been released. Time after time we’ve seen the first few updates after each major release full of fixes for bugs and issues triggered by the new release.

I always use the release of a new feature update to be the sign that I need to ensure that all of my main computers are on the prior release. I prefer to stay one release behind, as it typically provides me with a stable system with full Microsoft support, and I’m able to identify what issues I may face. So I’m using this time to ensure I have a copy of Windows 10 21H1, which was released in May, saved on a flash drive or on a storage location on a hard drive.

Based on the prior feature release processes, for example, I know that at the office I will need to deal with repairing PDF printers that will be impacted by the feature update. I use various software products from Intuit, and I have to use the PDF repair tool to fix up my QuickBooks after the feature update process. I also check that backup software and other applications that I have installed on my standalone computers and workstations are happy after the feature update.

This fall’s Windows 10 release doesn’t include many new features, so there is really no rush to install it. Conversely, Windows 11 offers a new interface and a range of other new features, so there is potentially a lot that could go wrong with it. I’d recommend waiting at least six months to upgrade to it.

The good news is that neither version will be shoved onto your PC (as happened in the early days of Windows 10); you have to specifically opt into obtaining them. In fact, you may not see Windows 10 21H2 in Windows Update as soon as Microsoft announces its availability; the company pushes it out to various systems over time, with zero communication as to who gets it when.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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