Windows 11 21H2 doesn't reach end-of-support until October 10, but Microsoft will start automatically upgrading devices on it to Windows 11 22H2, a version it says has delivered a "positive experience". It will start with PCs that upgraded to 21H2 the earliest.
The company will now gradually start updating consumer and non-managed PCs running the Home and Pro editions to Windows 11, version 21H2. This has been standard practice since Windows 10, but this timeline marks an earlier than usual start, and coincides with Microsoft deeming it "broadly available" for devices that meet Windows 11 minimum requirements.
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"Windows 11, version 22H2 is now broadly available to all users with eligible devices who check for updates. Starting in January 2023, Home and Pro consumer and non-managed business devices running Windows 11, version 21H2 will be automatically updated to version 22H2," Microsoft says on its Windows release health hub.
Windows 11 feature updates are released once annually in the second half of the year and comes with two years of support for Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Pro Education editions. After this period, Microsoft does not provide updates. Windows 11 Enterprise and Education editions get 36 months of support.
"Since Windows 10, we have been helping Windows users stay up to date and secure with supported versions of Windows through automatic updates. We are utilizing this same approach for Windows 11 to help you stay protected and productive," Microsoft states.
Microsoft released Windows 11 21H2 on October 4, 2021, and it reaches end of support on October 10, meaning Microsoft has a nine-month runway to nudge consumers up to the latest version. For Windows 10 20H2 to version 21H2, it started auto upgrades four months before 20H2 reached end of support.
"The automatic update to Windows 11, version 22H2 will happen gradually starting with those devices that have been using version 21H2 for the longest period of time," Microsoft notes.
"Customer feedback and analysis show a positive experience with Windows 11, version 22H2," it adds.
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Affected users have some control over when the upgrade occurs. They can also upgrade beforehand via Settings and Windows Update.
Microsoft notes that if it detects a device might has a compatibility issue, it might block the update until it's resolved.
Windows 11 22H2 was a minor upgrade released on September 20, 2022 and will remain supported until October 8, 2024.