Microsoft really wants you to upgrade to Windows 11 by touting its start menu as a ‘game changer’

Windows 12 may not be coming this year after all. Perhaps one reason is that Microsoft is already struggling to get users to give up Windows 10 and migrate to Windows 11. How can Microsoft encourage users to make the switch? Promote its best features? Better performance? AI functionality? Apparently not.

In its latest YouTube advertisement (via The Register), Microsoft begins by talking about how easy it is to make the switch. To be fair, the process is not much more complicated than any other Windows update, but I’ll expand on that shortly. After talking about that, the happy narrator mentions how—of all things—the Start Menu is a ‘game changer’. Er, I’m not quite sure I’d lead off with that. I think the Windows 11 start menu is a downgrade from Windows 10.

After that, the ad goes on to explain how good the Windows File Explorer and security features are. Honestly, there’s not much wrong with either of those in Windows 11. I like File Explorer’s tab function, though I’d like to see Defenders’ phishing functionality improved. The thing is, Windows 10 has reasonable security capabilities and we got on just fine with its File Explorer for years. Neither of these upgrades are anywhere near enough in themselves to encourage users to make the switch.

But promoting a new start menu? Sheesh! I hardly use the Windows 11 start menu for anything other than to turn off my PC. I have the important File Explorer and settings icons pinned to the taskbar and I dislike the way it pops up right in the middle of the screen. Windows 10’s resizable tiles were a benefit to me, I liked having the ability to resize my favorite apps tiles. It was especially beneficial on my laptop’s touch screen. I don’t think the Windows 11 start menu is in any way a game changer.

Obviously this ad is targeted at less computer savvy users who are chugging along happily with Windows 10. But, why risk breaking all your files and apps if you don’t have to? I totally understand the reluctance of users to upgrade when what they have now is perfectly adequate in their eyes. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

According to Statcounter, Windows 10 remains by far the most popular operating system, with over 66% of the desktop OS share. Windows 11 lags far behind on 27%.  A year ago, it was 73% to 19%, so in a full year, the needle has not moved all that much.

For me, the real benefits of Windows 11 are with things like Android app integration, gaming in windowed mode, the screenshot tool, snap windows and support for upcoming technologies like DirectStorage. I think the stock apps selection is better too.

Less important to me, but important to others, are things like CoPilot and increasing AI functionality, phone and laptop integration (I hate signing in everywhere), and its better widget support among others. Those are all things a lot more worthy of promoting.

Perhaps the biggest issue to consider when upgrading is whether your hardware is up to the task. The need for a relatively recent CPU and particularly TPM 2.0 security prevents a lot of users from doing so. If I had something like a well functioning 6th or 7th Gen system with Windows 10, I’m highly unlikely to want to go out and buy a new PC to get a downgraded start menu.

If Microsoft wants to convince folks to cough up for a new PC to run Windows 11, it’ll have to do better than that. It needs to promote its better gaming features, performance and superior native applications. And, it’ll have to convince us why we need AI functionality. That’ll be much more of a game changer than any start menu ‘upgrade’.