PC users are mostly unaware of Windows 11's existence, according to study

Windows 11 Tease
Windows 11 Tease (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Windows 11 and a wide range of Surface devices are all going public on October 5, 2021.
  • However, it's unclear if the general populace knows or cares about Windows 11.
  • According to a new study, 62% of Windows users don't even know the new operating system is landing soon.

While Windows 11's impending launch is a well-documented upcoming event in some corners of the internet, there are many who don't have even the foggiest idea that Windows 11 exists or is set to formally release on October 5, 2021.

According to a recent study by Savings.com, which surveyed 1,042 Windows users on September 17, 2021, "a minority of users were even aware the update was coming before taking part in our study."

"Only 38 percent of current Windows users said they were aware a major change was coming to the operating system," the report said, and two-thirds of respondents were unsure whether they had the hardware required to make the jump to Microsoft's latest OS.

Take the survey results as you'd like, given that they're based on a sampling size of roughly one thousand people. Though it's worth noting that if Microsoft has failed to inform the majority of Windows users with its Windows 11 news, it's not for lack of trying (at least, not entirely). Microsoft has been heavily advertising the new OS in at least a few places recently, with commercials for it frequently cropping up on ESPN and UFC. Those are just two examples.

It looks like Microsoft may have to keep the advertising efforts up for some time, though, if Savings.com's survey results are any indicator of how much remains unknown to the public's general awareness.

Robert Carnevale is the News Editor for Windows Central. He's a big fan of Kinect (it lives on in his heart), Sonic the Hedgehog, and the legendary intersection of those two titans, Sonic Free Riders. He is the author of Cold War 2395. Have a useful tip? Send it to robert.carnevale@futurenet.com.

36 Comments
  • Most average PC users out there aren't interested as their PCs most likely won't pass the Windows 11 check so will hang on to their PCs until they die.
  • My 2 years old build didn't enable Secure Boot (maybe because of old GPU). I told the same to MS Support person and he/she asked me to download w11 ISO and ignore the PC health check.
  • I did the same to my 10 year old desktop back in July but now can't get any updates and updated ISO will not install. No secure boot or TPM. Guess I'll wait until 2026 or it dies. Runs very well on Win 11.
  • Probably far more than 62% PC can't upgrade due to hardware requirement as well.
  • As far as I'm aware there hasn't been a big marketing push like there was for Windows 10. I still remember the TV ads.
  • On ESPN/UFC this weekend I saw the new Windows 11 ad running every single commercial break. I must have seen it like ten times.
  • such an odd demographic. I hope Microsoft releases some new apps and gets the android stuff out soon, otherwise I'm mostly upgraded because wslg ;)
  • Might not seem like the most natural fit for MS OS advertising, but then again, the natural fit already reads sites like this and has a good idea of what W11 is. It could very well just be a "raise awareness with the common person" move, and sports draw a lot of those sorts of viewers.
  • Ah, I guess that's what I get for not watching TV then. 😜
  • Microsoft has ads during NFL games for Windows 11. I've also seen ads on several other platforms.
  • Windows 10 is anyway a very solid OS as is. It's really only the enthusiasts that follow this stuff. The majority of users don't care, so far it works. It's the same with the mobile world as well. Try asking the average phone user (iOS or Android) what OS version number they are using, or the chipset in their phone. They have no clue and do not care (nor should they imho). In the end, these are tools to get stuff done, and most people don't care what's underneath as far as it works.
    Of course, all my eligible machines (save 2 for Win10 memories!) are already on Windows 11 :-).
  • THIS JUST IN: Survey says 70% of computer users don't know what a computer is. Random respondent: "You mean that big screen internet thing at my house?"
  • 62% of Windows Users won't be able to update to Windows 11 anyway because they don't meet the hardware requirements. Windows 10 will be fully supported with new back-ported features and security patches until 2025 anyway so there is really no need to upgrade. If it aint' broke, don't fix it.
  • Microsoft, on the other hand, thinks that upgrading to a broken new OS is the way to go.
  • So stay on the broken old one lol.
  • I tried the Win11 Beta. Definitely better to not know of its existence.
  • Windows 11 is great, no problems with my system, auto HDR is fantastic, the new start menu is easier and less messy, the snap function is so much better than dragging to the side of the screen, the new store is better designed and the file explorer is finally more streamlined and looks great. These are just a few, I could go on and on.
  • Considering Windows 11 is terminating old hardware, not many people are excited for the new OS.
  • Microsoft is supporting Windows 11 on virtually all computer sales of the past few years. For older systems, as long as they have TPM, 64-bit, and 4GB RAM you can upgrade, if you want, it just won't be supported. That would cover every computer I've bought in the past decade or so. Regardless, I don't think excitement tracks with "ability to upgrade on existing hardware." Rather, Windows 11 makes new hardware a little more exciting, because it comes with the shiny new Windows 11. :-)
  • This isn't about excitement, this is about awareness.
  • Since so many aren't aware I wonder how Microsoft intends to remedy that? Certainly some folks will be thrown by the new start and its location. Perhaps they should cover how to move start to the left as part of setup. At least it is still a Windows button
  • I think for most people, Windows is for work, and for a big chunk of those people, updates are for IT.
  • I mean... most of the general public don't care or aren't aware about updates of any product. You don't hear any non-tech enthusiasts talking about iOS 15 or smart TV updates or app updates, etc. until AFTER it was released because that's when people start asking and telling each other about it. And if people have issues, the talk gets louder.
  • I've seen the ads for Windows 11 on TV, so they're promoting it, but the visual I remember most is that blue swirl for the new desktop that looks like a modern art version of a certain female body part. Aside from being the most feminine technology ad in history, it doesn't really scream "New Version of Windows" or push that it's any better than any of the prior versions of Windows. I get why most people didn't know about it.
  • I'm somewhat of a Techie and only found about Windows 11 in August (via the Windows Central app) so I'm not at all surprised if the mass public isn't aware of Windows 11 either. Microsoft's marketing department is taking it way too easy this time around...
  • That's because they most likely don't care. The average PC user doesn't care what their operating system is so long as it does what they need it to.
  • A survey sample of 1042 windows uses means nothing at all, so I am taking the survey result as I like and not agreeing with any of the results. A better way (but still far from accurate) would be to see how many people downloaded the Windows 11 pc check.
  • 62% of users are casuals. That's not surprising. Meanwhile, I'm in that 48% of users who's excited to upgrade.
  • 110%? Thank you, Google.
  • My computer is not compatible with it. Due to the CPU being an outdated i7-6700. I guess it’s five years old and I don’t have a problem running anything on it on Windows 10…so I’ll wait.
  • My i7 6700k Pc ran well on Windows 11 before I upgraded to 10 series cpu due to wanting more cores for multitasking. You don't need to wait!
  • I mean, the advertisements I've seen certainly don't make its existence very clear. They are way too artsy-fartsy and esoteric.
  • Definitely. They are showing their Apple-Envy with the W11 ads. Apple can get away with "Advertise the LifeStyle, not the Product", even SONY does it, but Microsoft needs to show WHY you should adopt W11, and why it's "better" than W10 (which they will continue to support until 2025.) They have not done that in any ad I have seen yet. That won't stop me from switching to W11 on the systems I have that meet the hardware requirements, but I have 2 laptops and 1 desktop that don't pass muster so they will stay on W10 (I think I will switch the desktop to a Linux distro just for something to do.)
  • Didn't know. Barelt check sites anymore. Nothing of note comes with these updates anyways. More reinventing the wheel (Store, Taskbar, etc.) Looks like I'm gonna be forced to pay for Pro on two machines just to avoid having to use a Microsoft account login. $200 upgrade. I'm going to reject this version. Just max-paused my updates in the interim.
  • PC users are mostly unaware that its their job to under software and hardware -- and that, if they even made half an effort in this regard -- they'd realize Macs are wildly over-priced and Windows has no idea how to release a refined OS. Ignorance is bliss.
  • Well, it's a horrible OS anyway, so Windows 10 will likely be around for a while. I'm hoping.