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Windows 11 upgrade and deployment video gets blasted as being 'tone deaf'

Windows 11 Taskbar Icons Surfacepro
Windows 11 Taskbar Icons Surfacepro (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • There has been a lot of discussion, and confusion, around Windows 11 upgrade requirements and policies.
  • Microsoft released a video attempting to clarify matters.
  • The video has not been well received by a portion of viewers.

Update July 27, 2021 at 5:16 p.m. ET: Comments on Microsoft's video have been disabled.

Given that Windows 11 kicked off with widespread confusion over its TPM and hard floor hardware requirements, it was only a matter of time before Microsoft attempted to clarify its stance in response to consumers' queries and complaints about what was, and wasn't, required for Windows 11 upgrading eligibility. However, in attempting to answer consumers frankly, Microsoft seems to have angered a section of them even more.

In its ask-me-anything-themed video entitled "Windows 11 upgrade paths and deployment tools", almost an hour's worth of questions and topics were addressed. However, some viewers felt the answers provided by Microsoft didn't read the room or handle contentious points in a satisfactory manner. The video, as of this post, sits at 3 likes, 63 dislikes, and has a comment section that is (currently) entirely negative and unhappy.

In the video, Microsoft employee Aria states that it "sucks" that some people aren't equipped with eligible devices, but points out how great Windows 11's requirements will be for those who are eligible, when it comes to what those requirements mean for security, productivity, and the overall experience.

"A lot of these answers come off as super tone deaf," the video's top comment reads. "It's looking like Windows 11 will be another Windows 8."

Others in the comments argued that Windows 11's requirements are a thinly veiled ploy to warrant fresh license purchases alongside new machines since free upgrades to existing computers won't earn Microsoft revenue.

Whatever Microsoft's stance is regarding how Windows 11 policies benefit consumers, it seemingly has not been clearly communicated to a sizeable portion of the company's primary audience, such as those who would watch Microsoft Tech Community YouTube videos.

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.

32 Comments
  • Consumers. Who mostly don’t pay.
    Businesses (that I know) have 5 year or newer PC estates and pay a subscription. I’m sure MS are less concerned about angry spotties.
  • You pay when you buy a PC.
  • That comes with Windows pre installed anyway so the average consumer won't be concerned about "that TPM thing and the Secure Boot stuff"
  • People who have bought high end PCs as early as 2018 might not be able to run 11. Netbook PCs, that Microsoft "blessed" as alternatives to Chromebooks, that are still being sold today, will not be able to run 11. The problem with 11 and MS is that they brought this OS out of left field, have given no one enough time to really vet it or give feedback that MS actually has time to implement, etc. This is Vista all over again in that MS was working on Longhorn but that entire project fell through so at the last minute they released Vista. In this vain, MS was working toward CoreOS and, for some reason, it failed and now 11 (which is just lipstick on 10) is being rapidly released. This whole 11 thing is a mess. Its a PR mess, a technology mess (as its a nothing burger of an update), it takes away more then it gives, etc.
  • I think Microsoft has been pretty good at threading the needle between differentiating between people who have valid criticisms and people who are just looking for some issue to be offended by, something they imagine to be true. We've a lot of people right now who latch on to some concept and they are going to believe that no matter what. Leave them to it. By even trying to address outlandish accusations you just give it oxygen and legitimacy.
  • I don't think it is as big a deal unless you are a consumer who keeps abreast of tech news and cares about the next version of Windows. However, Microsoft really should support all of the Surafce line from the past five years at least and they need to do a better job of explaining why this is more secure. Also, Aria doesn't seem to have been a good choice to field these questions, not because she isn't knowledgeable or anything, but because her words and facial expressions don't express any sincerity at all when she acknowledges that this situation "sucks". It's just going to be annoying to someone who is upset about requirements that will likely come with a monetary cost to upgrade.
  • Having said that, if you are a consumer who keeps abreast of tech news and cares about the next version of Windows you should also care about the security state of your equipment. I count myself as one of those and 4 of the 5 PC's in my house meet the floor but 2 never had secure boot nor bitlocker enabled and now they do. That's a good step in the right direction. I agree that there may be some recent pc's that don't meet the floor that may make this seem more arbitrary. That's a more difficult situation than me saying goodbye to a 10 year old laptop that sits in my garage and is used rarely.
  • "consumer who keeps abreast of tech news and cares about the next version of Windows" are often the go-to tech person in their family or circle so Microsoft better care about them.
  • The video has been removed.
  • I can still see the video on YouTube as well as via the embed above. The only thing that's changed (as far as I can see) is that comments have, since this article was posted, been disabled.
  • 'You don't have a device that can run Windows 11? Aww that s*cks but F*ck you i don't care.. Windows 11 is great' 😂 < That was her face when she said the word "Sucks"
  • Well I have 7 PCs in my home that are now at EOL and I am SOL. Won't be bothering with windows 11 for an extremely long time then, because I like others use my old systems and pass them down the line.
  • That's fine, windows 10 still works. Keep using it.
  • "F**k poor people, f**k non-corporate users.". -The New Microsoft
  • That's not a fair assessment. I have two computers at home, one meets the requirements one does not. The one that does not is a 5-year-old all-in-one device with touchscreen that I will miss when Windows 10 reaches EOL. That said, by the time Win10 is done I would likely have replaced it anyway. I don't know of any household in America that cannot afford a PC every 10 years. As for other countries who have truly poor people, statistics show they use cell phones to access the internet instead of PC's. So next time, before rushing to judgment and shouting the expletive's, think the issue all the way through. Firebomb comments don't do anyone any good.
  • I should have been a more clear. This is not my view. (I also don't disagree with what Microsoft is doing regarding Windows 11 requirements.) My post above is a hyperbolic MEME of what average users are taking away from what MS has been saying. Microsoft also needs to know this and see this so they can fix it. The whole Windows 11 mess shouldn't have happened, as the Windows 11 stuff isn't as extreme or 'silly' as what Microsoft themselves are making it seem. A simple PR team or a couple of people inside the Windows division preparing the messaging and finding way to mitigate the harshness would make a world of difference. Instead, they didn't mention it when previewing Windows 11, and as details came out, it was like pulling teeth to get anything clear. (Example: Go to Twitter, where Zac and myself were trying to get a clear answer from Microsoft the Friday after the Win11 reveal. It was a mess at best.) Microsoft is acting like they are hiding what they were doing, and the people from MS are handling it horribly by being cold or swinging to the other side and acting like they are ashamed of what Microsoft is doing. This AMA is another example of handling it horribly. This statement from MS, along with others, sound like "F**k you" to the average user. Sure, it is far more complex, but users aren't going to take time to analyze the full nature of what is happening. It is Microsoft's job to do this for them, not make it worse. -Thanks for the reply, it gave me a chance to clarify.
  • Because you won't be able to get a $400 Windows 11 laptop? Have you heard something that we haven't? BTW what was the "old" Microsoft? A charity?
  • Dude, I haven't paid for a Windows license since Windows 7, Microsoft keeps upgrading me for free. Because my PC has the specs needed, they are about to upgrade me free again to Windows 11. Yeah, they are really beating up the little guy...
  • And here I thought Microsoft was going to address these issues around Windows 11... Well, let them learn this the hard way I guess...
  • It came to my ears earlier that the Studio 2 is not on the upgrade list yet, which is completely unacceptable to me. So I've paid 4200 euros 1.5 years ago for a device which is still being sold and is the latest model of it's category, and yet still it will not run the next version of Windows. This is already unacceptable for cheaper machines, but for the top of the line, most expensive machine they CURRENTLY STILL SELL.... I don't even have words for it. Especially when buying such a machine in this pricerange you may expect to have an up to date OS for at least 5 years to come.
  • Never thought of this situation, I would have to agree with you, owning the top of the MS line Studio 2 would make me extremely angry about their decision. Especially since they are the ones who decided that they would not put a top line processor in the machine to begin with.
  • I have not heard this. Have you tried running the health tool which is supposed to tell you if your PC will run Win11? Locate it here: https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co...
  • I just spotted it a few days ago in this article on WinCentral: "While the Surface Studio 2 looks like a modern device, it may not be able to upgrade to Windows 11 later this year. It's not on the list of supported devices for Windows 11 at the moment. Many Surface devices have a "Free upgrade to Windows 11" badge on their Microsoft Store listings. The Surface Studio 2 does not, even though it's the latest model from its respective category."
    https://www.windowscentral.com/surface-studio-2-july-2021-firmware-update Since then I've searched more about the topic, and even consulted the Microsoft Website, but there the device as well is not listed as "Windows 11 compatible", unfortunately. Thank you for the link, I've visited the page, but it redirected me to a whitepaper (.docx). It seems they have taken the tool offline due to problems with it. But thank you for the tip anyway. "Update: Microsoft has pulled the PC Health Check app. The company explains that it will work to improve the app for a return later this year. There is a free alternative app called "WhyNotWin11" that helps determine why a PC cannot upgrade to Windows 11, though it is not from Microsoft. The original article follows."
    https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-working-fix-windows-11-pc-healt... I'll keep my hopes up, but I'm expecting the worst to be honest :(
  • People are getting triggered their PCs will be more secure. Nice :/
  • 99.7% of tik-tok apps and other crap in the MS store, or 99.7% of Line Of Business apps every business creates and business units rely on minute-by-minute? It was a complete brush off that the code written by the retired/moved-on employee or covid-failed business created and has been good-enough is now unusable. If it was so convenient to rewrite/test/roll out/debug/re-roll don't you think businesses would have done it by now? No, there is real pain here that the MS crew were dismissing off-hand. Let them eat cake
  • "Tone deaf"? Let's call this what this really is: A bunch of Internet troll man-babies threatened by hearing perfectly reasonable corporate policy from a Gen Z woman with big hipster glasses. End of story. There's absolutely nothing wrong with what she said or how she said it. The new political correctness is about not offending snowflake conservative men with the presence of people who are younger, darker and more female than them. MS apparently didn't get the memo. What the hell else could possibly explain the ridiculously over the top reaction to the video?
  • I am not a man, my race is a Heintz 57 mixture, nor do I have any particular political affiliation and I found her mannerisms when addressing concerns to be insincere and lacking empathy. What exactly do you gain by being dismissive and making assumptions on why people are upset and what the demographic is?
  • removed wrong thread
  • Microsoft is missing a huge opportunity to allow businesses (this was a business-oriented video after all) to control their own systems. Ignore the TPM setting if the 11 upgrade tool must to install and let businesses run in mixed mode. When the virus/malware hits the organization, some machines will be protected and others won't, which provides IT a clear ROI justification to upgrading the hardware to gain protection across the board. On the other hand, I suspect that type of infection pattern that TPM prevents will be few and far between with the common Win code base and latent vulnerability, thereby proving TPM isn't the silver bullet MS is pitching.
  • I have a Dell XPS 15 with 32GB RAM, 2TB M2 SSD, Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU and 4K touchscreen. Unfortunately it has a Core i7-7700HQ (4 core, 8 threads) CPU which doesn't meet the Windows 11 requirements even though it has TPM 2.0.
    The argument about needing an 8th generation Intel CPU "for performance reasons" just doesn't fly as Microsoft are OK with a wimpy i3 CPU (2 core, 4 thread) with 4GB RAM and 256GB SSD and Intel graphics running Windows 11 according to the Dell website.
    My laptop runs the Windows 11 preview just fine and on any benchmark would blow the i3 system out of the water.
    Microsoft need to refine their compatibility criteria based on performance not just generation of CPU.
  • Totally agree I have a similar build desktop PC and it's a total joke how they chose their requirements... My laptop has worse specs by a mile, yet it scrapes through in just the right places to get Windows 11. The logic is entirely flawed...
  • This is a major issue for users who have build gaming PC in the last few years. A lot of them are going to get stuck... Which is a joke considering the performance they output... Cost is the other issue.... I'm starting to wonder if this will be the same as the removing the Start menu drama from Windows 8...