Research Hub > A How-To Guide for Migrating to Windows 11

February 23, 2024

8 min

A How-To Guide for Migrating to Windows 11

Businesses need Windows 11 in the emerging world of work.

CDW Expert CDW Expert

Start taking advantage of the many benefits Windows 11 offers. CDW solution architects can perform a thorough readiness assessment and create a scalable migration plan that maximizes your technology investment.

After years in flux, businesses are now used to the reality in which the only thing not changing is the fact that everything will change — and soon.

What does feel different is the speed at which the evolution of work is unfolding. The circular cause and effect of innovation and necessity has left many organizations spinning to keep up with new security threats, manage hybrid work’s varied and shifting technical needs, and leverage the innovative technology advancements giving rise to an unexpected future of work. (Forrester even predicted that “AI will spur the age of creativity” in 2024.)

Up-to-date technology is crucial if organizations want to keep up. Recognizing this, Microsoft released its most secure, productive and AI-ready version of Windows yet — Windows 11. And its predecessor has a fast-approaching deadline of its own: Windows 10 support ends October 14, 2025.

CDW can help you gain a foothold for the future, regardless of where you are on the Windows 11 journey today.

How to prepare for what’s next

Upgrade to Windows 11

Windows 11 interface showing the Security and Privacy panel.

Powerful protection by default

Windows 11 provides out-of-the-box protection with layers of tightly integrated software and hardware. Microsoft increased the baseline requirements for running its most secure version of Windows yet and ensured protections were built in and turned on by default in new devices.

All told, Windows 11 security features make it much harder for hackers to exploit the common vulnerabilities of hybrid work’s wider attack surface with malware, phishing and other sophisticated methods.

Phishing and stolen or compromised identity credentials are the two most common malicious root causes for data breaches, costing companies $4.9 million on average, according to IBM’s 2023 “Cost of a Data Breach” report.


drop in security incidents1


reduction in firmware attacks1


fewer incidences of identity theft1
Windows 11 interface showing the Security and Privacy panel.


drop in security incidents1


reduction in firmware attacks1


fewer incidences of identity theft1
A work desk with two computer monitors in a home environment.

Designed for hybrid work

Updated technology helps keep work moving across all industries, especially in uncertain times. In fact, “uncertain times” was precisely what accelerated the development of Windows 11, which was built during the first two years of the pandemic and launched in October 2021, when remote and hybrid work were a top priority.

Today, five in 10 remote-capable employees are working in a hybrid model, spending part of their week at home or offsite and the other part of their week onsite, according to 2023 Gallup research. Windows 11 features are designed and updated to increase productivity and collaboration in these environments.


increase in productivity1


higher productivity for security and IT teams1
Woman working on a laptop in an office.

AI-ready so you are, too

AI is a defining technology of our time, and its influence on business outcomes will continue to grow. Gartner predicts that more than 80% of enterprises will have used GenAI programming interfaces or models or deployed GenAI-enabled applications in production environments by 2026 — a 16x jump from three years prior, when less than 5% of organizations were using these technologies.

Employees are also interested in using AI-powered tools, especially if the technology helps drive a more productive workday. But if employees are using public web services to access generative AI capabilities, they could be putting corporate data at risk. Introducing AI-powered tools through IT-approved devices is a more strategic, secure, inclusive way to introduce new technologies.

Windows Copilot: Unlock your AI advantage

New Windows 11 Pro devices are designed to provide the latest AI-enhanced features to help improve insights and efficiency. The latest version of Windows 11 is the first PC platform to offer a centralized AI-powered assistant.

Windows Copilot combines natural language with Microsoft AI models to perform tasks, find information, work across apps and create content. This industry-leading tool understands the web as well as your business data, preferences and permissions. It can also ensure commercial data protection when used with Microsoft Entra ID.


faster completion on average of demanding workloads2
Woman working on a laptop in an office.

How to manage your migration

Enlist expert support for a seamless transition

Windows 10 will no longer be supported after October 14, 2025, yet Microsoft reports that many of the 1.4 billion computers running a Windows operating system are still on Windows 10.

The perceived time commitment of a migration may be causing some to wait. Many IT teams are already strapped for resources. Staffing cuts have required 67% of IT teams to take on more responsibility, according to Pluralsight’s 2023 “State of Upskilling” report.

With some extra hands to support a timely migration, organizations can gain an upper hand against the competition — or at least against time.

CDW services meet you where you’re at

CDW can help you start taking advantage of the many benefits Windows 11 offers sooner rather than later. Our solution architects can perform a thorough readiness assessment and create a scalable migration plan that maximizes your technology investment. With a deep industry knowledge and top partnerships, CDW is equipped to meet any challenge along your migration journey.

Not sure where to start

You’re not alone. Many organizations have put off switching to Windows 11 due to myriad factors including concerns around the impact a major migration could have on day-to-day business.

But as the 2025 end-of-support date for Windows 10 looms, now is the time to get started. Transitioning to a new operating system is often a lengthy process and it’s crucial to give yourself enough runway to plan your migration.


Readiness Assessment for Windows 11

Having a clear picture of your current state helps to create a migration plan that is perfectly suited to your organization’s needs.

We’ll create a detailed report on your environment’s compatibility and readiness for Windows 11, along with recommendations for next steps aligned to your ideal timeline and business continuity needs.


Ready to try it out

Nearly all Windows 10 applications are compatible with Windows 11 (99.7%), but the time commitment of a migration project might have you hesitating to dive in. Maybe you just need support developing a deployment plan. Or perhaps you’re looking for someone else to handle it altogether.


Pilot Deployment for Windows 11

We’ll provide expert support for identifying compatibility issues, developing a deployment plan and managing the entire migration process.


Onboarding employees

While intuitive, Windows 11 can potentially require some user adoption and device management. A seamless transition involves communicating the updates, preparing everyone for the change, and having a solid base of IT support in place to help users who might run into roadblocks.


Technology Support for Microsoft

Our Windows 11 and Microsoft experts can tackle incident and service requests, first-response troubleshooting, engineering and maintenance support, and personalized onboarding. Our service desk is available all year, wherever and whenever you need us.


Looking for new devices

Most Windows 10 devices purchased within the last few years will be able to run Windows 11, but modern processors and chips are important if you want to take full advantage of the Windows 11 security features or don’t want to risk performance slowdowns.

For optimal performance, devices should have the following specs:

  • TPM 2.0 chip for security
  • Direct X 12 or higher graphics card
  • UEFI
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB of free disk space

CDW has the widest range of new Windows 11 devices, and the following services can simplify deployment:

Windows Autopilot Remote Configuration

If new devices need to be sent out to remote workers or different office locations, it’s essential they’ve been prepared to be ready right out of the box. We can image the devices, install applications, and apply your custom settings and security policies with zero-touch for IT.

Configuration and Technology Deployment

After the new device is properly configured, we test the devices and ensure everything is working as it should before it ships.


Disposing of old devices

You’ll get the most from your Windows 11 migration if your ecosystem is entirely up to speed. That includes disposing of devices you decide to retire during your upgrade journey.

Asset disposition can help shield your business from the inherent financial, legal and environmental risks associated with computer disposal.


IT Asset Disposition (ITAD)

Receive expert support managing end-of-product lifecycles and safely, securely, and cost-effectively disposing of your old equipment.

Proper asset disposition involves completely wiping devices of sensitive data and environmentally responsible recycling and disposal of e-waste.

How To Get Started Today

Request a Consultation

A CDW Windows expert will work with you to understand where you’re at in the journey and build a plan that works for your unique needs. No matter your organization size, device type or budget, CDW will design, orchestrate and manage Windows 11 solutions that enable your team to do great work.
To unlock powerful Windows 11 security, hybrid work productivity and AI-powered tools, take the first step today.

1 Techaisle, Windows 11 Survey Report, February 2022. Windows 11 results are in comparison with Windows 10 devices. 
2 Principled Technologies, Improve your day-to-day experience with Windows 11 Pro laptops, February 2023. Compared to Windows 10 devices. 


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