Common Windows 11 Problems and How to Fix Them

The Windows 11 official launch is now well in the rear view mirror. Users caught up in the euphoria are now left to sink or swim with the operating system.

You don’t have to sink. We’re here to help if you’re finding life with Windows 11 tough because of some OS problems. This article contains the most common issues with Windows 11 and their solutions.

Windows 11 Teething Issues

In terms of lifespan, Windows 11 is still a baby, having only launched officially in October. A few bugs here and there are expected in its early days. The people at Microsoft are constantly refining the brand-new operating system and release regular updates to patch up known issues.

That said, some users keep running into significant issues after upgrading from Windows 10. While we can’t say for sure that every glitch is a result of using Windows 11, the reality is that new operating systems frequently cause headaches for early adopters.

This is a rolling guide that will get updated as new solutions emerge to new issues not previously covered.

That said, the frequent bugs with Windows 11 are of these broad categories:

  • Windows 11 Installation issues
  • Windows 11 network issues
  • Windows 11 search issues
  • Windows 11 navigation issues
  • Windows 11 memory issues

Let’s examine these issues and their fixes or workarounds

Problems With Windows 11 Installation—How to Fix

Many people who wish to migrate to Windows 11 get stuck at the installation stage. If this is your experience, don’t despair. There are several things you can do to rectify this issue.

Use the Windows Update Troubleshooter

It is recommended to install Windows 11 via Windows Update but it isn’t working for some people. The Windows Update Troubleshooter can assist users to find out what is causing Windows 11 Installation to fail. Generally, the tool tries to fix the issue; sometimes, it suggests solutions the user can implement.

Getting to the WU Troubleshooter is easy. Hit the Windows and I keys at the same time to open Settings and navigate to Update & Security > Troubleshoot. Locate Windows Update among the list of troubleshooters, select it, and then click “Run the troubleshooter”.

When the tool finishes running, click “Apply this fix” to run the recommended solution.

Can Your PC Run Windows 11?

Windows 11 has a set of minimum system requirements. The OS may fall to install or install incorrectly if any component fails to cross the minimum acceptable threshold listed below:

  • Processor: 1 (GHz) or faster with at least two cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • OS: Windows 10, version 2004 or later
  • System Firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • TPM: Trusted Platform Module 2.0
  • Graphics Card: DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
  • Display: 720p, 8-bit per color channel, at least 9-inch diagonal
  • Internet Connection and Microsoft Account: Windows 11 Home requires an active internet connection and a Microsoft Account to complete initial setup

If you want the full list including non-essential specifications, you can check the Windows 11 specification page.

The core requirements (processor and memory) are a bit on the conservative side. Given the improvements in Windows 11, we recommend running it on a device with more powerful specs. 8GB at minimum for the memory and 1.5 GHZ for the processor.

Additional Installation Check

To verify whether your system is in a good enough condition to host Windows 11, you should run the Microsoft PC Health Check application before your next installation attempt.

Once you’ve installed the program, simply click the “Check Now” button. You know your system is ready when you get a message that “This PC will run Windows 11”.

Windows Installation Issues Due to TPM

According to the Windows 11 specification sheet, Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is needed to install the OS. So, if your machine meets every other requirement but still can’t install Windows 11, it’s likely because of a TPM error.

Either the PC doesn’t have the supported TPM version or it is disabled in BIOS. If it’s the former, hard luck. You can stay on Windows 10 or upgrade to a newer PC. If it’s the latter, you can enter BIOS and activate it from there.

The good news? Basically every modern computer—be it AMD or Intel—has TPM installed.

Before taking the trip to BIOS, use the method below to check your PC’s TPM support status:

  • Hit the Windows key and R buttons together to open Run.
  • Type “tpm.msc” into the Run field and hit Enter.
  • This opens the Trusted Platform Module Management window.
  • Navigate to TPM Manufacturer Information.
  • Check your device’s TPM version under Specification Version.

It’s possible to install W11 on a PC without TPM 2.0 support. The workaround is fairly easy. However, this method isn’t recommended—and for good reason—so we won’t talk about it here.

Windows 11 needs 64 GB of free disk space to start installing. Hence, it’s important that the hard drive or SSD has sufficient space when commencing the operation.

Check your primary storage or Windows installation drive before you begin. Is the leftover space insufficient? Clear up your drive. You can manually remove large files like videos and games. You can also use the disk cleanup function to erase junk from your system.

Windows 11 Installation Issues Due to Antivirus Software

Security tools help to keep the wolves of Internet threats from the door. They can also inadvertently prove a stumbling block when installing certain applications.

There’s a fair chance that your Windows 11 Installation attempts failed because your enabled AV software is interfering. The only way to know for sure is to turn off the AV tool and try installing again.

You may even go as far as uninstalling it until the OS upgrade is complete.

A few malware tools are notorious for being too aggressive. An antivirus software that is easy to use, lethal to detected threats, and doesn’t interfere with benign programs on the PC should be your priority.

Windows 11 Network Issues

Generally, network activity on Windows 11 is as one would expect normally. Network devices also connect normally and everything works. However, there’s one recent network issue that affected some new Windows 11 users.

Slow Network After Upgrade

A few isolated incidents emerged of poor WiFi connection after upgrading from Windows 10. This issue allegedly mostly affected those who use secondary Internet software like VPNs and firewalls.

Rumor has it that most affected users have Intel Killer hardware installed.

Microsoft expressed their knowledge of the bug and released a cumulative update way back in October. If you haven’t installed this update yet, do so, and your network should start working normally.

Windows 11 Search Issues

Everyone knows how important the search function in Windows is. For those who don’t fancy clicking through folders, Search is a fast way to jump to a desired location, app or setting.

Typing in Windows 11 Search Not Working

Even after several updates, the issue with Windows 11 Search typing doesn’t seem to have been resolved for everyone. When you open Search with Win+S or just hitting the Windows key, typing doesn’t work. Sometimes, it takes two or three attempts to type in Search before it starts working. It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but still annoying nonetheless.

Microsoft, while acknowledging the issue, could only bring up a workaround for now. You just have to bring up the Run dialog box and then close it. That’s it. After doing that, Search will start working properly.

In case you’re wondering, you can activate Run by simultaneously hitting the Windows and R keys on your keyboard.

Seems that’s the main way to resolve this issue for now while we await a more substantive fix from Microsoft.

Windows 11 Navigation Issues

Navigation relates to components of the Windows 11 UI that enables movement across the screen, within folders and around settings, etc. There have been a few complaints about navigation in Windows 11.

Same Old, Same Old: Windows 11 File Explorer Hasn’t Changed

Several users angrily complained about this. They expected File Explorer to change along with the other UI designs. However, it still looked the same after the upgrade.

The good news is that this is something that can be changed if you experience it. File Explorer in Windows 11 actually got a visual makeover. For some reason, a few users still got the default version from Windows 10.

Changing File Explorer to the Windows 11 default design is easy. Just follow the steps below:

  • Open File Explorer.
  • Click the View dropdown on the taskbar.
  • Select Options.
  • When Folder Options opens, switch to the View tab.
  • Scroll down the list to the “Launch folder windows in a separate process” option.
  • Uncheck the box next to this option.
  • Click Apply and then OK to save and exit.

You should now get the fresh Windows 11 layout for File Explorer.

Empty Widgets Board

Widgets are a Windows 11 feature that presents applets on a board for quick access to functions within certain apps such as calendar and maps.

The occasional sparse look of the widgets board (Win Key + W) hasn’t gone down well with some users. If you’re one of those who prefer more density of widgets, you can clear this glitch via a simple trick.

Simply select the icon at the top right-hand corner of the widget board. Then click “Sign out”. Once you sign back in, your widgets should appear again in all their colorful glory.

Windows 11 Memory Issues

Some users started having memory problems after making the jump to Windows 11. Some of them choose to downgrade back to Windows 10 rather than put up with RAM-related errors.

The fresh updates over the last few weeks have helped to fix most of these errors. One, however, stands out for its persistence.

The Start Menu in Windows 11 Isn’t Working

The all-important Windows Start Menu stopped working for many users after the upgrade to W11.

If the Start menu doesn’t show up when you hit the Windows key, it can make quick navigation a tricky business.

One way to restore the Start menu is by restarting your PC. Press Alt+F4 to open the Shut Down Windows dialog box and restart the machine.

If the issue keeps happening, then you can rely on the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) and System File Checker (SFC) tools.

Open an elevated Command Prompt window. Use Win+R to open Run. Type “cmd” in the Run field. Hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys then hit the Enter key to open the program with elevated rights.

Then run the following commands, in sequence. Press enter after each command.

  1. DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth

This scan may take some time to finish running. Once it’s done, run the second command here:

  1. sfc /scannow

Once everything is done, reboot the machine and your Start menu should start working again.

This isn’t an ideal solution but you can work with that for now while waiting for Microsoft to patch the issue for good.

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