Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system (OS) has enjoyed huge success since its launch in 2015, with over one billion devices running it. However, the software giant isn’t stopping there, as it has recently introduced a successor: Windows 11.
You might have some questions about this new OS, so we’ve put together everything there is to know in this blog.
When will Windows 11 become available?
As of October 5, 2021, Windows 11 is generally available to consumers as a free upgrade from Windows 10. However, the OS will be offered to new eligible devices first, then it will be available to older devices over time. Windows 11 will also come preloaded on new devices this year.
All qualified PCs are expected to be offered the upgrade by mid-2022.
What are the Windows 11 system requirements?
For a device to get the most out of Windows 11, it will need to meet these minimum hardware requirements:
- Processor: 1 GHz 64-bit processor or system on a chip
- RAM: 4 GB
- Storage: 64 GB
- Display: 1280x720 display, 9" monitor
- Graphics card: Compatible with DirectX 12, WDDM 2.0 driver
- Security: Secure Boot capable, TPM 2.0
- Internet connection: Internet connection is required to download updates
- Windows 11 Home requires a Microsoft account and an internet connection to complete initial setup.
To verify if your PCs are compatible with Windows 11, you can download Microsoft’s PC Health Check app. Note that while incompatible hardware can run the OS, they may not receive updates.
Windows 11 will be offered to new eligible devices first, then it will be available to older devices over time.
How do you upgrade to Windows 11?
The most direct way to upgrade to Windows 11 is through Windows Update. Here’s how to do it on Windows 10:
- Click on the Start button on the lower-left corner of the screen, and then click Settings. This will open a new window.
- In the new window, open Update and Security, and click Check for updates.
- If available, you'll see an update called “Upgrade to Windows 11.” Click on Download and install to start the upgrade process.
Should the update be unavailable through Windows Update, you can download the Windows 11 Installation Assistant.
What kind of updates and support does Windows 11 offer?
Unlike Windows 10 that gets biannual feature updates, Windows 11 will get only one per year. However, security patches will still arrive on the second Tuesday of every month.
What’s more, Windows 11’s Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Pro Education editions will be entitled to 24 months of support. Enterprise and Education editions, on the other hand, will be supported for 36 months. This ensures that computers running these versions will get the latest updates and features that will keep them running optimally for many years.
What are the features included in Windows 11?
Windows 11 improves on Windows 10’s existing features and introduces new ones designed to help businesses become more productive.
1. Refined user interface (UI)
The most prominent UI revamp of Windows 11 is the taskbar with its centered Start button and app icons. Microsoft says that this will make opening applications easier because users no longer need to move their cursor all the way to the corner of the screen to find what they need. However, if you prefer the left-aligned icon layout, you can always switch back.
Microsoft also revamped the Start menu. Instead of an alphabetical apps list and a Live Tiles pane, it now features a search box, a pinned apps list, and a Recommended section. All of these make it easier for you to access your apps and files.
Finally, open windows on Windows 11 now have rounded corners instead of sharp edges for a more pleasant aesthetic.
Widgets are small apps on Windows 11 that provide updates on things that are important to you, such as the news, weather, traffic updates, stocks, and sports scores. You can customize which widgets/apps appear on the widgets panel.
3. Snap Layouts
Some tasks require you to have two or more windows open simultaneously. Windows 11 makes this easier with Snap Layouts, which lets you choose from preset layouts to arrange multiple open windows when you mouse over the maximize button.
4. Improved virtual desktops
Microsoft’s new OS will allow you to create multiple virtual desktops to organize your screen, each with their own name and wallpaper. This makes it easier for users to separate their work and personal activities.
5. Better external monitor support
Windows 11 can now remember window layouts on an external display. This means that the next time you reconnect a monitor to your device, all the windows previously placed on the external display will return to where they were before.
6. Microsoft Teams integration
Microsoft Teams can easily be accessed by clicking on the “Chat” app on the taskbar. This makes it easy to make a call or share files with colleagues without the need to download the Teams app first.
7. Revamped Microsoft Store
The Microsoft Store now offers a wider range of apps. For example, third-party apps, such as Discord, Canva, and Zoom, can now be directly downloaded from the Store without the need to open a web browser. What’s more, support for Android apps via the Amazon Appstore is expected to arrive in 2022.
8. Improved performance and security
Users can expect faster startup times and Windows Hello authentication, simplified background updates, and a touch-, voice-, and pen-optimized experience. Windows 11 also provides supported processors with zero-day attack protection to protect data and access across devices.
Can I continue using Windows 10 instead?
Yes. You will not be forced to upgrade your devices to Windows 11. However, they may not get features that are available in the new OS. Also, once Windows 10 gets discontinued on October 14, 2025, your devices will no longer receive security updates, so you will need to upgrade to a more modern OS before that date.
If you have more concerns about Windows 11, talk to us at NetQuest today. We won’t just answer every question you might have, but we will also be glad to assist you in every step of the upgrade process.