Windows 11 is the highly anticipated Operating System, and Microsoft’s successor to Windows 10. As things stand, it’s currently expected that it will be released officially in October 2021 based on hints from Microsoft, but this could just be for the operating system loaded on new machines, and there may be a bit more of a wait until the upgrade is released for existing machines running Windows 10.
It’s also been released that Microsoft will be updating Windows 11 yearly, much like Apple already does with macOS.
What are the new features of Windows 11?
Although it’s been hailed by Microsoft as ‘the most secure release yet’, there are a whole host of features to get excited for. Here are just some of them that are already being talked about, prior to release.
- A new look – Windows 11 has had a bit of a refresh, with a start menu in the middle of the screen which changes depending on the time of day and what you’re working on as well as an official light mode and dark mode, and rounded corners.
- Snap layouts – this feature is great for multitasking, as it will allow users to arrange multiple windows across the screen in various different configurations. This means that you could have your calendar, emails, and task list all open and visible on the same monitor.
- An improved health check app – Found in settings, the Windows 11 health check app will do things like recommending turning down screen brightness or change the battery power saving mode, as well as other best practices for your hardware.
- External monitor support – Windows 11 will remember where the windows were on a specific monitor, a great timesaving improvement for those who use multiple screens!
- Estimated installation time – if you’ve ever been caught out by accidentally running a lengthy update in the middle of the work day you’ll enjoy this. There will be an estimated installation time shown for Windows updates, so you can see at a glance whether you need to wait until later to run an update.
- Microsoft Store redesign – this will have better options for managing purchases, as well as making it possible for other applications to be used in Windows 11, such as Apple’s iMessage.
- Touch improvements – The announcement of future Surface products shows that Windows need to upgrade their tablet game. Windows 11 will introduce bigger touch targets as well as haptics, responsive touch allowing the use of a stylus.
Initially, Microsoft released a tool that allowed you to enter your machine details and see if your desktop PC or laptop would be Windows 11 compatible. However, this was confirmed to be buggy, and was giving incorrect results making it look like many eligible machines would not be eligible, but have since released another tool giving a clearer idea.
- Processor: 1 GHz or faster with at least two cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 64GB
- 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 the initial setup of the operating system.
Do I need to download Windows 11?
It is currently downloadable in beta, but unless you have a particular technical interest, and you’re using a machine that isn’t your main one, then we recommend you don’t even think about downloading it just yet. Like all of these things, it’s still brand new which means there will be bugs and issues that they’ll already be working on ironing out.
What does this mean for Windows 10?
Microsoft’s lifecycle website states that they’ll officially be ending support for Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, and Education editions on October 14th 2025.
This might seem like a distant date, and something to worry about for the future – but if you’re an organisation with quite a few machines that all need updating, it’s advisable to keep in mind now, that this is something you’re going to have to think about in the not-too-distant future.
As well as the update itself, you may find yourself needing to upgrade any software or hardware if the versions you are using are not compatible with Windows 11.
We often experience a high demand for our services when there’s an approaching deadline for required updates, so definitely advise against leaving it until the last minute!
If you’d like help planning and implementing your upgrade strategy, please contact us and a member of the team will have a chat with you about what you’re looking to achieve – we’re here to help!