Anticipation for Windows 11 has been building for several months and now the moment has finally arrived… The new iteration of Microsoft’s iconic operating system is released next Tuesday (5th October).
We blogged about it briefly earlier in the year, but now that there is a lot more information available, we’re going to take another look at this major milestone in the history of Windows.
But what are the main features of Windows 11, how will it differ to what has gone before and how will the operating system improve the user experience? But first of all, of course, how do you get it?
If you are purchasing a new device you should find that Windows 11 is installed already. But if you’re using an existing PC…
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How do I upgrade to Windows 11?
If you are not buying a new device, moving across will be as simple as taking an upgrade. This should be free to existing Windows 10 users (there are approximately 1.3 billion devices running 10 at present).
However, some of those devices will not have the right specifications to run 11. These requirements include a minimum of 64 gigabytes of storage and 4 gigabytes of RAM.
The upgrade to Windows 11 will roll out in the early part of 2022, and will be staggered, so not all eligible Windows 10 PCs will be offered the upgrade at the same time. You can check if your PC is eligible by downloading the PC Health Check app (https://aka.ms/GetPCHealthCheckApp). Once the Windows 11 upgrade rollout has started, you can easily check the status of your device by navigating to Windows Update in your Settings.
The upgrade to Windows 11 is for the same edition as you have on your Windows 10 device. So: Devices which have Windows 10 Pro installed will be upgraded to Windows 11 Pro. Devices running Windows 10 Enterprise will upgrade to Windows 11 Enterprise. However, Windows 11 Pro will not offer Windows 11 Pro in S mode, so you’ll need to switch out of S mode to upgrade.
Windows 11 – in a nutshell
There are new productivity features and functionality specifically designed to meet the challenges of the hybrid world. More and more people work in a pattern which is a blend of office and home, and the need to collaborate remotely and effectively has brought new challenges. Windows 11 rises to them.
Read more about Windows 11 at the Ebuyer website
So what’s new in Windows 11?
Windows 11 looks and works in a ‘cleaner’ way, with its simple and powerful user experience designed to improve employee focus. For instance, web browser Microsoft Edge is specifically designed to be the fastest on Windows 11, and integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365 apps.
It’s also possible to work more naturally using pen, voice and touch (though other hardware is required). Power Automate will allow users to automate workflows right from the desktop – though, again, this feature is an additional purchase.
Windows 11 will also feature more integration with Microsoft Teams, the communications platform which has seen an upsurge in use during the pandemic. With the increasing importance of virtual meetings, Teams grew from 20 million to 145 million active users. Windows 11 gives the platform some prominence.
Also preinstalled will be the Xbox Game Pass, the subscription service which offers access to hundreds of games.
A couple of key layout changes (for a start)
For the longest time in Windows, the Start button has been located in the bottom left-hand corner of our screens. In Windows 11, though, it is centered along the taskbar. As more apps and windows are opened, it will shift incrementally to the left. However, if this doesn’t suit you, a Taskbar alignment option lets you go back to the Start button being positioned in its familiar corner. The Start menu has been overhauled in Windows 11. Tiles are at the top of its panel, and your bespoke list of recent and frequent apps and documents is positioned below.
I’m worried about continuity between Windows 10 and Windows 11
Don’t be! An important factor for a new operating system is continuity. Windows 11 is based on the same foundations as Windows 10, and with familiar deployment and update tools and processes (like Windows Update For Business), getting to the new Windows should be relatively smooth.
Windows 11 offers the opportunity to migrate with confidence, with Windows 10 applications still set to work, backed by the App Assure compatibility promise. App Assure is a service designed by the Microsoft FastTrack team which tackles any compatibility issues that business customers might encounter when migrating or upgrading to Windows 11.
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As ever, the security of devices, and the work contained on them or accessed by them, is high priority. Windows 11 has powerful built-in features to take care of this important area. These include hardware-based isolation, encryption, and malware protection. It’s possible to apply password-less security options with enhanced Windows Hello for Business.
Zero Trust is the idea that devices should not automatically trust anything inside or outside of the parent company or organisation’s perimeters and must verify anything and everything trying to connect to its systems. Multi-factor authentication to protect corporate identity and data is also catered for by Windows 11.
Pros and cons of Windows 11
- Refreshed design aesthetic
- Great layout
- Improved multi-monitor functionality
- Improved performance
- Android apps
- Needs minimum spec to run (see above)
- Unfamiliar look
Windows 11 at Ebuyer
Windows 10 will no longer be supported as of October 2025, so although that date is a distance away, upgrading to Windows 11 now means that you’ll be better placed for performance consistency and a smoother user experience.
Of course, as we mentioned at the start of this blog, the purchase of a new device will mean that in most cases the operating system is already installed. You can visit the Ebuyer website and check out the latest laptops and desktop PCs – with Windows 11 ready and waiting!