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Everything You Need To Know About Windows 11

Windows 11 has just launched and in this article you can find out what the main differences are and what to expect.

When does Windows 11 release?

Microsoft have released an official launch date for Windows 11 and it is coming soon. On October 5th Microsoft will release the first copies of Windows 11 ready to download for free on new computers and those that meet the required specifications. 

The initial staged rollout of Windows 11 will go to newer PCs first and then become available to older models, most likely for large scale testing purposes on old models. The rollout is estimated to last till mid-2022.

The Windows 11 preview is available to Dev and Beta channels that are in the Windows Insider Programs. Original Equipment Manufactures (OEMS) are installing the new version as standard into new devices most likely ready for the upcoming holiday period.

Wasn’t Windows 10 the last version?

When Windows 10 was announced, it was speculated that it was going to be the last version of Windows. After that there would be a Windows on service and the plan was to let Windows 10 evolve and develop overtime.

To be extra clear, a developer named Jerry Nixon was the one that said Windows 10 would be the last version. However, Microsoft never corrected or addressed the comment which caused the general press to give this information out as the true narrative. 

This is not to say this wasn’t Microsofts mindset at the time. Since Windows 10 release the person who said Windows 10 was the last version no longer works at Microsoft. Panos Panay is now the Chief Product Officer and he seems to have big plans.

The way to see the new Windows 11 is a rebrand of Windows 10 which is using the new and supposedly improved User Experience (UX). Realistically it is the same Windows 10 that we’ve been using for all this time and could’ve been shipped as a standard update however, the brand of Windows 11 gives an excitement of something new.

Microsoft will continue to give Windows as a service, so this will be a free upgrade. But also I wouldn’t expect this to be the last version of Windows that we’ll get. Most likely Windows 12 will be announced in the upcoming years.

Can my PC run Windows 11?

Windows 11 will be a free update for users currently on Windows 10 and with all the new features that Windows 11 is bringing the running requirements are much higher than its predecessor. The major difference would be that 32-bit will no longer be supported along with older CPUs. Alongside this at least 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage is required.

For a detailed list look below;

PartMinimum Requirement
Processor1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
RAM4 gigabyte (GB)
Storage64 GB or larger storage device
System FirmwareUEFI, Secure Boot capable
TPMTrusted Platform Model (TPM) version 2.0
Graphics CardCompatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
DisplayHigh definition (720p) display that is greater than 9” diagonally, 8 bits per colour channel.
Internet connection and Microsoft accountsWindows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account to complete device setup on first use.
Switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S mode also requires internet connectivity. 
For all Windows 11 editions, internet access is required to perform updates and to download and take advantage of some features. A Microsoft account is required for some features.

Will Microsoft forcefully update?

The simple is no. Microsoft aren’t going to force anyone to upgrade, this is due to the Redmond firm when a forced update version of Windows 10 was discovered to delete some users files. The only time Microsoft will forcefully update your product is if your previous version is nearing its end of support which will not happen with Windows 11.

Your computer will most likely prompt you that a feature update is available and notify you about it till you opt in to upgrade beginning on the 5th of October. For those of you that like Windows 10 you’re in luck as a new update is to rollout. There is guaranteed support of Windows 10 till 2025, so you’ve got plenty of time to decide.

So, what’s new?

This is one of the biggest UX overhaul that windows has had and supposedly makes the UX more-touch friendly which is something that Windows 10 had struggled with.

A rounded visual overhaul.

Windows 11 is going to be visually very different from 10. This is very noticeable with a new layout of the taskbar with a more centred look much like Apples OS. Along with that Microsoft is moving away from sharp cornered applications which was adapted from Windows 8 and applying smooth cornered applications instead. Most likely this will be a configureable option and changeable for personalisation.

Introducing Windows 11 | Acer United Kingdom

There are now more colourful icons throughout your operating system, you’ll find these in the new and modernised File Explorer, Device manager and pretty much everything else. These are available in the Windows 10 previews and they make for a big visual difference.

Not just the looks but the User Interface (UI) is getting a makeover. The way that you interact with the UI is changing as well. The main focus was to make Windows better for touch, something that Windows 10 struggled with. Windows 11 will support more touch gestures for trackpad users and for desktop users button presses will be much more consistent.

Along with all this a new Snap Layouts and Groups will be added for those who have the issue of having too many tabs open. It’s a fairly simple feature but may prove useful for productivity. You can simply hover over the maximise button and you’ll get a few options of different page layouts.

What are Snap Layouts and Snap Groups in Windows 11 and how do

This will come in very useful for those that have ultra-wide monitors which Microsoft has never supported completely before. Now you will be able to have three apps running at once.

You’ll also get the option to keep your layouts if you minimise the tabs.

New and updated apps

Clock with Focus Sessions;

A brand new app from Microsoft that will come by default with Windows 11 is Focus Sessions, this is basically a scheduled session system to help you keeps concentrated on a specific task for an allotted amount of time.

There are several helpful features to this application such as being able to link your tasks that are on your Microsoft To Do along with a Spotify integration. You get a daily progression dashboard showing you a review of everything, along with an in-depth customisation.

Calculator 

For you mathematicians out there the integrated calculator app has received a huge UI change and number of new features. The main feature is programmer mode which lets you create graphs using algebra functions, trigonometry and the support of over 100 units and currencies.

Teams Integration

With the pandemic working from home has become the new normal which has boosted the market for productivity over the internet applications like Zoom and cloud based file sharing. Microsoft Teams is now a completely cooperative with Windows 11 and is fully integrated in the taskbar.

This should mean that everything can be done from your taskbar like muting yourself and presenting your screen. It’s also going to work with SMS for those that haven’t downloaded Teams yet. Microsoft official referred to it as a “two-way SMS”, so don’t expect any MMS group texts.

Photos

Photos is getting a massive change as it uses the new Mica material, along with theme-specific colour palettes and a new typography.

A new toolbar with basic editing features and more noticeably a ‘filmstrip’ that will be set at the bottom of the screen. This allows for easier scrolling for images that are in the album. You can now create a photo board by pinning a few images at once on one screen. Absolutely a great addition for you photographers out there.

Microsoft Store

The Microsoft store has been updated to unlock greater economic opportunity’s for developers and creators. This is one of the biggest changes to come with Windows 11.

Unfortunately desktop apps still haven’t arrived to the Store the way Microsoft would’ve wanted. 

Developers will be able to submit their apps without packaging them, they can also host them on their own Content Delivery Network (CDN), meaning that applications won’t have to be distributed by Microsoft, just through the storefront.

This is opening opportunities for big apps like Google Chrome which were left out due to Microsofts rule. Now it is a lot easier to put your app on the store.

Microsoft will allow almost any type of app on the store. It could be Win32, Java, .NET, Xamarin or something else, and Microsoft is encouraging people to upload to the store.

Some of the big apps have been announced to come to the store such as Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, TikTok and Zoom. 

Widgets

Widgets are being added and is like the Windows 10 News and Interests tab on the taskbar but much bigger and completely customisable with information like the weather, To-Do list, photos and news tab. It will most likely be open to third party applications in the future.

Windows 11 widgets — everything you need to know | Tom's Guide

Virtual Desktop Wallpaper

I minor change in the grand scheme, but if you are a virtual desktop user this may be a big change for you. You can now change the wallpaper on each of your virtual desktops helping you define the look of each on that might have its own purpose.

Gaming Optimised

Microsoft has been focused on the gaming industry for some time and is completely right to do so being that Windows computers are the most viable for gaming on compared to their competitor Apple and consoles. 

Windows 11 comes with a ton of gaming improvements, one being Auto HDR a feature first seen in the Xbox Series S|X consoles, and now it is coming to Windows. If you haven’t guessed it adds HDR to older games .

Also being borrowed from the firms latest console is DirectStorage. This does require a DirectStorage optimised PC which needs the kind of SSD apart of the Xbox Velocity Architecture, but will allow for super quick loading times with better performance.

Finally, Xbox Cloud Gaming is being built-in. It’ll be apart of the built in Xbox app on Windows 11. It hasn’t been confirmed but this feature may also come to Windows 10 and has no reason to.

Conclusion

Windows 11 seems to be mainly a user interface and experience overhaul but does contain some big changes for some of its apps. Even then most of the UI seems to be inspired from Apples operating system.

Realistically this update could’ve been another update to Windows 10 but Windows 11 seems to be the way Microsoft wants to go. 

It will be interesting to see what Microsoft adds in future updates and what the general opinion will be.

Will you be downloading Windows 11 when it releases? If you need assistance ensuring your Windows 11 install goes smoothly, contact us on 01903 357002

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