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BLOG POST:

05.10.2021: The launch of Windows 11

It’s been six years since the last major Microsoft update…

So how does Windows 11 stack up?

With October the 5th right around the corner, Microsoft are set to launch their first major system upgrade since 2015 – to be rolled out in measured phases, with eligible devices receiving notifications that it’s available for download.

BLOG POST

Appearence

Clearly wanting to avoid upsetting millions by making radical changes (as it ultimately did with Windows 8) Microsoft has kept the same basic layout, albeit with a significant redesign. You’ll also find rounded corners everywhere you look and a new centrally positioned Start Menu, although you can return the latter to the side if you’d prefer.

Many stock apps have been redesigned, including File Explorer and the photos app – giving you a new way to view your images. File Explorer is far less busy and distracting than the previous versions. The New button at top left works for new folders or documents supported by your apps, and the same viewing options (list, details, differently sized icons) for files are available. The overflow menu offers file compression, selection, Properties, and the old Folder Options dialog. The right-click context menus, which have grown longer and longer over the years, are getting shorter, smarter, and clearer.

Whilst the Windows image has had some overhaul, it still remains familiar – unlike the jump to Windows 8! – and has taken on some aesthetic features more often seen on the Mac OS.

widgets & Apps

There’s a new widgets panel which can show the weather, stocks, news and other things – seemingly replacing the old Start Menu’s live tiles – and improved grouping of open Windows so you can focus more easily on what you’re trying to do.

Widgets haven’t been a major feature of recent versions of Windows, but that’s set to change. The panel slides in from the left, but can be customised to fill the whole screen if you want. It’s designed for quick glances at important information without distracting you from what you were doing before you opened it.

One marquee feature is that Windows 11 will be able to run Android apps, though with some caveats. You’ll either have to install them via the Amazon Appstore running inside of Windows’ Microsoft Store. 

PC Gamers are never forgotten in major new Windows updates, and Windows 11 is no exception. Two areas benefit: Game selection and technologies, including the Xbox app built into Windows 11 which will offer access to the Xbox Game Pass collection of videogames.

Minimum Specification

Will my current PC / laptop run Windows 11?

Microsoft has published a list of minimum hardware requirements:

  • 1GHz or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC).
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB of storage
  • UEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0
  • Graphics card compatible with DirectX 12
  • Display larger than 9in with 720p or higher resolution
  • Microsoft account + internet connection

so can i get it?

And herein lies the sticking point.

Many machines, both old and new, won’t have features such as the TPM module chip (a chip designed to carry out cryptographic operations) or a compatible processor that appears on Microsoft’s compatability list. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as assuming any high spec processor will run it, it’s more based off the generation (age) and the underlying technologies it supports. So in other words, on the Intel side, we’re seeing mainlyy 8th Generation (or newer) processors being compatible.

You can check the list of Intel processors here
You can check the list of AMD processors here

If you’re not sure if your PC is compatible, the Microsoft app may help:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/windows-11#pchealthcheck

Or if you’re unsure, call us on 01624 712393 and we can help.

The upgrade to Windows 11 starts on October 5 and will be phased and measured. Following the tremendous learnings from Windows 10, Microsoft are eager to take this one slowly. That means new eligible devices will be offered the upgrade first. The upgrade will then roll out over time to in-market devices based on intelligence models that consider hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of device and other factors that impact the upgrade experience.

Microsoft expect all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022.

If you have a Windows 10 PC that’s eligible for the upgrade, Windows Update will let you know when it’s available. You can also check to see if Windows 11 is ready for your device by going to Settings > Windows Update and select Check for updates.

There are rumours that the update itself can be forced to install, however if you don’t have the minimum requirements, Microsoft don’t accept any liability for it breaking your machine, and you acknowledge that it’s not supported (meaning they won’t supply security updates and future feature updates to the operating system.

What’s our verdict?

We’ve had a play with Windows 11 in house – and we quite like it. In all honesty, it’s not groundbreakingly different, much of the overhaul seems to be on the looks. It’s different enough to be new, but not dissimilar enough to be alien. We’re still getting to grips with all the new features – some seem like they’ll be handier than others. If it’s available to you, then give it a try, but don’t worry too much if you’re not first on the list!    

Need some help?

We understand you may be unsure about upgrading to a new operating system, or worried that it might go wrong. If you’d like us to help, please call and we can arrange to book your PC or Laptop in with us.

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