Windows 11: Everything You Need to Know
For PC users, a Windows update may mean new and exciting features to look forward to, while others may dread the unknowns of change. Reported to be available as early as October 2021 and into 2022, Windows 11 will bring a new, serene look that’s meant to simplify your desktop space and help users optimize their workflows to do more, faster. While the upgrade does bring about some exciting new features and advancements, it’s important to look closely into the system requirements before beginning to plan your upgrade.
Windows 11 Upgrade Specifications
While the upgrade will be free for eligible PC users, some consumers may be surprised to learn that the Windows 11 update may or may not be compatible with their existing system. Even some newer laptops or desktop computers may not meet the system requirements.
To prepare users, Microsoft has listed the system requirements in detail so PC users can confirm if they’ll need to purchase a new system altogether.
Minimum System Requirements:
- Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Storage: 64 GB or larger storage device
- System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TPM: Trusted Platform Module version 2.0
- Graphics card: DirectX 12 compatible graphics/WDDM 2.0 driver
- Display: >9” with HD Resolution (720p)
- Internet Connection: Microsoft account and internet connectivity is required for setup for Windows 11 Home
These new requirements may exclude a large number of PC devices, especially in relation to the TPM requirements as not all motherboards come with a TPM module on-board. Further, some countries don’t support or have banned TPM so Microsoft reports that they plan to create a non-TPM version of Windows 11 in the future.
PC Health Check App
Previously, the PC Health Check app was launched and available to the public upon the announcement of the soon-to-be upgrade. However, many users found the results of the initial test to be too vague. Devices that didn’t meet the requirements for the upgrade were met with a message that simply read: “This PC can’t run Windows 11. The processor isn’t supported for Windows 11. While this PC doesn’t meet the system requirements to run Windows 11, you’ll keep getting Windows 10 updates.”
Without any specifics of why their PCs were not going to be compatible, Microsoft faced some backlash. Users may not realize that an upgrade of certain components or enabling the existing TPM chip on the motherboard could be cheaper alternatives then purchasing an entirely new PC.
Based on feedback from the public, Microsoft pulled the tool from availability and announced that the app “was not fully prepared to share the level of detail or accuracy you expect from us on why a Windows 10 PC doesn’t meet upgrade requirements.
The new, revamped app is planned to be available this fall. In the meantime, they’re directing customers to review the minimum system requirements, outlined above, to confirm if their PC will be compatible.
For those whose existing PCs will not be compatible for the upgrade and don’t wish to purchase a new system, Windows 10 will continue to be supported and receive monthly security updates until October 14, 2025.
New Windows 11 Features
For those eligible for the upgrade, Windows 11 will bring a new overall look, with sleek, translucent windows (like frosted glass), with the start menu now centered in the task bar. For those loyal to the left sided start menu, don’t worry, you can revert back to your original ways, if you’d like.
Here’s a look at some of the new features you can expect:
- Microsoft Teams to be Directly Integrated
With the retirement of Skype for Business coming up at the end of July (this month!), Microsoft is further nudging users towards Teams. Chat from Microsoft Teams will now be fully integrated into Windows 11 and placed in the start menu, allowing users to mute/unmute themselves directly from the taskbar.
Microsoft reports that you’ll now be able to instantly connect through text, chat, voice, or video with all your personal contacts, anywhere, no matter the platform or device they’re working on (across Windows, Android or iOS). Even if the person you’re connecting to hasn’t downloaded the Teams app, you’ll be able to connect with them via SMS.
- Snap Layouts & Snap Groups
To help enhance productivity, Windows 11 will provide a variety of layouts so you can snap multiple windows into place and optimize the use of your screen real estate. To take things a step further, with Snap Groups you’ll be able to recall the planned set of windows all together, from your taskbar. With one click, multiple windows will jump into their designated place.
- App Store
Android apps will now be available for download directly onto your PC with the new Microsoft Store via Amazon’s Appstore (meaning you’ll need to download Amazon Appstore and sign into an Amazon account). These apps will then be integrated into the start bar/taskbar.
This feed provides customizable information on weather, sports, news, and more that will slide out as a panel from the left side of your desktop to display the tailor-made information most useful to each user.
- Virtual Desktops
These separate, virtual desktops can be customized and separated for work, personal use, and gaming so you can easily switch back and forth from one desktop to another. Further, Windows 11 will memorize the placement of all tabs and windows on extended monitors. Have you ever finalized the perfect placement of all your windows, only to unplug your laptop and find them all jumbled together on your laptop screen? Now the windows will jump back to their original placement once your laptop is plugged back into your extended monitors.
In addition, a few more features that deserve honorable mentions include enhanced voice typing/dictation, an improved touch screen for tablet mode, and the new Game Pass app for gamers.
Windows 11 Security Updates
For many business owners, security remains a top-priority when considering the upgrade, and rightfully so. Microsoft assures users that Windows 11 will be the most secure version yet.
- Built-In Security Technology
With developed virtualization-based security (VBS) and Hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI or memory integrity) enabled devices, Windows 11 will provide even better protection against malware threats. Further, a secure-cored PC provides more than twice the protection against infection.
Microsoft reports that the combination of these features has been shown to reduce malware by 60% on tested devices.
- Zero Trust-Ready Operating System
The Zero Trust model assumes breach and verifies each request as though it originates from an open network, regardless of where the request originates or what resources it accesses.
Windows 11 will have the capability to use the built-in webcam or a fingerprint reader for biometric authentication. For devices without a biometric sensor, Windows Hello will provide a PIN or portable Microsoft compatible security key.
- Windows Support
With Windows 11, major updates will roll out annually, rather than bi-annually, which will take place in the second half of the year. This increase will make it easier for users to monitor when support will end as it will no longer be in six month increments and users will face fewer disruptive upgrades in general.
Further, the support timeframes will be increased as follows:
– Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Pro will be supported for 24 months (increased from 18 months)
– Windows 11 Enterprise and Windows 11 Education will be supported for 36 months (increased from 30)
Next Steps: Will Your Device Be Compatible with Windows 11?
For more information on feature updates early, Microsoft has two insider programs, one specifically for retail in addition to the Windows Insider Program for business (which requires an Azure AD joined device).
This provides users with the opportunity to:
- Get early access to Windows Insider Preview Builds.
- Provide feedback to Microsoft in real time by using the Feedback Hub app.
- Sign in with corporate credentials (Azure Active Directory) and increase the visibility of your organization’s feedback with Microsoft—especially on features that support your productivity and business needs.
- Register your Azure Active Directory domain in the program, allowing you to cover all users within your organization with just one registration.
The Windows Insider program doesn’t replace Semi-Annual Channel deployments in an organization, rather it provides IT Pros with pre-release Windows builds that they can test and provide feedback on.
If you’re unsure of whether your devices have the necessary requirements to be eligible for the Windows 11 upgrade, Arraya Solutions can help. From upgrade execution to making the most of the latest security features, our team is available to walk you through the entire process. Reach out today to start a conversation!
Visit https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/ to connect with our team now.
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