Microsoft is known for raising the bar with its software, introducing new feature updates or adding a new product to its lineup. While Windows 10 has achieved widespread success, Microsoft has already announced a new operating system (OS): Windows 11. Many Australian business owners will undoubtedly have questions about Windows 11, so we’ve compiled everything you need to know in this article.
When is Windows 11 coming out?
According to Microsoft, early access to Windows 11 is currently available for those registered in the Windows Insider programme. As for the public release date, Microsoft strongly hinted at a late 2021 launch, which could mean businesses can expect the new OS as early as October.
What are the system requirements?
Windows 11 doesn’t have demanding hardware requirements, making it compatible with a wide range of devices. At the very least, your system needs to have a 1 GHz 64-bit processor, 4 GB of RAM, secure boot capability, and 64 GB of storage. It should also have secured boot capabilities and trusted platform module technology, a standard for computers manufactured in the past decade.
How much does it cost, and what support is provided?
What’s great about Windows 11 is that it’s free for users who already have a Windows 10 licence. Reports suggest that transitioning from Windows 10 to 11 is as painless as a software update.
What’s more, Microsoft plans to provide Windows 11 Pro users 24 months of product support and Windows 11 Enterprise subscribers 36 months from the general availability date. Microsoft will continue to provide monthly quality updates to fix bugs and security issues. However, Microsoft has changed the frequency at which they roll out feature updates. Instead of receiving biannual updates (spring and autumn), Windows 11 will get one comprehensive update in the second half of each calendar year. This means less time is wasted every year on installing new OS upgrades.
What about Windows 10 users?
Windows 10 will continue to receive support until its end of life in October 2025. There will still be a major update for Windows 10 in late 2021, but it’s unclear whether there will be any more feature updates in the next four years. Nevertheless, businesses that are reluctant to move to Windows 11 on the release date will still have some time to consider their options.
What’s new in Windows 11?
Windows 11 offers a host of new features that business users will particularly enjoy.
1. Revamped user interface
First of all, Windows 11 features a sleeker design to improve the user experience. The Start button and app icons will now appear at the centre of the taskbar instead of the bottom-left corner. This reduces the time your mouse travels across the screen to access applications, which is especially useful if you have multiple programs open.
Beyond the realigned taskbar, Start leverages cloud technology to recommend the latest files across different platforms. For example, the Start menu may display recently edited Word documents in Microsoft 365 if you need to review specific changes. The Start menu can even show files saved in Android or iOS devices connected to your Microsoft account.
2. Microsoft Teams integration
Microsoft revealed that Windows 11 would have Teams directly built into the taskbar. With Teams, you can chat, start a voice or video call, and share files across different platforms or devices with your contacts. Even if the person has an Android or an iOS device, you’ll be able to communicate with them through the Teams app or directly via SMS.
3. Snap layouts and multiple desktops
With Windows 11, you can select preset layouts that will automatically snap your windows into different parts of your screen. You can choose layouts that snap windows side by side, into three equally sized columns, or more complex orientations. This makes it easy to see all the information and applications you’re working on in one screen.
Windows 11 will also allow you to use multiple virtual desktops to organise your screen. You can have one virtual desktop designated for work and another for play, each with its own background, app shortcuts, and themes. You can then switch between desktops by clicking on the Task View button on the taskbar. Employees working from home will find this feature particularly useful for compartmentalising their personal and professional lives.
4. Personalised widgets
Another addition to the Windows 11 taskbar is the widget menu. Widgets are essentially small gadgets that provide updates such as the news, weather, stocks, etc. It also comes with simple tools like a calculator, currency converter, and search engine that links to your web browser. The widgets displayed on your desktop can be customised according to your needs so you can work as seamlessly as possible.
5. New Microsoft Store
The Microsoft Store in Windows 11 has been redesigned to make finding apps and online content more manageable. More importantly, the Microsoft Store has a much more extensive collection of apps you can download. Popular third-party apps like Zoom, Visual Studio, Canva, and Adobe Creative Cloud will be listed in the new Microsoft Store, eliminating the need to download them through a web browser. Plus, Windows 11 enables you to download Android apps on your desktop, giving you more options to play with.
6. Optimised performance and security
Businesses can expect a significant performance boost in Windows 11. This includes faster startup times, more reliable logins using Windows Hello, and streamlined background updates. Windows 11 is even compatible with a wide array of apps, so you don’t need to worry about performance issues when you upgrade.
Last but not least, Windows 11 is much safer than previous iterations because it boasts powerful zero trust security configurations by default, helping you prevent unauthorised access to data and devices.
If you want to learn more about Windows 11 and its implications for your business, call Empower IT today. As a leading Microsoft certified partner, we can give you updates on Windows 11 developments and help your business prepare for the new OS.