October 5, 2021
The day has come! The rise of Microsoft Windows 11. But what does that really mean to most people who are familiar with (and probably happy with) Windows 10? The practicalities are just starting to reveal themselves, but we thought we would take a little moment to highlight three main differences.
1. Cosmetic Look
The first and most obvious change is cosmetic. The new version features a centralised Start menu with a selection of icons in the task bar. Not a big shift by any means, but one that may take some getting used to if you are not familiar with the environment. A nice feature is that when the Start button opens there is also a menu of those apps that you use frequently which means you can dive straight on in, rather than having to seek them out. Design wise it generally favours a more ‘rounded’ approach across the operating system, this includes rounded corners and simplified viewing of elements like menus and folders. It has also adopted some of the smartphone styling where windows can be arranged and snapped into grids.
2. System Integrations
Diving deeper into the technology side of things, Microsoft Teams has been integrated to replace Skype and if you are aware of the Windows 11 advertising then the Xbox app also features. These alongside the introduction of Widgets with other multi-tasking options and short-cuts are all aiming to improve accessibility and to work better with touch control. This probably lends itself to fitting in with how the majority are now working with more of a hybrid work environment, both virtually and physically.
3. The Microsoft Store
This is the Windows version of what many know as an app store. It has been completely redesigned and has been enabled to encourage more third-party apps to sell within it, while also committing to not taking a substantial cut. It will be interesting to see how widely this is adopted over the next few months.
So, while anyone buying a new PC from today will have Windows 11 pre-installed, not everyone with the opportunity to upgrade for free will immediately want to take that leap. It’s unlikely that Windows 11 will introduce any compatibility issues, but some machines may not be able to upgrade at all. Already widely known across the IT Support industry is that the minimum requirement is for computers to have a type of security chip called a TPM. It stands for Trusted Platform Module, a new international standard to secure computer hardware. As this article by Review Geek highlights ‘it carries out operations like generating encryption keys and providing a mix of software and hardware-based authentication in a tamper-resistant fashion.’ Generally, a machine less than five years will have this, but whether it is activated or not is another matter. Those pieces of kit that have been a bespoke build may well not have their TPM chip enabled and will require that to happen before being able to install Windows 11. For those of you that have our Managed Workstation solution, you will be able to see whether it is activated or not.
The challenge we can see for many of our clients is that as new kit is introduced there will be two versions of Windows running. This will potentially mean testing will be required on both environments and so the question will be when is the tipping point to upgrade all machines to Windows 11?
It is obviously early days, but if you want to know more check out Microsoft’s blog on how to get Windows 11 or they have a simple chart comparing Windows 10 and Windows 11. The good news is that users already running Windows 10 can continue to do so and this will still be supported and receive security updates until October 2025. However, if you do have any questions on the implications for your business, whether you are customer of ours or not, we would very happily have a chat.