The lowdown on Windows 11

As Windows 11 is on the horizon for October launch, here’s what we know so far…

As the successor to the current Windows 10, Windows 11 is a free upgrade available to anyone that’s on the operating system, subject to minimum system requirements.

If you want to check if your machines fit the bill, you can use the link here these may be subject to change as Windows 11 is finalised over the next few months.

To download the upgrade you’ll need a Microsoft account and for the most pain-free experience, to be running Windows 10. There are options to upgrade FOC if you’re running 7 or 8 but it’s likely to involve a clean install or re-install and data restore. This is due to the new yearly update cycle.

Theres also an option to downgrade back to Windows 10 within 10 days if you are experiencing issues.

Here’s all the feature information from Tech Radar

‘There are improvements across the board in Windows 11, with Microsoft promising that updates will be 40% smaller, and touting Windows 11 as “the most secure release yet”.

The taskbar is optimized for touch as well as mouse peripherals and is now renamed the dock.

New multitasking features are also on offer thanks to a feature called Snap Layouts, which enables you to arrange multiple windows across the screen, not just side by side, but in columns, sections and more.

Another feature is Snap Groups, where you can go back to previously snapped windows from the dock, so for example you can go to your email app, Edge browser windows or anything else without having to snap them back to the previous view again.

There’s also improved multi-monitor support, so when you reconnect an external monitor, Windows 11 remembers the previous positions of the windows that were on that monitor.

There’s even an estimated installation time for Windows Update, so you can see whether you need to hold off from updating your PC until later in the day.

Teams is also integrated to the dock, so you can easily join in with meetings and family calls. This looks like the first inkling of Skype disappearing from Windows, especially with the Skype sounds being heard in the demo when a call was incoming.

The Microsoft Store is finally seeing a redesign, with better-curated content, and a better options for managing your purchased shows, such as mirroring them to your television. Apps such as Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, Pinterest and more are already in this redesigned store for Windows 11, ready to go.

WPA, EWP and Win32 apps are now all in the Microsoft Store, ready to go. If a developer has a commerce engine, they can keep 100% of the revenue brought from the Microsoft Store.

Android apps are also ready for Windows 11, discoverable from the Microsoft Store, via the Amazon App Store, so you can download TikTok and more, ready to use on your PC or tablet.

We suspect that the reason why Amazon are allowing their version of the store instead of Google, may be to do with the .APK filename being replaced from August.

The new store opens up possibilities for other applications to arrive in Windows 11, even Apple’s iMessage, which could follow iTunes and Safari.

A new look for 11

One of the biggest changes users will notice is that the Start menu has been moved to the centre of the screen – and it’s now “cloud powered”, so it dynamically changes depending on the time of day, and the content you’re working with.

Light Mode and Dark Mode are official, with rounded corners and a unified design across the operating system, with colourful wallpapers to choose from as well.

There are also some windows that look Aero-esque from Windows Vista, showing you bite-sized information.

Windows Widgets are back in Windows 11, accessible via the dock, with Microsoft touting AI-powered dynamic features that enable widgets, as with the Start menu, to change depending on the apps you’re using and the time of day. On the touchscreen, you can slide from the left on the desktop to have widgets appear.

There are plenty to choose from, such as the weather, Bing maps, news, and more.

These will be available for third-parties as well, so you may see as many widgets available to pick as there are on Apple’s iOS and iPadOS operating systems.’

Backup and security options

As always with Microsoft products its important to consider your security and backup options, especially around the new hybrid working environment and Microsoft 365. If you’re making the change to Windows 11 as part of your digital strategy, you need to make sure there’s no data loss and that all devices are fully backed up and secure before you proceed.

Microsoft simply state that they maintain the uptime of their products, its your responsibility to protect and control your business data.

If you haven’t already, now is a great time to check and test or implement a good cloud backup service that ensures the continuity of your business operations in time for the transfer.

Microsoft are reporting that Windows 11 has ‘Powerful built-in security, hardware-based isolation, encryption, and malware protection.’ Whilst this is great news for security its important not to rely solely on the OS, you ‘ll need to ensure you have all your regular cyber security measures in place too, in keeping with your business continuity plan.

If you’re looking to make the change or need any advice, just speak to our friendly team and we’ll be happy to guide you through it.

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