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What You Need to Know About Windows 11

September 16, 2021

Windows 11 is almost here and there’s much to be excited about. With new features, improved security, and a fresh new design, this new operating system has been highly anticipated for months. Here’s what you need to know to take advantage as soon as it’s available in October (or sooner). 


How is Windows 11 different from Windows 10? 

The updates in the Windows 11 operating system are primarily geared towards supporting a hybrid workforce and hybrid learning experiences. This means they’ve made the interface more user-friendly and have added improved features to better support people working or learning from home. Below are the primary differences between Windows 11 and Windows 10 which was launched back in 2015.


New interface

The Windows 11 interface feels more like a Mac, with rounded corners and pastel shades. The Start menu and Taskbar are also centered. Standard icons replace the Live Tiles for a more modern, touch-friendly look. The icons link directly to your apps and can be pinned for easy access. 


Native apps 

Android apps will be installable from within the new Microsoft store, making them native to your PC for the first time ever. The Microsoft store is run through the Amazon appstore which you will need to download. Then you can search for and download apps which will be integrated into the Start bar and Taskbar. 


Improved virtual desktops

Virtual desktops are individual desktops or home screens you can create to organize tasks, documents, and applications for the different areas of your life. For example, you may choose to keep all your work-related applications like Word, PowerPoint and Teams under one virtual desktop and personal applications such as Netflix on another desktop. Windows 11 promises to make it easier to toggle between your multiple desktops, reorder them, and even create customized backgrounds for each. 


Snap Groups and Layouts

The Snap Groups and Snap Layouts feature groups the apps and windows that you’re working on and saves them to the Taskbar. This is especially helpful if you dock your laptop to your monitor. When you unplug, the grouped apps and windows automatically stay together so you can quickly reopen from your laptop or desktop. 


Easier access to a better version of Microsoft Teams 

Microsoft Teams will be located right in your taskbar for quick, easy access much like Facetime. Furthermore, Teams can be used whether you’re on a PC, Mac, iOS, or Android. 


Widgets instead of Interests 

The Windows 10 Interests feature gives you personalized at-a-glance info such as your calendar, photos, news, weather, and to-do list. Windows 11 Widgets uses AI to improve personalization. This means that what you view will adapt to feature information that best matches your interests. 


Strengthened security 

Windows 11 will feature "zero trust" capability, hardware-based isolation, encryption and malware prevention turned on by default. The biggest change is that Windows 11 will have much stricter hardware requirements than Windows 10. This means that older devices running on outdated software (because the hardware won’t support new operating systems) will not be eligible for the OS update. While this will improve security, it may mean that a significant number of businesses and individuals using old PCs simply won’t upgrade to Windows 11.  


How and when can I get Windows 11? 

The general release date is October 5, 2021 but new PCs will get the update first and then all compatible devices. Depending on the age of your device and its software, your PC may not see the update until mid-2022. The good news is, you may be able to test it out sooner. This Cnet blog post explains how to download Windows 11 now, before the Oct 5 general release date. 


Come October 5, check under Settings → Update & Security → Windows Update and then click Check for Updates. If it’s available, you should see Feature update to Windows 11. Click download and install. (Windows 11 is free to download for Windows 10 users.) 


As noted earlier, the strengthened security of Windows 11 means that you will need to meet minimum system requirements. One of these requirements is that your device has the Windows 10 operating system. If you’re still running on an outdated system, check out this tutorial


There are other requirements as well. To see if your PC is compatible with Windows 11, either review the system requirements on Microsoft’s website or download Microsoft’s PC Health Check app


New improvements with old favorites

It’s important to note that while Windows 11 has many new features and improvements, it won’t be scrapping everything you’ve come to love about Windows 10. In fact, it’s expected that the switch to the new Windows 11 operating system will be less of a headache for users than upgrades in the past. 

Feature Photo by Windows on Unsplash


Related posts: 

How to Organize Your Inbox in Outlook for a More Efficient Workday

Microsoft Teams vs SharePoint: The Best Choice for Your Business

Why You Need an Office 365 Enhanced Backup 


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