Windows 11 – Everything You Need to Know

Despite Microsoft saying with some confidence that Windows 10 would be the last ever version when it launched in 2015, six years later, and after several weeks of rumours and teases, Windows 11 was officially announced on the 24th June. Described by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella as "a reimagining of the operating system", here's everything we know about Windows 11 so far.

Windows 11 Release Date & Price

While an exact release date hasn’t been announced, Microsoft have said that the new OS will begin to roll out to compatible devices towards the end of 2021. The upgrade will be optional, so users who wish to keep using Windows 10 can do so until at least 2025, when Microsoft says support will end.

The price for a new version of Windows 11 will likely be approximately the same as a new copy of Windows 10, from $139 to $199, although Microsoft have not released an official price so far. They have, however, said that the upgrade to Windows 11 will be free to anyone currently running an official copy of Windows 10. The free upgrade won’t be available to everyone straight away, but instead will be rolled out in stages in to 2022.

System Requirements

The basic requirements for Windows 11 are similar to those of Windows 10. The big difference is that Windows 11 will no longer support 32-bit systems, only 64-bit. Legacy BIOS is also no longer supported, so your computer will need to be using the UEFI system with Secure Boot and TPM 2.0. The final change is the increase in RAM and storage needed, increased to 4GB and 64GB respectively.

New Design

The way Windows 11 looks is undoubtedly the biggest change we can expect. Microsoft have been making slight design tweaks to Windows 10 for a few years now, which all seem to have been building up to this almost complete overhaul of how the OS looks.

Windows11-start

From the start menu and taskbar being moved to the middle of the screen, to the rounded corners on windows, there is definitely a feel of macOS going on with the new look, which is no bad thing! Windows has never been the prettiest or most stylish operating system, but as long as it worked well that was fine. Still, it will be nice to have an OS that both looks great and works well.

Windows 11 introduces Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops to provide an even more powerful way to multitask and stay on top of what you need to get done. These are new features designed to help you organize your windows and optimize your screen so you can see what you need just the way you want. You can also create separate Desktops for each part of your life and customize them to your liking.

Windows11-snap

New Features

Microsoft Teams, one of the big winners of the Covid lockdowns, has been integrated into Windows 11 in the form of Chat. This app sits in the taskbar and allows you to instantly connect through text, chat, voice or video with all of your personal contacts, anywhere, no matter the platform or device they’re on, across Windows, Android or iOS. If the person you’re connecting to on the other end hasn’t downloaded the Teams app, you can still connect with them via two-way SMS.

There are several enhancements for gamers included with Windows 11, from DirectX 12 Ultimate, which can enable breath taking, immersive graphics at high frame rates, to DirectStorage which allows for faster load times and more detailed game worlds.

There is also a new personalised Widget feed, powered by Microsoft Edge. This allows you to create a panel of different widgets, from news headlines and weather, to your calendar summary and To Do lists. From the images we have seen, this looks great, and could be the perfect way to improve productivity without pulling you away from what you are currently doing, or simply be a way to keep track of the outside world when you need a break.

Windows11-widgets

The Microsoft Store has had an overhaul in Windows 11. It’s been rebuilt for speed and with an all-new design that looks great and easy to use. Microsoft have promised access to more apps than ever before, while also making all content – apps, games, shows, movies – easier to search for.

Windows11-store

A potentially very exciting feature is the addition of Android apps to the Windows 11 stable. The Microsoft Store will reportedly allow you to search for Android apps, which can then be downloaded via the Amazon Appstore and run directly from the desktop of your PC.

Windows11-android

Will Windows 11 Work on your PC?

As mentioned above, there are some changes to the minimum requirements for Windows 11. If you want to check if your computer is compatible, or if you need to start thinking about an upgrade, you can download the PC Health Check app from Windows.com to find out.

Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

Related Articles

Back to top button