So last week, Microsoft officially unveiled the “Next generation on Windows” with #Windows11 and 4 days later the first #WindowsInsider build (yes its rough around the edges still) made its way to insiders. I’ve only been using it a day but I can tell you…
“It’s NOT a fuss about nothing. It’s a big and welcome change”.
What’s the big deal?
Well, It’s been 6 years since #Windows10 launched and it’s been updated roughly twice a year since launch which has included the gradual (they are still working on it) phase out of the remaining legacy features and components left over from #Windows7. Truth be told, much of the reason for these legacy remains have been necessary to support older legacy applications that still today exist across many industries..
Windows 10 is the world’s most widely used PC operating system with over 1.4 Billion devices using it (yes there is “still Windows 7 and XP out there)!
Windows 11, (which will release later this year) promoses a fresh new design and many newly designed features design to address the new needs of work, education and productivity and creativity…. and was described by Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer as “the Windows that brings you closer to the things you love“. So what new features can we expect?
So. What’s new?
Secure from Chip to Cloud
A lot has changed and lots for will be coming as the operating system develops and matures before it’s expected launch in Autumn this year.
One of the core things you may have heard in the press is about the significant system requirements needed to run Windows11. Much of this is around requiring the use of modern processors and in particular modern security in the form of TPM 2.0.
TPM stands for Trusted Platform Module. Even though TPM 2.0 has been in new PCs for years, it’s a technology that many hadn’t heard of until this week.
Whilst I’m not going to dive into this here, (you can) a new security blog post from Microsoft’s director of enterprise and Operating System Security, David Weston, explains the importance of TPM 2.0. Security is big in #Windows11 and is a major step towards any organisation achieving zero trust security policy. Read the blog above to learn more..
Evolved, redesigned but ever “familiar” design
The main change from Windows 10 to a Windows 11 is a new refreshed and completed updated user interface which has rounded “fresh looking” corners, new modern desktop wallpapers, pastel colours, a centred Start menu and Taskbar and more adaptive experience complete with modern style widgets which essentially replace the “live tiles”.
The UI feels very modern and dare I say a bit “mac-like” and is very comparable to what we saw with early concepts of what Windows 10X was going to look like…..but what else is new? If you haven’t see it yet (where have you been), then check out the “sizzle” video below.
- Increased performance. Windows 11 promises more performance whilst browsing the internet with Microsoft Edge and major updates (which will be once a year) will also be nearly 1/2nthe size of Windows 10s.
- “Snap Layouts” make multi-tasking and the transition from single screen to multi screen much easier without need to remember keyboard shortcuts or use third party apps. With snap layouts users can create “collections” of the apps you are using which can sit in “groups” in the Taskbar. These can then be and can maximised or minimised together allowing you to switch between tasks and apps quicker. This comes into its own if you use multiple displays or use your laptop/Surface connected to a monitor since it ensures that the apps always open on your preferred screen.
- Android Apps are coming to Windows through a new ’emulator’ and will available from the Amazon Appstore.
- New App Store. The new revamped store promises to be faster and will be the “the safest and most secure way for you to get your apps on Windows.”
- Widgets replace LiveTiles. Familiar to a modern mobile experience, widgets can be accessed directly from the Taskbar and uses AI to provide a personalised and contextualised experience and content. This builds/replaces the recent “news bar” in Windows 10 Build 21H1
- Microsoft Teams will be (its not in the first build) integrated directly into the Taskbar. This replaces Skype (in Windows 10) and enables users to initiate calls and meetings as well as mute yourself. This will come when the new redesigned Teams client is available later this year.
- Xbox “built in”. Well, sort of! Xbox is a big part of Microsoft so it’s unsurprising that enhanced gaming experiences such as cloud streaming, Auto HDR and Direct Storage which are all found in Xbox are coming to gaming PCs to improve gaming on PC.
How can I get it now?
The official Windows 11 upgrade will begin rolling out to all new and compatible devices in late 2021 (most likely November time) – but if you want to try an early version, provide feedback and test new features as they are being developed, you can join the Windows Insider Program.