After six years of anticipation, Microsoft is making good on its promise to streamline the Windows experience. Designed with a fresh look and feel, it’s ready to meet the needs of the modern workplace.
As of October 5th, the new OS began rolling out, complete with a suite of new features and updates that target productivity, creativity, and connection.
The world’s a different place than when Windows 10 debuted. Hybrid work, and the security threats that come with it, have created new challenges. Apps are more critical to our work than ever and our expectations for gaming or streaming content have totally evolved. The new Windows delivers on all the above.
If you want to get a sense of how Windows 11 might modernize your workday, consider these key changes.
What this means for the PC
Say goodbye to what you knew about Window’s user experience. The new OS focuses on bringing users a calm, open ecosystem that simplifies the process of creation. Whether you’re a developer, a creator, a gamer, or a student, Windows 11 has updates you’ll appreciate.
However, to take advantage of the security features and user-centered design, you’ll need a Windows-compatible machine that’s less than three or four years old to start immediately. The phased rollout will continue through mid-2022 for older PC models.
Microsoft says this is key to providing a crash-free experience, one that fully supports the impressive graphics, sounds, and animations as well as ironclad security features that come with the updated operating system.
Windows 11: Everything you need to know
To get users excited and give them a sense of how Windows 11 can transform their PC experience, Microsoft has released lists detailing its most notable updates.
This roundup of new features from Cnet is just part of what you can expect:
- A new interface: Expect to see an approach that includes a centered start menu and taskbar at the bottom of the screen.
- Android app accessibility: Users can now get integrated Android apps from the updated Microsoft store with Windows 11.
- AI-supported widgets: Personalizable and housed in the taskbar, you can easily curate the content you see – or create.
- More integrated Microsoft Teams: Teams have been updated and pinned to the taskbar, making it easier to access from a variety of operating systems.
- Xbox gaming tech: Think immersive graphics, faster load times, and vivid colors.
- Improved virtual desktop support: Create and toggle between as many desktops as you like (e.g. one for work, another for school, and a third for games).
- Snap layouts for multitasking: Group your apps by theme or based on those you use most. Your open Windows won’t be lost when you switch monitors either.
Still not sure whether you’ll get much out of the upgrade to Windows 11? There are a few additional perks that aren’t available on Windows 10, like more thorough stats on battery usage, updates that are 40-50% faster to install, and a focus session option in your clock app that integrates with your to-do list and Spotify.
How Windows 11 is changing security
The last 18 months have been a whirlwind of cyberattacks and new security threats as the world moved to hybrid work. Businesses have lost billions and organizations across every industry have been tasked with the full-time job of keeping their employees and data protected.
Windows 11 utilizes built-in chip-to-cloud protection that renders company assets impenetrable and makes security the default. Supported with a new security-specific processor, the Secured-core PCs that run Windows 11 come armed with hardware-backed security features that are automatically enabled the moment you boot up.
David Weston, partner director of enterprise and OS security at Microsoft, tells TechRepublic, “The goal is to make security easy, to make sure it doesn’t impact performance or battery life and to make it easy for organizations to move to passwordless, ‘zero trust’ approaches.”
Though Windows 10 will remain supported through 2025, organizations needn’t wait to make the switch. Windows 11 was built to power the new work environment of today – and the unknowns of tomorrow.