The most noticeable change between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is the sleek new UI of the operating system. The taskbar has been moved to the centre of the screen and now acts as a dashboard for both applications and widgets. As the new operating system is designed with hybrid working in mind, Microsoft Teams has been integrated into the desktop. This makes it easier to communicate with their colleagues and multitask during meetings. From the taskbar, users can also mute, unmute and start presenting, this increases productivity and limits technical difficulties whilst in meetings.
As the security landscape continues to change, Microsoft has made security a top priority when designing Windows 11. The key change from Windows 10 to 11 is that Windows 11 utilises the zero trust framework, whereby it assumes a breach at all times and has advanced identity and access management features. The increase in security features does come at a cost, as it requires newer hardware with a TPM 2.0 chip to enable the automatic BitLocker encryption. Microsoft has also stated that Windows 11 boots significantly faster than Windows 10 and the operating system uses less energy, which should translate to longer battery life on laptops and tablets.
In order to upgrade to Windows 11 the user’s computer must have the following minimum system requirements:
- A 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster CPU with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB or larger storage device
- UEFI Secure Boot capable and enabled
- A Trusted Platform Module version 2.0
- A 720p display device that is at least 9” diagonally
The three key requirements that not all PCs may not meet are the CPU, UEFI secure boot requirement and the TPM requirement. The only CPUs that are compatible are 8+ generation Intel processors and AMD Ryzen 2000+ series. These chips were made in late 2017 onwards, meaning that if the device was built or purchased before 2017, it will not meet the minimum hardware requirements. Microsoft aims to make it simple to check if users’ hardware will be able to run Windows 11 with their PC Health Check App.
Whenever a business upgrades their software or operating systems, there is a period of readjustment whilst users become accustomed to the changes in UI. However, for many businesses that are considering upgrading to Windows 11, the largest concern is the hardware requirements. For businesses that have not upgraded their hardware in the past 4 years, upgrading to Windows 11 would also require upgrading their hardware, which may be result in significant costs. Thankfully, as Windows 10 will continue to be supported until 2025, businesses do not need to rush to upgrade their hardware. Another key concern is whether or not a business’s software and applications are compatible with Windows 11. This includes essential business applications as well as any antivirus, VPNs or endpoint management software.
If your business has purchased new devices within the past 4 years, and the hardware is compatible, upgrading to Windows 11 may increase employee productivity and result in a better user experience. However, before businesses update their operating systems they should ensure that all their software and applications are compatible with Windows 11. For businesses that have not recently upgraded their hardware, and do not plan to for another few years, they will need to delay rollout of Windows 11 until they have purchased new hardware. Businesses should ensure they have upgraded to Windows 11 by 2025, as after the operating system is no longer supported and running Windows 10 will be a major security risk.