Productivity, Creativity and Gaming: Here’s what we know about Windows 11
Following an unprecedented 18 months in which many of us merged our home and business lives, Microsoft says that with Windows 11, it has built a “space that feels familiar where you can create, learn, play, produce, and maybe most importantly - connect - in all new ways.” Recognizing how reliant we have become on our devices, Microsoft says Windows 11 will help make us more ‘productive and creative’, but it is also becoming more consumer and gaming focused.
Microsoft describes it as the most secure Windows yet. And perhaps with a nod to the anxiety and burnout many have experienced during the pandemic, Microsoft intends the experience of Windows 11 to inspire a sense of ‘calm’. Microsoft is also introducing features that may help to create some much-needed separation between our home and work lives even as homeworking continues.
New sounds, designs and rounded corners – here’s what we know about the Windows 11 OS:
- The user interface gets a facelift with a more natural, streamlined, distinctly Apple-like feel and a centered start menu “dock”.
- It’ll be easier to personalize your view with Windows widgets, while snap layouts will allow you to tailor multiple screens to fit any device for better multi-tasking.
- Android apps will be easier to download via the Microsoft Store for any device and you’ll seamlessly move between devices with the same look and feel, picking up where you left off.
- Snap groups sitting in your taskbar will allow you to group apps for different projects so you can switch tasks and manage interruptions better.
- Microsoft Teams will be integrated to streamline work allowing users to share documents without opening the Teams app.
- You’ll be able to create separate desktop views for different parts of your life – work, home, gaming, and school – grouping the apps you need during every part of your day.
- You can expect a faster experience over your devices – including start up and browsing – and better battery usage.
- Choose how you interact: type, touch, voice, click or write.
- Microsoft Store is redefined, and it will be easier for developers to bring new apps to the store.
Availability and Support for Windows 10
Windows 11 will be made available ‘by the holidays’ – so probably November or December. A pre-release will be available first for developers to test and certify before it’s available to all. Microsoft says that ‘most devices purchased in the last 18-24 months will be compatible with Windows 11.’ You can verify Windows 11 requirements to find out what is compatible and feed into your hardware refresh program ahead of your update.
What do we know about support for Windows 10? On the Windows 10 Home and Pro page, Microsoft says it will ‘continue to support at least one Windows 10 semi-annual channel until October 14, 2025’. Windows 10 was available for two years before Windows 7 was declared end of life so it’s likely that Microsoft will still deliver Windows 10 feature updates through 2023.
The Windows 10 spring 2021 update was a small one, and Microsoft has now said it will deliver Windows 10 version 21H2 with “new updates to current features that enable hybrid work like Universal Print and enhancements to management and deployment features like Windows Autopilot.” If, like many others you’re updating your enterprise annually, you may want to start preparing now for the next Windows 10 update.