This blog post is written for CIO’s and CTO’s curious about Microsoft’s new OS- Windows 11.
Whether you’re a CIO, an IT Administrator, or just a curious Windows user, keeping an eye on the technology horizon is always a good idea. With Windows 7 officially out of Microsoft support, and support for 8.1 ending in January 2023, if you’re reading this on your work PC, chances are it’s on Windows 10. In fact, according to Statista, 71% of Windows-using businesses have already transitioned to Windows 10.
While support for Win10 is expected to run through Oct 2025, starting to plan your organization’s upgrade early is key to ensuring a smooth transition and minimize business disruption. Additionally, given the number of security and productivity enhancements included in this upgrade, your organization may want to move early to leverage these new features. In this article we’ll provide an overview of what’s changing, both on the back-end and in the user experience.
First and foremost, minimum system requirements have been raised fairly substantially. While most devices built within the last ~2 years should be at or near these specifications, it’s important to compare the actual devices deployed in your organization to the table below.
1GHz or faster with 2+ cores on a 64-bit processor/SoC
1GHz or faster processor/SoC
1GB for 32-bit / 2GB for 64-bit
64GB or more
16GB for 32-bit / 20GB for 64-bit
UEFI, Secure Boot capable
Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
720p display that is greater than 9-inch diagonally, 8 bits per color channel
800 x 600 display
Internet access required?
Fortunately, Windows 11 comes ready to work with all the latest and greatest Microsoft infrastructure management tools your organization may already be using such as Intune, Endpoint Manager, Autopilot, and more! Additionally, Microsoft is advising that according to their research, as a result of their efforts invested in ensuring a simple upgrade process, 99% of applications that work on Windows 10 today will also work on Windows 11. As many large organizations know, application remediation can be among the most time-consuming infrastructure readiness tasks, so minimizing the likelihood it will be needed is most welcome news.
In a similar vein to device management, Windows 11 will be compatible with virtually any security tools that you may be using with Windows 10 today. Furthermore, Windows 11 has been built with zero-trust principles at its core, safeguarding data and access anywhere, keeping your organization protected and productive. In fact, with features such as firmware-layer protection, presence sensing, and Defender SmartScreen, Microsoft is advertising that this is the most secure Windows yet!
As is usually the case with an OS release from Microsoft, several aspects of the user interface have been substantially changed. Probably the most immediate (and potentially controversial) change you’ll notice, is the reorganization of the Taskbar. As you can see below, all icons (including the Start button itself) are now centered at the bottom of the screen.
One of the next most significant UI changes is the retirement of the classic Live Tiles, and the inclusion of Widgets. Per Microsoft, Widgets are small cards that display dynamic content from your favorite apps and services on your Windows desktop. They appear on the widgets board, where you can discover, pin, unpin, arrange, resize, and customize widgets to reflect your interests.
Microsoft has also released some handy features to improve your experience and maximize your productivity:
As more and more touch-enabled devices are entering the market, Microsoft has developed a number of improvements to make your Windows experience more touch-friendly. In particular, the most recent update to Windows 11 deployed five new touch features:
One substantial change Microsoft has implemented starting in Windows 11 is that Microsoft Teams will now be installed by default. However, this is only the client-side software. Your organization will need to execute some backend configuration for Teams before using it broadly. If you’d like to explore enabling Teams for your organization, click below to read more about our technology workshops today!
Knowing when to implement a change as significant as an operating system upgrade can be a real challenge. There are a multitude of factors to consider such as business priorities, resource capacity, device life cycles, 3rd party integrations, etc. But two things remain certain; firstly is that through selling points such as the 99% application compatibility, it’s evident that Microsoft has invested significant effort in making the upgrade process as painless as possible. And secondly, experience has shown that taking a proactive, thoughtful approach to analyzing your organization and planning for an upgrade leads to lower implementation costs and superior migration experiences, compared to waiting until the last possible moment.
If you’re interested in learning more about what Windows 11 can do for your organization, click below to set up a free consultation today!
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