It’s already here. Microsoft has announced the official launch date for Windows 11 in less than a month: projected to be on October 5, 2021, although it has been available since June. End-users and IT Services professionals are hoping for a smoother debut than what happened with Windows 10.

PC users typically remember the good old days of Windows 7 with fondness – so much so that after the word-of-mouth started going around concerning initial instabilities in Windows 10, many 7 users hung on until the bitter end, when Microsoft stopped issuing security updates and patches. At IT Support LA, as with much of the IT Support Los Angeles Community, we encouraged the switch early, due to the exposure of increasing vulnerabilities once Microsoft began 7’s planned obsolescence.

It was a strong Operating System (OS) in its day, but cyber criminals marked the final end-date, January 14, 2020 on their calendars, ready to pick off the stragglers like a lion stalks the slowest antelopes in the herd. A new OS can either be an improvement or a problem, for both end users and network IT support, whether in-house or with an outsourced Managed IT Services firm.

What we at IT Support LA saw was not a calamity, but an ongoing annoyance – the network equivalent of ‘Death by a thousand paper cuts’ – little ‘make-work’ fixes, one after another. Our IT HelpDesk frequently had to deal with these glitches -problems booting up was a regular issue at first, and the often massive updates Microsoft issued caused various problems of their own. Even as its replacement approaches, 10 is still not the most stable of platforms, although many issues have been brought under control over time.

Is Windows 11 any good?

So far, the reviews indicate that, while 11 has a new look, it does not appear to be as different from 10 as one would have expected. There’s nothing unusual in your computer’s system requirements, but as with anything new, there’s that old saying, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Like a new car, it may drive smoothly out of the car lot (it better!), but problems can arise the more it’s driven.

For business networks, there will be few worries: your IT services team will make sure everything needed is present. This may cause a need for a few extra on-site IT support technician visits to upgrade CPUs, for example, but not to any intrusive degree. Our crew at IT Support LA just wants to see how much minor, extra work the new OS will cause.

Microsoft states that it will continue to support 10 until 2025, so there’s no reason to jump right on board with 11. The smart money is on feedback from those who have switched, and how it’s working out for them. At the very least, your IT Services people will hear things even if you don’t.

Overall, early reports indicate that it will be a much better OS than 10.

What are the new features in Windows 11?

The most noticeable new business features (not counting Gaming/Xbox improvements) are:
1) A more user-friendly interface with a cleaner design – it has been compared to what Macintosh has.
2) Easier to manage virtual desktops, and the ability to toggle between different desktops – again, similar to what MacOS does. Hmm… reminds one of when Pepsi started tasting more like Coke…
3) Better Microsoft Teams integration. It will now be more accessible on the taskbar and from a variety of devices from both Microsoft and Apple.
4) The ability to access Widgets directly from the taskbar.
5) Easy Android App Integration directly from the Microsoft Store to your PC (no projected availability date on this yet).
6) Multitasking features like Snap Groups and Snap Layouts which corral apps and windows commonly used in tandem into one place for better task-switching. This will enable more seamless transition from monitor to monitor to laptop as well. At first glance, this seems similar to the UI (User Interface) on Google Workspace, which was a major advancement from G Suite  – a real time-saver.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will Windows 11 be a free upgrade?

A:  As of now, 11 is a free upgrade to all Windows 10 users. Check with your IT Services people to see about system requirements and installation. If you are a personal user, you need to ensure that your computer is up to snuff and follow directions for a successful upgrade. MPNRC outlines step-by-step procedures HERE.

Q: What are the bugs in Windows 11?

A: There are several, but the ‘fixes’ are in. TechRadar breaks these down and explains how they are being addressed HERE.

Q: Will Windows 11 take up more space?

A:  At installation, 11 will generally (depending on your configuration) take up 27GB on your disk, but will grow with updates over time. At the time of its release, 10 needed 20GB, but with years of updates, it now takes up about 32GB of space.

Q: What can run Windows 11?

A: Your basic system requirements: 1GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, and 64GB storage, with the necessity for a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) Security Chip  and Secure Boot capability, but those have been standard on most PCs for the last 6 or 7 years. In order to support 11, your CPU (Central Processing Unit) will need to be fairly current – within the last 4 years or so. Note the 4GB RAM: Many older computers came with 2GB RAM as a standard which has become insufficient over time. Many other factors have required the upgrade to 4GB, so this is nothing unusual.

Q: Will Windows 11 be faster than Windows 10?

A:  While most business users will perhaps notice a slight improvement in speed, the happiest audience for speed will be Gamers. Much of the speed improvements in 11 favor Gaming.

Q: Can i3 run Windows 11?

A: According to Microsoft, for Intel Core products, Windows 11 should only run on processors starting with the ‘Coffee Lake’ family such as the i3-8300.

For AMD processors, the starting point is the Ryzen 2000 series.