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Windows 11 on a laptop

Get Ready for Windows 11

Windows 10 will wind down by 2025

When Microsoft announced it would support the new Windows 10 platform for 10 years in 2015, that seemed like a really long time, in computer years at least. With beta versions of Windows 11 already launched, we can expect most new PCs to be loaded with Windows 11 by 2022. 

Systems running Windows 10 can upgrade to 11. However, unlike in the past, upgrades only apply to much newer systems. A lot of individuals and businesses unable to upgrade will need to make some tough decisions before Microsoft stops supporting Windows 10 in 2025.

But wait, didn’t Microsoft say Windows 10 was “the last version of Windows?”
At the time of Windows 10 launch, Microsoft had been discussing the idea of Windows as a service. Windows 10 developers isolated key processes, enabling certain features and components to be updated without a whole new version being launched. This was intended to ease IT management burdens and the learning curve (and related cost) of training for each new Windows release. 

Windows as a Service also fits in with the vision of Satya Nadella, who holds dual titles as chair and CEO of Microsoft. When Nadella came on board, he rallied the company around the mobile first and cloud first strategy, prioritizing Microsoft’s SaaS Cloud platform, Azure. 

Windows as a Service approaches a similar set of advantages to SaaS. With SaaS, users can access sophisticated applications without buying a whole suite of products. Most apps are cloud based, accessible from anywhere, with nothing to download or maintain. This also alleviates compatibility issues between different types of computers and devices.

Windows logo on a laptop

Enter Windows 11
Think for a moment how your phone operates, as a super-fast hub in a computing universe with endless apps. Windows 11 will feature an app store that collaborates with Amazon, including Amazon’s Android app store. You will be able to use both Android and Windows based apps on your PC, essentially turning your computer into a giant phone.  This new environment will keep the best elements of a laptop, including a large screen and keyboard, and processing power to do graphic intensive projects, while becoming faster, with more apps to do tasks.

If you think this move is pushing how we operate PCs closer to cloud computing, you would be right. 

How to determine if a computer can upgrade to Windows 11
The system requirements for Windows 11 are pretty low:

  • 1GHz CPU
  • 4GB RAM 
  • 64GB storage 

If you have a fairly new and somewhat robust computer, these requirements should be no problem. However, you will also need a TPM security chip and Secure Boot capability, which only became standard in the past six years, or even more recently on systems like Microsoft’s own Surface laptops. Also, only certain CPU models will work, from about the last four years. Point being, if you have a PC older than four years, you may have trouble upgrading to Windows 11. If your system doesn’t make the cut, Windows 10 will be supported until 2025, which should give you time to plan a change.

According to Microsoft, new PCs sold today with Windows 10 are upgradable to Windows 11.

The look and feel
I’m tracking developments on Windows 11, but am not ready to pull the trigger on installing it. So, rather than give you a regurgitation of what others have written, I’ll go into more operational depth in a future article. However, from what I am seeing in tech blogs, the interface changes seem logical, and ones I hate seem adjustable. For example, the Windows Start button, traditionally in the lower left corner, is moved to the left center, along with other open apps, but there is a Taskbar Alignment option to put it back in its far left place.

As far as what’s been taken out, I am in full support. Aero Peek (hovering over an app to see open files) and Aero Shake (shaking a window you want to focus which minimizes other windows) probably should not have ever left the drawing board. I have never used them since writing about them when first launched. Oh, and “hey Google, guess what? Cortana isn’t pre-installed on Windows 11.” Yay!

Bottom line, you’ll notice some more streamlined looks, some useful tools and performance enhancements. So far, no red flags other than we will all be living and working in the cloud soon.

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