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4 min read

Your Windows 11 Checklist

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Windows 11 is scheduled to be released in about a month. We downloaded a preview release, and we are pretty impressed. 

The new Microsoft operating system looks really sleek. It’s curvy and modern looking and a definite upgrade on the familiar Windows 10. There are lots of new features. Oh, and you can use Android apps on your PC for the first time. 

You can buy Windows 11 starting October 5th. Or wait for a free upgrade sometime next year. It is likely to be pre-installed if you buy a new machine in late 2021. However, there’s a “but.” Windows 11 won’t run on all PCs. 

There’s a strict list of hardware requirements. Let me get slightly technical for a second. To run Windows 11, your PC must have: 

  • A 1GHz, 64-bit processor with two or more cores 
  • At least 4GB of RAM 
  • At a minimum of 64GB of free disk space 
  • A Trusted Platform Model (TPM) chip, which is a security chip 

Don't worry if you didn't understand any of that. It just means you need a modern machine. If you don't have someone to talk to about it, let's talk. 

What’s new in the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)?

There are significant UI tweaks. Windows 11 is more intuitive and personalized.  Plus, the icons have been updated with rounded corners and vibrant colors. 

The Start button has been moved to the center. Depressing it brings up all recent files, including the ones you accessed on iOS and Android! It’s quicker to find what you need.

Read: Small Business Increase Productivity with OneNote

Run Android apps on Windows

Windows 11 users will be able to discover Android apps in the Microsoft Store. Users can download the apps from the Amazon Appstore, and it includes a Windows Subsystem for Android. This will allow Android apps to run on Windows.

Integrated Teams for easier communication

Communication has been consolidated through Microsoft Teams. The Taskbar has integrated Chat from Teams. You can reply directly inline when a Teams notification pops up. You can also accept or decline chats and calls from the popup.

Read: Introducing the New Approvals App in Microsoft Teams

Widgets for Personalized Content

Widgets is an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered personalized feed. It slides out to show you news, weather, recently viewed photos, a calendar, and so on. You can customize the content in the Widgets panel and view it full size.

Separate virtual desktops

Use Snap Groups, Layouts, and Desktops to create distinct desktops for home, work, or school, and easily switch between them.

Read: Embracing the New Remote Work Trend? Here’s How to Prepare Your Network

Updated apps

Many familiar apps have received an overhaul. For example, the Snipping Tool includes new shortcuts, richer editing, and a new Settings page. The Calculator app has a new app theme setting and has been rewritten in C#. Mail and Calendar have new visual styles, and File Explorer has been revamped. 

Read: 10 Office 365 Features You Need For Work

A superior experience for gamers

Games will look much better. Auto High Dynamic Range (HDR) will add to the depth and richness of images. DirectStorage, a new tech, will load and render games at lightning speeds. The inbuilt Xbox app provides easy access to Game Pass. Membership in Game Pass (not bundled) will let you play over 100 high-quality PC games.

What’s in it for the differently-abled?

Microsoft claims that Windows 11 is the most inclusively designed version yet. 

The sight-impaired can enjoy new sound schemes. New Contrast Schemes make apps and games easier to see.

Microsoft has redesigned Closed Captioning schemes to make them easier to read, helping those who are hard of hearing or work in noisy environments.

Windows Voice Typing uses AI to recognize speech. It then transcribes the speech with punctuations.

Overall, accessibility in Windows 11 works in more scenarios. The Accessibility settings are easier to use, and the experience is seamless.

A more useful Microsoft Store

The current selection of apps in the Microsoft Store is rather anemic. Microsoft has redesigned the Store to make it more attractive to App and game developers. Developers can publish Apps built with any framework or technology. Users will be able to install apps from a Microsoft Store popup in the browser.

Read: Is Your Business a Sitting Duck

How much will Windows 11 cost?

Prices for retail editions of Windows 11 are expected to be similar to that of Windows 10. PCs running a licensed version of Windows 10 can upgrade for free.

Read: Introducing the New Approvals App in Microsoft Teams

Windows 11: to upgrade or not

We would suggest holding off for a bit. This will allow time for fixing all major bugs.  Meanwhile, you can make sure that your key apps will work with the upgrade. Note that Microsoft will continue to support Windows 10 till October 2025.

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