Windows 11: What to Expect

Turns out, the rumors are not true. Windows 10, conceived as SaaS, is not destined to remain the “last version of Windows.” In what seems to be a (mostly) refreshing departure from Microsoft’s tone-deaf game of OS disaster leapfrog, big and welcome changes are coming! Windows 10 will not reach its end of life until late 2025, but proactive IT departments are rightly preparing for the changes to come. Today, we explore highlights of the coming changes and what they mean for users and IT departments alike.

A free upgrade for current Windows 10 users, the most striking result with a “Windows 11” Google search is the new clean design where frosted glass and rounded window corners abound; but most of Microsoft’s work has been on the backend. For every fresh, aesthetic change are two or three functional changes to increase security and efficiency.

The start menu takes center stage by staging itself and your pinned programs to the center of the taskbar. The “Metro” style app tiles are replaced with a simpler throwback design most users are likely to love.

Window management gets a functional and aesthetic change as well. Windows can be arranged on screen more conveniently via the title bar, and app arrangements can be minimized and brought back on screen as if they were a single window. Convenient!

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Perhaps one of the most welcome changes is the overhauled settings menu philosophy. Gone is the unholy union of the coexisting legacy Win32 menus and touch-optimized Windows 10 settings menus. All common settings and system functions are now accessible in one redesigned-from-the-ground-up place. Also, Internet Explorer, no longer the outcast hanging out behind the scenes, is finally put out to pasture to end its (and our) misery. Finally.

Even more unseen but just as welcome are the efficiency gains, faster browsing and Windows Hello biometric responsiveness, and 40% smaller delta updates.

Windows 11 is fully 64 bit (no more 32 bit support), and major updates are slowing from Windows 10’s six-month cycle to an annual schedule.

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Likely its most left-field boast is Android app compatibility. On the surface this seems a logical and convenient feature, but requiring integration with Amazon’s Appstore in lieu of native Microsoft Store support is an odd and inconvenient implementation. Amazon Appstore requirements aside, using many Android apps in Windows is unlikely to be the most inspired way to use them. Unless app developers develop their apps with point-and-click and large touch screen compatibility in mind, many apps are likely to prove frustrating to use in a Windows environment.

This upcoming iteration comes with a fair bit of controversy. It would scarcely feel like a new Windows release without it. To be fair, overall, Windows 11 seems to align with the collective pulse of the Windows user base, but this version comes with its own backlash.

While enterprises are likely to have more wiggle room in terms of device compatibility, controversy currently rages as many current Windows 10 users discover their current hardware — otherwise fully capable to run the OS — will not officially support Windows 11. Microsoft claims security concerns dictate its decision to exclude users without TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 2.0, device encryption (UEFI and secure boot), and VBS (Virtualization-Based Security) support.

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There is legitimacy to Microsoft’s claims, as devices which fit the required security profile reportedly reduce malware infections by 60%. But, whether those claims are true or not, alienating a large portion of the Windows user base is unsurprisingly proving to be a public relations quagmire for the company. Microsoft has been known to change course in light of user scorn. Time will tell if they eventually loosen these requirements prior to official release.

As of the time of this writing, your IT department’s custom tooling, processes, and management workflows should work on Windows 11 as they currently do on Windows 10. Enterprise and volume licensing also remains the same from Windows 10 to 11.

Remember, you are not alone as you consider Windows 11 adoption. ITAdOn can advise or implement an airtight strategy to ensure a smooth and effective transition to the new OS and beyond.

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