As we discussed in the July Tech Tips, Windows 11 is coming. Its official release date has been confirmed for 5th October 2021 and for the most part will be replacing Windows 10 on new PCs across the world.
Windows 10, initially touted to be the last ever version of Windows – updating eternally without needing a repurchase like MacOS; will go out of extended support on 14th October 2025 – so some 4 years away. For computers purchased within the last few years this shouldn’t cause any headache, with PCs conforming to the recommended spec for Windows 11 being eligible for a free upgrade; and PCs that don’t meet the recommended spec, realistically already being 4 years old or more, will be supported with Windows 10 until well after their expected useful lifespan.
Windows 11 has a clean refreshed interface with excellent search functionality, anyone used to working with Windows 10 should easily transition to the new interface. The new centralised taskbar (with the Start icon in the middle by default) will be loved or loathed, however on Windows Pro or Enterprise editions this can be moved back to the classic left-hand side if desired.
Microsoft are putting security and performance at the core of the new Windows with their minimum hardware requirements which have evolved slightly since our earlier Tips article. While the underlying requirement for a TPM module and 8th Gen Intel processor largely remain there have been a few limited additional processors added to the supported list (not surprisingly they then allow some previous Microsoft flagship devices to conform to the requirements and get the update automatically).
The requirements will rule out many older machines from an upgrade (these machines will happily keep running Windows 10 which will remain supported) however most newish kit from within the last 3-4 years should cope. Microsoft have however stated (always subject to change unfortunately) that they will no longer block users with older devices installing Windows 11 via a clean install method (effectively wiping the machine and starting from scratch) likely to allow testing, get an idea of the look and feel of the OS. While the processor requirements in these instances will not be an issue, it’s unclear whether the TPM module will still be a block going forward. This also comes with a caveat that these machines may not be eligible for any Microsoft Updates, potentially including security updates or drivers – if this is the case then for a production / business use machine sticking with Windows 10 would be the safest and most secure solution.
Windows 11 is still technically in Beta testing phase until release in October. Tycom have been testing the most recent versions with a raft of software including Tycom probity® payroll, Microsoft’s Office products and all are currently working exactly as they do in Windows 10. Generally, the compatibility between Windows 11 and software that worked in Windows 10 is expected to be very high, adding to the impression this is an evolution rather than revolution – with a new interface and more emphasis on security and stability.