Windows 11 upgrade: Is now the right time to update your Windows environment?

Microsoft’s Windows 11 has now been available for a month, and many users have already made the upgrade. There are a myriad of new features introduced in Windows 11 that have everyone at Cloud Business excited, especially as the operating system is designed for hybrid working. Microsoft will continue to support Windows 10 for another 5 years; however, many organisations are upgrading now to take advantage of these new features. 

With any new update there are many factors to consider before upgrading. In this article we discuss what’s new in Windows 11, the hardware requirements, key considerations and whether your organisation should upgrade now.

What’s new in Windows 11

Productivity and UI enhancements

The most noticeable change between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is the sleek new UI of the operating system. The taskbar has been moved to the centre of the screen and now acts as a dashboard for both applications and widgets.

taskbar windows 11

As the new operating system is designed with hybrid working in mind, Microsoft Teams has been integrated into the desktop. This makes it easier to communicate with colleagues and multitask during meetings. From the taskbar, users can also mute, unmute and start presenting, increasing productivity and limiting technical difficulties whilst in meetings.

Increased security and performance

As the security landscape continues to change, Microsoft has made security a top priority when designing Windows 11. The key change from Windows 10 to 11 is that Windows 11 utilises the zero trust framework, whereby it assumes a breach at all times and has advanced identity and access management features. The increase in security features does come at a cost, as it requires newer hardware with a TPM 2.0 chip to enable the automatic BitLocker encryption. Microsoft has also stated that Windows 11 boots significantly faster than Windows 10 and the operating system uses less energy, which should translate to longer battery life on laptops and tablets.

Hardware requirements for Windows 11

In order to upgrade to Windows 11 the user’s computer must have the following minimum system requirements:

  • A 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster CPU with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB or larger storage device
  • UEFI Secure Boot capable and enabled
  • A Trusted Platform Module version 2.0
  • A 720p display device that is at least 9” diagonally

The three key requirements that not all PCs may not meet are the CPU, UEFI secure boot requirement and the TPM requirement. The only CPUs that are compatible are 8+ generation Intel processors and AMD Ryzen 2000+ series. These chips were made in late 2017 onwards, meaning that if the device was built or purchased before 2017, it will not meet the minimum hardware requirements. Microsoft aims to make it simple to check if users’ hardware will be able to run Windows 11 with their PC Health Check App.

Key considerations

Whenever an organisation upgrades its software or operating systems, there is a period of readjustment whilst users become accustomed to the changes in UI. However, for many businesses that are considering upgrading to Windows 11, the largest concern is the hardware requirements. For businesses that have not upgraded their hardware in the past 4 years, upgrading to Windows 11 would also require upgrading their hardware, which may be result in significant costs. 

Thankfully, as Windows 10 will continue to be supported until 2025, businesses do not need to rush to upgrade their hardware. Another key concern is whether your software and applications are compatible with Windows 11. This includes essential business applications as well as any antivirus, VPNs or endpoint management software.

Should you upgrade to Windows 11?

If your organisation has purchased new devices within the past 4 years, and the hardware is compatible, upgrading to Windows 11 may increase employee productivity and result in a better user experience. However, before you update your operating systems you should ensure that all software and applications are compatible with Windows 11. For organisations that have not recently upgraded their hardware, and do not plan to for another few years, you will need to delay rollout of Windows 11 until new hardware has been purchased. 

Don’t put it off for too long though! You’ll need to upgrade to Windows 11 by 2025, as after that the operating system will no longer be supported and running Windows 10 will be a major security risk.

If you want to find out more about Windows 11 or check if your current work devices meet the minimum hardware requirements, contact us today and we will be happy to help.

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