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Windows 11: What’s In It and What It Means for Your Business

Windows 11 is coming soon. Despite a widespread belief that Windows 10 would be the last iteration of the world’s most popular operating system (OS), Microsoft has announced that the full version of Windows 11 will be available for the 2021 holiday season. A beta version will also be available in July, and an Insider Preview build is already available for those impatient to get a glimpse of the latest OS. To encourage Windows 11 adoption, Microsoft is making the software available as a free upgrade to Windows 10 for users whose hardware meets the OS’ operating requirements. The company also plans to sell PCs with Windows pre-installed. And as with previous Windows launches, Microsoft will eventually discontinue support of the current version. Windows 10 will no longer be updated or supported starting in 2025.

Greater Customization

While many businesses resist upgrading their OS, Windows 11 offers several compelling reasons to upgrade. The OS is designed to maximize productivity, a core operating tenet that bleeds through its design. The Start button and key apps you use will now be found in the center of your screen, rather than at the bottom. No more rooting around for the applications you use each day. Now you’ll see them front and center.

Further, Microsoft wants you to be able to quickly and easily access those files no matter what device you’re using.  Snap Layouts and Snap Groups allow you to collect your oft-used applications and access them exactly as you have them configured on multiple devices. Utilizing features like Desktops enables you to customize how you arrange your icons for easy access. And you can establish multiple Desktops, each arranged as you like to meet all of your professional and personal preferences.

Easier Communication

The pandemic put a premium on videoconferencing. And while Microsoft Teams found purchase among many businesses for its capacity and security, it was not as seamlessly integrated into Microsoft’s environment as, say, FaceTime is to Apple’s. That’s changing with Windows 11. The new OS won’t require separate downloads or add-ins. Instead, Teams will be easily accessible to Windows 11 users, with its Chat function built into your taskbar. You’ll be able to message and videoconference with your contacts with the click of an icon, no matter whether they’re also using Windows 11 or an iOS or Android operating system. And if they haven’t downloaded Teams, you can still text message your contacts using the app.

More Information Access

Windows 11 will also provide users with an AI-powered news feed that delivers the content you care about to you in an accessible, customizable, and unobtrusive manner. Microsoft plans to present news to you through a screen overlay so that it does not disrupt your open apps and documents. Further, Windows 11 will make greater use of Widgets through which you can receive the updates and information you prefer. If you’d love to be able to toggle back and forth between news, weather, and notifications, Windows 11 Widgets will let you do so easily without disrupting your workflow.

Enhanced Graphics

With Windows 11, Microsoft is making a big bet on gaming. Leveraging their Xbox experience, the company is building into their new OS the same high-quality graphics capability found in their gaming systems. Windows 11 will feature Auto HDR, which will provide a wider range of colors, DirectStorage for more rapid load times, and DirectX 12 Ultimate, which renders detailed graphics at high frame rates. While these features are intended for gamers, the enhanced visual display quality will also benefit professionals in creative fields, such as videography and graphic design.

An Improved App Store

The new Microsoft Store promises to provide a more robust collection of apps for you to download and purchase. Microsoft plans to pull in Android apps from the Amazon Appstore and make them accessible to Windows 11 users. It also plans to partner with various third parties like Disney, Adobe, and others to broaden its offerings. To encourage developers to sell their apps in the Microsoft Store, Microsoft is broadening the scope of app types that can be sold within. No matter what framework you’ve used to develop your app, you’ll be able to market it in the new Microsoft Store. With Windows 11, Microsoft will no longer charge developers commission fees on each app download – a significant point of contention for developers selling their apps on the Apple App Store. Further, the company will not force developers to use Microsoft Pay for payment processing. Developers will be able to use the e-commerce system of their choice, providing them with maximum flexibility.

Greater Security

Microsoft has long focused on cybersecurity, and Windows 11 will retain this focus. The OS will be based on Zero-Trust principles to help you ensure the security of your network and devices. Windows 11’s hardware requirements (which are aligned with Windows 11’s new OS security standards)  include an Intel Core processor no older than 2017 or AMD Zen 2 processors no older than 2019. 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of hard drive storage are also prerequisites, as is a Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) chip. TPM 2.0 chips have been installed in Microsoft hardware since 2016, but not all devices actively use them. They help protect sensitive data and serve as a defense against malware and ransomware. So far, Microsoft has indicated that these requirements are absolute, but there’s some speculation that Windows 11 might be able to be run on devices using TPM 1.2 chips.

For businesses looking to upgrade to Windows 11, the new OS may require a substantial hardware upgrade, but improved productivity may offset that cost somewhat. Moreover, when Microsoft stops supporting Windows 10, including patching newfound OS security vulnerabilities, businesses will be at considerably greater risk of hackers penetrating their network and compromising their systems. Though Windows 11 threatens to leave a generation of PCs at heightened risk of cyberattack, the costs of not switching may prove catastrophic to businesses, organizations, and governments.

If you’re planning to upgrade to Windows 11 but need some support, give us a call. Or, if you’re not sure whether upgrading is worth it and would like more information, we at LAN Infotech are ready to help you evaluate your options. We’re the top-ranked IT support services firm in South Florida and a trusted Microsoft partner. We’ll help you and your team assess your current IT infrastructure and needs and make the right decision for your firm. Contact us today to prepare your business for Windows 11.