What you need to know and new features

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Windows version 11

Microsoft has released Windows 11 worldwide and is now deploying it through Windows Update to devices with compatible hardware and the latest updates.

In August, Microsoft announced that Windows 11 would be released on October 5, 2021. While it might appear that they are rolling out the new operating system a day earlier, Microsoft is using a sun-tracking approach for the release.

This approach means Windows 11 launches worldwide in early October 5, such as regions of New Zealand and Australia.

How to get Windows 11

Windows 10 users can upgrade to Windows 11 for free now through Windows Update as long as their device has compatible hardware. Devices will also need to be running Windows 10 2004 and later and have at least the September 14, 2021 updates installed.

“We will begin offering the upgrade to new eligible devices first. Then, as with previous deployments, we will study device health data and other signals to determine the pace at which Windows 11 is delivered through Windows Update. Microsoft explained in a new help document.

To upgrade to Windows 11, simply open Settings > Update and security > Windows Update and select Check for updates. If Windows 11 is available for your device, it will be offered as an optional update as shown below.

Windows 11 is offered through Windows Update.
Windows 11 is offered via Windows Update.

As with all versions of Windows, if Microsoft detects a compatibility issue with a particular hardware component in your PC, it will place a backup to prevent the upgrade until it is resolved.

For users with older but compatible hardware, you might have to wait a bit for Windows Update to offer the upgrade, as Microsoft offers it first for devices with newer hardware.

If you want to install it immediately, you can instead use the new “Install Wizard” or the Media Creation Tool to update immediately.

However, for users without a TPM 2.0 process, an older processor, or other incompatible hardware, you will need to perform a few steps before installing it, and you may not receive security updates in the future.

For business administrators, Microsoft has released Windows 11 Deployment Tools and made Windows 11 available through WSUS.

What’s new in Windows 11!

Windows 11 comes with a lot of changes, such as a revamped user interface, Start menu, taskbar, and new features and apps to improve gaming and creativity.

By far the most notable change is a redesigned Start menu which is now centered on the Windows 11 taskbar by default but can be set to left alignment if users so desire.

New Windows 11 Start menu
New Windows 11 Start menu

Other features highlighted include:

  • A new Widgets feature replaces News & Interest and gives you quick access to personalized news, weather forecasts, stock information, and more.
  • A new Snap Layouts feature that lets you quickly organize your open windows the way you like them.
  • Microsoft Teams is now integrated directly into Windows 11, making it easy to chat with your friends and colleagues.
  • DNS over HTTPS support brings encrypted DNS lookups for privacy and to bypass censorship.
  • A new Microsoft Store
  • An optimized file explorer interface.
  • Updated and more organized settings interface.
  • Improved virtual offices.
  • Improved support for HDR games.

This version of Windows 11 does not include the Windows Subsystem for Android, allowing you to launch Android apps right on your desktop. This feature is expected to be released later this year.

Windows 11 also marks the start of the 24-month lifecycle for the Home and Pro editions of Windows 11, with a 36-month lifecycle for the Enterprise and Education editions.

Windows 11 is filled with controversy

While Windows 11 comes with new features and improvements, it comes with its fair share of controversy.

After Microsoft announced the new operating system, they also said that a device would require a newer processor, TPM 2.0 security processor, and secure boot to upgrade to Windows 11.

Since many devices with incompatible hardware run Windows 10 without a problem, many felt it was just Microsoft pushing people to buy new hardware for no good reason.

Microsoft pushed back, explaining that the new processors provide a more reliable crash-free experience and that many of the operating system’s security features are powered by TPM 2.0 processors.

Unfortunately, most of the features we love in Windows 10 are, for some reason, not available in Windows 11.

For example, you can no longer right-click on the Windows 11 taskbar to open a context menu to launch Task Manager, display the desktop, or access various settings.

New Windows 11 taskbar
New Windows 11 taskbar

Another missing feature that is quite annoying is the inability to ungroup open windows for the same app in the taskbar. For example, if you have many Notepad windows open, Windows 11 will only display one Notepad in the taskbar, making it difficult to find the windows you want.

Finally, Windows 11 currently does not allow you to drag a file onto an open taskbar icon to automatically launch that file in the app.

As Microsoft realizes that many people want to get these features back, if you can’t do without them, you might want to put the upgrade on hold for now.

However, if you want to install Windows 11 now, you can use tools like Start11 and StartAllBack (both cost $ 4.99) to restore all of those missing features.

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