Microsoft has unveiled Windows 11, which features a major redesign as well as many new features. Windows 11 changes its look with a new Start menu and rounded corners, but also includes many productivity upgrades, including Snap layouts for running multiple apps at once.
Windows 11 also features new widgets to keep you up to date on the latest news, Microsoft Teams integration, and a new Windows Store. In addition, Windows 11 can run Android apps.
Gamers will appreciate the addition of Auto HDR for improved graphics, as well as faster performance for PCs with Direct Storage support. And business users will love being able to dock and undock without losing their space.
When will Windows 11 be released?
Microsoft has announced that Windows 11 will be available for download through the holidays this year, with beta builds going out to Windows Insiders the week beginning June 28, 2021.
You can check if your PC is eligible for the free Windows 11 upgrade by going to Windows.com and downloading the PC Health Check app. Some users won’t wait until the end of the year to get their first crack at Windows 11.
Microsoft plans to deploy an early build of the software update to its Windows Insider program next week. However, this will not be a full build with all Windows 11 features.
What new features will Windows 11 include?
Here are some of the standout new features in Windows 11:
A new, more Mac-like user interface: Windows 11 features a clean design with rounded corners, pastel tones, and a centred Start menu and taskbar.
Integrated Android apps: Android apps are coming to Windows 11 and can be installed from the new Microsoft Store via the Amazon Appstore: (There were several ways to access Android apps on Windows 10, even if you had a Samsung Galaxy phone, but this makes it native).
Widgets: While they’ve been around for a while (remember desktop gadgets on Windows Vista?), including a recent Windows 10 update, you can now access and personalize widgets directly from the taskbar to see what you want. Microsoft Teams integration: Teams get a facelift and are integrated directly into the Windows 11 taskbar, making it easier to access (and a bit more like Apple’s FaceTime). You can access Teams from Windows, Mac, Android or iOS.
Xbox technology for better gaming: Windows 11 gets certain features found in Xbox consoles, like Auto HDR and DirectStorage, to improve gaming on your Windows PC.
Better virtual desktop support: With Windows 11, you can set up virtual desktops similar to Macs and switch between multiple desktops at once for personal use, work, school, or play.
Easier transition from monitor to the laptop and better multitasking: The new OS includes features called Snap Groups and Snap Layouts – collections of the apps you use at the same time that are in the taskbar and can appear or be minimized at the same time to make task switching easier. They also allow you to plug and unplug a monitor more easily without losing where your open windows are.
Images of Windows 11 were leaked about a week before the event, so we had an idea of some of the features in advance.
Here’s how to get Windows 10 for free if you’re currently using a licensed and activated copy of Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 Home or Pro:
- Go to the Windows 10 download website.
- Under Create Windows 10 installation media, click Download Tool Now and Run.
- Select Update this PC now, assuming this is the only PC you are updating. (If you are upgrading another computer, select Create installation media for another PC and save the installation files).
- Follow the instructions.
- when the upgrade is complete, go to Settings Update & Security > Activation, and you should see a digital license for Windows 10.
What are the system requirements for Windows 11?
The core system requirements for Windows 11 are not too different from Windows 10, at least in terms of processor, RAM and graphics card. However, there is currently a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 included, which could ruin some upgrade plans.
The full specs are:
- Processor 1 GHz or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or system-on-a-chip (SoC).
- Memory 4 GB RAM
- Memory 64 GB or larger
- System firmware UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TPM Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
- Graphics card DirectX 12 compatible graphics card / WDDM 2.x
- Display >9″ with HD resolution (720p)
- Internet connection Microsoft account and Internet connection required to set up Windows 11 Home
How much will Windows 11 cost?
Microsoft has announced that the new Windows 11 operating system will be available as a free update for licensed Windows 10 users. So those who buy PCs today will be eligible for a free upgrade when Windows 11 launches for the holidays.