Microsoft released Windows 10 operating system six years ago and Windows 10 was supposed to be the last desktop operating system version number from Microsoft. Microsoft delivered new features and updates to Windows 10 via “Feature Updates” which released twice a year in the Spring and Fall. However, these Feature Updates were more like patch updates rather than new and improved features to the operating system and Microsoft found itself slipping behind other operating systems for devices, such as Chrome OS and Mac OS. Prior to the Windows 10 operating systems, Microsoft had released new operating systems about every three years with new and improved features, design, and user interface changes.

Microsoft released Windows 11 operating system on October 5th, 2021. Microsoft will continue to support Windows 10 operating system through October 14th, 2025, so there is no need to rush to upgrade. In fact, depending upon the age of your computer system, you may want to stay with the current operating system on your existing computer system and go to a Windows 11 computer when you replace the old one. Plus, it is always good to wait several months before upgrading to a new operating system. There are typically patches released early in the life of an operating system to fix issues and most hardware and software manufacturers do not have their software programs and hardware drivers compatible for the new operating system. Hardware and software manufacturers release system requirements that outline which operating system is compatible with their products. Check all your software programs system requirements before upgrading to Windows 11 operating system. Additionally, some of the new features that Microsoft announced are not yet integrated into Windows 11 and will take a few months to release into the new operating system.

Microsoft plans to offer rolling upgrades for Windows 11. The newer the computer system, the sooner the free upgrade will be offered. Only Windows 10 computer systems will have a direct upgrade path to Windows 11. There is no direct upgrade path from the Windows 8 operating system. Before considering the upgrade, the computer system’s hardware must meet minimum hardware system requirements. There is a Windows 11 PC Health Check App that checks the computer system and whether it meets the minimum system requirements. Most computer systems within the past 4 to 6 years should meet the minimum requirements.

Minimum Windows 11 Hardware Requirements:

The computer system must be a 1GHz or faster processor with two or more cores and a compatible 64-Bit processor (not 32-Bit). The device must have at least 4GB RAM and 64GB or more of storage. Windows 11 requires an internet connection to receive Feature Updates and a Microsoft Account.

Microsoft has redesigned the user interface and incorporated some Chrome OS look and feel ideas. The addition of rounded corners on windows is like the MacOS. The sound notifications are softer and more subtle than Windows 10.

The Start Button has moved center left of the icons of the programs used on the taskbar. The more programs, the more to the left of center it moves. There is a Taskbar alignment option that allows you to move the Start Button to the far-left corner that users have grown accustomed to in previous Windows versions. If you don’t like the look and feel of Windows 11 operating system, then consider purchasing Stardock Start 11 to restore a classic Windows look.

Microsoft Teams is built into Windows 11, so connecting to others via Chat or Video Calls can now be done right from the desktop and taskbar. If the other party has a different operating system, a link can be sent for them to join the meeting. Searching has changed and can be done right from the Start Menu. Searches can be made across your computer and the internet.

The new Widget board puts items of interest at your fingertips, like a custom dashboard: news feeds, weather, to-dos, and more. Another feature, Windows Hello, is for secure sign-ins with your face or fingerprint and Find My Device can help locate your computer or digital pen through your Microsoft Account. Snap Groups and Snap Layouts provide the ability to organize windows into preset layouts by hovering over the maximize button. The Microsoft Store has been revamped as part of the Windows 11 operating system rollout. For home computer users, there are many new enhancements for gaming.

The release of a new operating system is always exciting for the IT industry. Microsoft has delivered a nice new look and feel to the Windows 11 operating system and some of the new features will be pleasing to all computer users. Just like other operating system releases, it is recommended to wait a few months before implementing the new operating system. It is important to make sure that your software applications and hardware will work properly when you implement Windows 11 on a new computer or install the upgrade on an existing computer.