There’s nothing quite as exciting for CN as a new Microsoft Windows OS update! We’ve enjoyed getting acquainted with Windows 10 these past few years and look forward to the launch of this new operating system on October 5, 2021!
Windows 10 has experienced incredible success and received positive feedback, with over 1.3 billion active installations—300 million of those being added from 2020 to 2021.
But now it’s time to innovate and more forward! While we wait to test the product out, here’s everything you (and your SMB) need to know before its arrival. Notable features include: multiple desktops, tablet mode more similar to desktop mode, featuring Android Apps, improved settings, and improved security features.
Our friends at Microsoft dive into the what, when, why and how of Windows 11…
Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer, Windows + Devices shared: “At a time when the PC is playing a more central role in our lives, Windows 11 is designed to bring you closer to what you love. Windows has always existed to be a stage for the world’s innovation. It’s been the backbone of global businesses and where scrappy startups became household names. The web was born and grew up on Windows. It’s the place where many of us wrote our first email, played our first PC game and wrote our first line of code. Windows is the place people go to create, to connect, to learn and to achieve – a platform over a billion people today rely on.
The responsibility of designing for that many people is one we don’t take lightly. The past 18 months brought an incredible shift in how we used our PCs; we went from fitting the PC into our lives to trying to fit our whole lives into the PC. Our devices weren’t just where we went for meetings, classes and to get things done, but where we came to play games with friends, binge watch our favorite shows and, perhaps most meaningfully, connect with one another. In the process we found ourselves recreating the office banter, the hallway chatter, workouts, happy hours and holiday celebrations – digitally.
What was so powerful was the shift in the PC we saw and felt – from something practical and functional to something personal and emotional. This is what inspired us as we were building the next generation of Windows. To build you a place that feels familiar, where you can create, learn, play and most importantly, connect in all new ways. Today, I am humbled and excited to introduce you to Windows 11, the Windows that brings you closer to what you love.”
On October 5, 2021, the free upgrade to Windows 11 will begin rolling out to eligible Windows 10 PCs and PCs that come pre-loaded with Windows 11 will start to become available for purchase. However, you don’t need to upgrade immediately if you choose not to. To check if your current Windows 10 PC is eligible for the free upgrade to Windows 11, visit Windows.com to download the PC Health Check app.
“If you want to be one of the first to kick the tires of the next version of Windows, sign up for the Windows Insider program. Windows 11 has different hardware requirements, and you can read about them in this Microsoft blog on the Insider program for Windows 11. A build for the new OS will be available next week for testing, but all the features won’t appear till the holiday shopping season. The good news for those running Windows 10? Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for them.” PC Mag
Redesigned for productivity, creativity and ease: We’ve simplified the design and user experience to empower your productivity and inspire your creativity. It’s modern, fresh, clean and beautiful. From the new Start button and taskbar to each sound, font and icon, everything was done intentionally to put you in control and bring a sense of calm and ease. We put Start at the center and made it easier to quickly find what you need. Start utilizes the power of the cloud and Microsoft 365 to show you your recent files no matter what platform or device you were viewing them on earlier, even if it was on an Android or iOS device.
Windows has always been about helping you work how you want, by offering flexibility of multiple windows and the ability to snap apps side by side. New in Windows 11, we’re introducing Snap Layouts, Snap Groups and Desktops to provide an even more powerful way to multitask and stay on top of what you need to get done. These are new features designed to help you organize your windows and optimize your screen real estate so you can see what you need just the way you want in a layout that’s visually clean. You can also create separate Desktops for each part of your life and customize them to your liking – imagine having a Desktop for work, gaming or school.
A faster way to connect to the people you care about: Another critical part of bringing you closer to what you love is bringing you closer to the people you love. The last 18 months drove new behavior for how we create meaningful connections with people digitally. Even as we start to return to more in-person interaction, we want to continue to make it easy for people to stay close with each other no matter where they are. And we don’t want the device or platform you’re on to be a barrier.
With Windows 11, we’re excited to introduce Chat from Microsoft Teams integrated in the taskbar. Now you can instantly connect through text, chat, voice or video with all of your personal contacts, anywhere, no matter the platform or device they’re on, across Windows, Android or iOS. If the person you’re connecting to on the other end hasn’t downloaded the Teams app, you can still connect with them via two-way SMS. Windows 11 also gives you a more natural way to connect with friends and family through Teams, allowing you to instantly mute and unmute, or start presenting directly from the taskbar.
A faster way to get the information you care about: Windows 11 brings you closer to the news and information you care about faster with Widgets – a new personalized feed powered by AI and best-in-class browser performance from Microsoft Edge. Even when we’re at our most focused and creative we still need breaks – a moment to check in with the outside world or give ourselves a mental reset. Today, we often pick up our phones to check the news, weather or notifications. Now, you can open a similarly curated view directly from your desktop. When you open your personalized feed it slides across your screen like a sheet of glass so it doesn’t disrupt what you’re doing.
An all-new Microsoft Store where your favorite apps and entertainment come together: The new Microsoft Store is your single trusted location for apps and content to watch, create, play, work and learn. It’s been rebuilt for speed and with an all-new design that is beautiful and simple to use. Not only will we bring you more apps than ever before, we’re also making all content – apps, games, shows, movies – easier to search for and discover with curated stories and collections. We’re excited to soon be welcoming leading first and third-party apps like Microsoft Teams, Visual Studio, Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, Zoom and Canva to the Microsoft Store – all offering incredible experiences to entertain, inspire and connect you. When you download an app from the Store you have the peace of mind of knowing it’s been tested for security and family safety.
We’re also pumped to announce that we are bringing Android apps to Windows for the first time. Starting later this year, people will be able to discover Android apps in the Microsoft Store and download them through the Amazon Appstore – imagine recording and posting a video from TikTok or using Khan Academy Kids for virtual learning right from your PC. We’ll have more to share about this experience in the coming months. We look forward to this partnership with Amazon and Intel using their Intel Bridge technology.
Faster, more secure and familiar for IT: For IT, Windows 11 is built on the consistent, compatible and familiar Windows 10 foundation you know. You’ll plan for, prepare and deploy Windows 11 just as you do today with Windows 10. Upgrading to Windows 11 will be like taking a Windows 10 update. The familiar management experiences you have in place today – like Microsoft Endpoint Manager, cloud configuration, Windows Update for Business and Autopilot – will support your environment of tomorrow as you integrate Windows 11 into your estate.
Just as with Windows 10, we are deeply committed to app compatibility, which is a core design tenet of Windows 11. We stand behind our promise that your applications will work on Windows 11 with App Assure, a service that helps customers with 150 or more users fix any app issues they might run into at no additional cost.
Windows 11 is also secure by design, with new built-in security technologies that will add protection from the chip to the cloud, while enabling productivity and new experiences. Windows 11 provides a Zero Trust-ready operating system to protect data and access across devices. We have worked closely with our OEM and silicon partners to raise security baselines to meet the needs of the evolving threat landscape and the new hybrid work world. You can learn more about Windows 11 as the operating system for hybrid work and learning in the Microsoft 365 blog.