Microsoft started rolling out Windows 11 on Tuesday.
The company says the new operating system offers several improvements over its predecessor, including faster performance, better multitasking capabilities, and a refreshed design.
MyBroadband has been running preview builds of Windows 11 since the first version launched in the developer channel of the Windows Insider programme in late June 2021.
Our overall experience of the OS has been largely positive.
Slight refinements in design offer a cleaner interface, and multitasking features make window management much more straightforward.
The few niggles we had at the start of the programme seem to have been resolved, and the preview build of the OS now feels just as functional as the latest version of Windows 10.
Microsoft Middle East and Africa consumer category lead Fatih Bor, and Microsoft South Africa modern workplace and security business group lead Colin Erasmus recently spoke to MyBroadband about why consumers should upgrade to Windows 11.
Bor said in his personal experience with the OS, the improved performance and security were standout features.
Erasmus added that accessibility had been greatly improved, with the tuning of touch input, inking, voice control, and contrast making the OS better for school learners in particular.
The pair highlighted several important details around Windows 11. Here is what they said South Africans should know about Microsoft’s new OS.
What are the new features?
On the visual side, Windows 11 boasts a modern design with rounded corners on windows and context menus, while the Start menu is now at the centre of the taskbar by default.
There are also new sounds across the system for startup and various notifications.
For better multitasking, Windows 11 offers Snap Layouts to arrange windows where you want them quickly.
Snap Groups collects your apps so that they can be minimised together when you disconnect from a multi-monitor setup and restored when you re-dock.
Creating and managing multiple desktops is also easier.
Other noteworthy updates include:
- Chat from Microsoft Teams is integrated into the taskbar.
- Widgets provide a new personalised feed powered by AI.
- Enhanced gaming support with DirectX12 Ultimate, DirectStorage, and Auto HDR.
- Redesigned Microsoft Store that is faster to navigate.
- Accessibility improvements are built for and by people with disabilities.
- New developer tools and more open access to the Microsoft Store for developers.
- Optimisations for speed, efficiency, and better experiences with touch, digital pen, and voice input.
Can my PC run it?
Most PCs with processors from the last four years should run Windows 11 without any issues.
Microsoft has prescribed the following minimum requirements for Windows 11:
- 64-bit processor with 1GHz or faster clock speed and two or more cores (Intel 8th gen or AMD Ryzen 2000 series or later)
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage space
- DirectX 12 graphics card with WDDM 2.0 driver
- UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- Trusted Platform Module (TMP) version 2.0
- 9-inch or larger display with 720p resolution, 8 bits per colour channel
- Internet Connection for Windows 11 Home and Windows 11 Home in S mode
You can check if your system is up to scratch by downloading and running Microsoft’s improved PC Health Check App under the Get Ready section of this page.
When can I get it?
Windows 11 will gradually be rolled out to compatible systems over the next few months via Windows Update.
That means some might get the prompt to download it earlier than others.
Microsoft said it plans to have the update available to all compatible PCs by mid-2022.
Bor told MyBroadband that laptops with Windows 11 pre-installed should start becoming available in South Africa at the end of October and early November.
If you are impatient and willing to risk releases less stable than the final builds, you can sign up to the Windows Insider Programme and join the Dev, Beta, or Release Preview channels to get the OS early.
What will it cost?
All genuine copies of Windows 10 can upgrade to Windows 11 for free.
If you are still on Windows 7, you will have to upgrade to Windows 10 first before moving to Windows 11.
As of 3 October 2021, it was still possible to upgrade to Windows 10 for free using the media creation tool to create a bootable Windows 10 installation.
Microsoft said there would be no standalone versions of Windows 11 at launch.
Those users who don’t have a Windows licence yet can buy a copy of Windows 10 and then upgrade to Windows 11 when the update becomes available for their system.