Microsoft has officially unveiled its new generation Windows 11 operating system which will be a free upgrade for Windows 10 users.
However, it comes with a minimum hardware requirement of a 64-bit CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. This marks the end of Windows support for older 32-bit hardware platforms, although it will continue to run 32-bit software.
The quickest way to see whether your system can incorporate Windows 11 is to download Microsoft’s PC Health App, which will automatically tell you if your specs and settings are ready for the new OS.
Internet connection and Microsoft accounts: Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account to complete device setup on first use. Switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S mode also requires internet connectivity. For all Windows 11 editions, internet access is required to perform updates and to download and take advantage of some features. A Microsoft account is required for some features.
Windows 11 has debuted nearly six years after the release of Windows 10 and comes with a drastic redesign, ranging from an all-new boot screen to a centrally-placed Start menu and upgraded widgets. The upgrade is part of Microsoft’s move to take on rivals such as macOS and Chrome OS.
Windows 11 new features
The new interface starts with a fresh setup screen and there are rounded corners on menus and windows that resemble the recent iPadOS release. The Start menu which was in the left bottom corner has been moved to the centre, to provide a modern touch.
The transition of the Start menu also brings all the default icons such as Edge and File Explorer to the centre. This new positioning makes Windows 11 more familiar to people who use macOS and Chrome OS. You can, however, change the position and bring the Start button to the left by going into its settings.
The updated Start menu also doesn't include any Live Tiles that were a part of the menu in Windows 10 instead there are some recommended apps at the bottom. There is a dedicated search button next to the Start menu to let users search across apps and preloaded functions.
Windows 11 also comes with new sounds and alerts along with an updated widgets experience. Widgets can brought on front by swiping from the left of the screen or can be placed full screen. You're provided with the options to rearrange widgets or resize them. You can also add or remove your widgets to receive the latest news or weather updates.
For an enhanced multitasking experience, the maximize button now lets you split the active screens between multiple areas of the desktop. Microsoft calls this new experience Snap Layouts. These layouts let you simultaneously open multiple different screens on your computer just by hovering your mouse over the maximize button.
Windows 11 also comes with an improved touch keyboard that includes GIFs integration from Tenor. There are also preloaded virtual keyboards that can be placed anywhere on the screen. Users can additionally use voice dictation support throughout the system. There are also options such as voice typing and voice commands to ease your typing. The new operating system also includes gesture writing support. Several interface-level tweaks have been included as well to enable an improved touch experience.
Windows 11 improves the experience for people using multiple monitors. This is useful in the new work-from-home culture. Microsoft has also integrated its collaboration platform Teams within Windows 11 and added a universal mute and unmute function to make virtual calls easier. Similarly, there is a Desktop Share feature to let users share their windows with people connected over a virtual meeting.
Microsoft has enhanced performance for Chromium-based browsers. Further, there are specific enhancements for Microsoft Edge, including improved support for accessing multiple tabs and for machines with limited resources. The Edge browser on Windows 11 also comes with vertical tab support.
Games get boost
Windows 11 also incorporates significant changes for PC gamers. These include support for Auto HDR , DirectX 12 Ultimate and an xCloud integration to enable cloud gaming. Besides , there is Xbox Game Pass access for playing a list of popular games.
Microsoft has also upgraded its preloaded app store Microsoft Store on Windows 11 with new search capabilities.
Microsoft Store has a revamped Entertainment tab to access the latest media content ranging from movies and TV shows and extending across all major streaming services. The content you have on your Windows 11 device can also be wirelessly cast to a smart TV.
Microsoft Store has integrated the Amazon Appstore to let Windows 11 users get Android apps directly on their computers. Further, Windows developers have been provided with the ability to have their apps available through the Microsoft Store.
Windows 11 has also included various behind-the-scenes updates to deliver a faster experience. Microsoft claimed that the new operating system will receive 40 percent smaller Windows updates and those will run in the background to provide a seamless experience to users at the front end. The new version is also touted to deliver better battery life on mobile devices.