After six years of service, Windows 10 has a successor. Microsoft announced its newest operating system, Windows 11, earlier this summer. It’s set to roll out this holiday season through 2022. As that timeframe draws closer, you may start questioning whether your business should upgrade or not. Like its predecessor, Windows 11 will come as a free update for any current Windows users. Still, just because it comes with no upfront financial costs doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a smooth transition. Sometimes upgrades can be disruptive and take a few updates before they run as they should. Given these concerns, you may wonder if you should upgrade now or wait until Microsoft no longer supports Windows 10. Here’s a closer look at the new OS to help make a decision. Windows 11 features The most noticeable difference between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is the UI. The taskbar and start menu are now in the center of the screen, though users can move them back to the side if they want. Overall, the UI is more simplistic, similar to macOS, intending to facilitate higher productivity. Windows 11 comes with some helpful under-the-hood upgrades, too. The OS has improved multitasking support, letting you group windows and tile them to fit your preferences. It’ll also remember how you set up your windows between multiple monitors. Tablet mode is receiving an upgrade with Windows 11 as well, featuring new gestures and making things easier to touch when in it. Windows 11’s app store will also support Android apps, which tablet users may find helpful. The new OS also features some security upgrades like built-in encryption, hardware-based isolation and malware prevention. You should note that a few features are leaving in Windows 11, too. Cortana, Windows Timeline, Internet Explorer and the Math Input panel will all go with Windows 10. Skype, OneNote, Paint3D and 3D viewer won’t come pre-installed anymore, though you can still get them from the app store. Windows 11 hardware requirements One crucial consideration when deciding whether to upgrade now is Windows 11’s hardware requirements. The update has a few unusual minimum requirements that may require a hardware upgrade for some businesses before they can use it. Most notably, Windows 11 requires Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0, a hardware-based cryptoprocessor. Since many businesses use legacy hardware, many companies’ motherboards may not have this feature. Your computers must also have hardware-based isolation, Secure Boot and Hypervisor Code Integrity built-in and enabled by default. Apart from those features, Windows 11’s system requirements are fairly straightforward and not too demanding. You must have at least 4 gigabytes of RAM, 64 GB of storage and a two-core, 1 GHz processor. Most modern businesses should be able to meet these, but the TPM 2.0 requirement may be an issue. Benefits of upgrading Considering all these factors, a few benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 emerge. The TPM 2.0 and hardware-based isolation requirements, though unusual, indicate a stronger emphasis on security. If early signs hold true, Windows 11 should be a safer OS than Windows 10, although businesses should still take additional precautions. The UI enhancements should also make using Windows 11 a more responsive, fluid experience. If any employees use tablets or multiple monitors often, the new features should be particularly helpful. It may take a little while to adapt to the new system, but it could help businesses become more productive after that. From an IT standpoint, Windows 11 may streamline operations. New tools and apps should make app building a faster, easier experience. Windows 11 will also only update once a year instead of Windows 10’s more frequent, less predictable schedule, making updating easier. Potential concerns Of course, there are a few lingering concerns around upgrading to Windows 11. Any update this large will have a few bugs at the beginning that could make adapting to the new UI challenging. Depending on how significant these are, it could negate the productivity benefits of Windows 11’s new features for your employees. Hardware is another problem some businesses may run into. Many companies may have to upgrade their equipment to support Windows 11, which could mean high costs and considerable disruption. Businesses increasing IT spending in 2021 could help offset this issue, though. Some apps may not be compatible with Windows 11, either, at least not for a while. These issues may cause difficulty for some businesses using legacy software. If your team uses apps Microsoft isn’t supporting in Windows 11, that will be an issue, too. The Final Verdict Most, if not all, of the concerns over Windows 11 apply to software upgrades in their initial stages. Simultaneously, Windows 11 may bring some helpful changes, but these likely won’t be anything game-changing. As a result, it may be best to wait until after the initial release to upgrade. Microsoft will stop supporting Windows 10 in 2025, by which point, you should definitely upgrade. You don’t have to wait that long, but it may be worth it to hold off for a year or so after its release before switching. That way, you have time to prepare and can experience its benefits without the early bugs and glitches. Read more: Lessons on launching a successful startup
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