Published: 15 October 2021

There’s much talk in the tech world about the upcoming new Windows 11 Operating System (OS), but what will it really mean for business and consumers?

We take a closer look at the new system and give you the low-down on what it is, how much it costs and, ultimately, is it worth it?

What is Windows 11?
Windows 11 is the new version of the Windows NT operating system developed by Microsoft. It will be the successor to Windows 10 and the first major upgrade for six years. Microsoft claims that Windows 11 is ‘the most secure release yet’ and promises that updates will be 40% smaller.

Windows 11 includes an optimised taskbar, which is compatible with touch as well as mouse devices and it is now renamed the dock. New multitasking features are available through a feature called ‘Snap Layouts’, which lets you display multiple windows across the screen in different formats, not just side-by-side.

There’s a much-improved health check app in the settings, which will make suggestions such as turning down the brightness or changing the power saving mode of the battery. And there’s also improved multi-monitor support that remembers the previous positions of external monitors.

One useful addition is a Windows Update estimated installation time, so you can see how long an update will take before committing to going ahead. Microsoft Teams is also integrated into the dock, so you can easily join in meetings, and the Microsoft Store has had a redesign with better options for managing your purchases, such as mirroring them to your television.

‘Fluent Design’ is the name for the new look and feel of Windows 11, which will mean a more modern and fresh aesthetic, and gaming will be a much bigger focus, with the sluggish Windows 10 Xbox app replaced by a new Game Pass app that enables you to buy, manage and remove games.

When will it be available and what is the cost?
Windows 11 OS will launch from 5 October, 2021 and it will be available as a free update to licensed Windows 10 users, although eligibility will depend on your PC.

The verdict from Lifeline IT
Commented Lifeline IT’s Daniel: “The key change with Windows 11 is that it is a completely new design with a noticeably different look and feel. There will be two versions – home edition and pro-edition. For business the pro edition is best as it has additional tools and security.

“Soon all new computers will come with Windows 11 as standard, but I wouldn’t be rushing to upgrade immediately on your current PC as there may be compatibility issues with the hardware. Unlike Apple, which makes both the hardware and software for its devices, Microsoft only makes the software so the ability to upgrade will very much depend on the kind of computer you have.

“Windows 10 will still be supported up to 2025 so there is no great urgency to upgrade, unless you are buying a new computer or laptop which will probably come with Windows 11 as standard from October.”

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Adam Woolf, Director, Lifeline IT
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