Shawn Sanders.png

Shawn Sanders

Client services manager, SimplePower IT

Windows 11 is here, with a fresh new appearance and a slew of new features geared toward streamlining your PC and helping you be more productive, whether you're working from home or at the office.

Here are some features worth noting and our recommendation on when to upgrade:

How to upgrade to Windows 11

Windows 11 is being offered as a free update for eligible Windows 10 PCs and for new PCs. Download the PC Health Check software from Windows.com to see if your current Windows 10 PC qualifies for the free upgrade to Windows 11. Only PCs running Windows 10 Enterprise or Professional will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 11. PC's running Windows 10 Home will need to purchase the upgrade.

Noteworthy features:

New Apple-Inspired Interface: While Windows 11 has some significant new features such as easier virtual desktop creation, widgets, Android app downloads, and a more integrated Microsoft Teams experience, it is important to note that it isn't a complete redesign of Windows 10. The interface in Windows 11 has been revamped, with a centered Start button and taskbar, as well as a cleaner, more Mac-like style.

Virtual Desktops: Windows 11 will make it easier to create separate virtual desktops for each part of your life. You can customize them with differing wallpapers so that you can easily switch between desktops for personal use or work, school, gaming, or anything else. You will be able to scroll to the bottom of your screen and view a slide in the window using your various desktops, allowing you to switch between them with a single click. The experience is similar to that of Windows 10 but will look a bit different.

Widgets: Windows 11 adds Widgets to the interface, like a custom feed powered by AI that slides to show you information like your calendar, weather, your to-do list, and photos. Widgets are similar to the news and interests feature found in a recent Windows 10 update. You can find a button for Widgets in the newly redesigned taskbar. By clicking or tapping, a panel is displayed with a range of widgets from the left side of your screen that gives you the view information that you need.

Integrated teams: Windows 11 also brings Microsoft Teams directly to the operating system, making calls, meetings, and chats with colleagues, family, and friends even easier. Microsoft Teams is now baked into the taskbar. To launch the chat tool, click on the Teams icon, and a pop-up will allow you to choose to call your contacts with message, text, speech, or video. Clicking on the box below the chat screen opens the full version of the Teams.

Android app compatibility: Now Android apps will be built into Windows 11 natively and can be downloaded through the new Microsoft Store through the Amazon app store. This means that you will have to download the Amazon app store to access a multitude of Android-compatible apps. Android apps will be integrated into the Start bar and will appear in the Taskbar.

When to upgrade

SimplePowerIT evaluated the update process and any impacts and has advised our business clients to consider postponing until mid-to-late 2022 to upgrade to Windows 11.

If you own a business, you might want to hold off on upgrading to Windows 11. Windows 11 was released in October, and we recommend allowing the new OS to mature with new security, stability, and driver updates over time.

Another consideration is if your business relies on applications that only run specific operating systems like Windows 10, then you’ll want to make sure that any software you require is compatible with Windows 11 before upgrading.

Shawn Sanders is a client services manager at SimplePowerIT, whose experience includes over a decade working in the IT sector specializing in customer service. He can be reached at (509) 433-7606 or simplepowerit.com.

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