5 Key Things to Know about Microsoft Windows 11

Now that the launch of Microsoft Windows 11 is several months in, we explore how it encourages collaboration and compares to Windows 10. With this in mind, we also walk through the things you should plan for in rolling out an upgrade.

A New, yet Consistent Experience

Despite popular belief, Windows 11 is not just a rebrand of Windows 10, but neither is it a complete new build. It sits somewhere in the middle as even Microsoft considers it to be an evolution of Window 10. But what does this mean for businesses and schools? Well, even though Windows 11 has a fresh look, with quite a different start-up function, there’s enough similarity to provide a familiar experience.

Crucially, Windows 11 provides enhanced security and management features to suit today’s hybrid workforces.

Windows 11 & Increased Efficiency

If you’re familiar with the screen layout and functionality of a Mac, you’ll like Windows 11. The Start Menus are in the middle of the screen rather than to the left and there’s a more sophisticated feel to the user interface.

There are some useful new features too such as Snap Assist that allows you to select from lots of different style options to give you more control over how your information appears on screen. This is particularly useful if you’re working from home and only have one monitor. Essentially, you can split your screen into different segments instead of having rows of windows appearing one after the other.

Another handy feature is the introduction of Widgets that allow you to personalise your Windows 11 operating system. For instance, you may need to observe the latest stock market figures or keep on top of the weather – there are widgets for these!

The next new feature is Integrated Voice, dictation software that allows you to speak directly into your Outlook documents without a third-party app. However, it’s not completely failproof. You may need to change the content a little but it’s quite a useful feature for when you’re working on the go.

Enhanced Collaboration

The collaborative benefits of Windows 11 are quite easy to see. With Windows 11, you do not have to install Microsoft Teams as it’s included within the basic install. This makes it easier for your employees to access and share applications within virtual Teams meetings.

For example, if you’re in a Teams meeting, and you want to share a Microsoft document, it’s really easy. You click on the ‘Share this Window’ button at the bottom of the screen so that everyone can see the application at the same time.

Here, Microsoft’s intention is to remove some of the friction we’ve all experienced with virtual meetings over the past couple of years. If you think about it, how many times have you been on a Teams call where someone was muted and shouldn’t have been and vice versa? Well, Windows 11 makes it easier to see when you’re muted (the mute button is now on the bottom right of the screen).

Better IT Security

Although it’s far from a complete IT Security Solution, we must say that one of the main benefits of Windows 11 is enhanced security. Helpfully, Windows 11 includes baseline systems to business users to protect against and block threats.

So what are these improved IT security features?

The Trusted Platform Module

Windows 11 comes with a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM 2.0) As a tamper-resistant technology, TPM creates and stores cryptographic keys that cannot be interfered with to help protect encryption keys, user credentials and other sensitive data.

Virtualisation-based Security

Windows 11 enhances Virtualisation-based Security to make the operating system more secure by making Kernel data memory read-only. Essentially, this helps to protect Windows Kernel Drivers from being attacked and tampered with.

Application Guard

Another helpful security feature for anyone using Microsoft Edge in Microsoft 365, is Application Guard. As a protection sandbox for Edge, Application Guard uses isolation, virtualisation, as well as untrusted website and document classifications to limit the damage that malicious websites and content can cause.

A key point to note though is that the IT Security features within Windows 11 are no replacement for a bespoke IT Security Solution that also takes account of your continuity needs.

Windows 11 Familiar Functionality

If you’re familiar with Windows 10, you’ll find that Windows 11 offers the same functionality, albeit with a few extra features. So your staff shouldn’t need any training.

However, you still need to give some thought as to when you move over to Windows 11 and in what order. Likewise, you must also be 100% confident that your applications will continue to work. Ninety-eight percent of the time, the applications you use in Windows 10 will be compatible with Windows 11, but there have been cases where third-party software has struggled. Thankfully, now that Microsoft is several months into its launch, many of these have been resolved.

What must you do to prepare for a Windows 11 upgrade?

Whether you’ve just got a few devices to upgrade to Windows 11 or entire departments, the following steps are good to put in place:

  • Make a hardware inventory. If you haven’t already got a hardware inventory, now’s a good excuse to create one as Windows 11 may not be compatible with some older PCs and laptops.
  • Update hardware. You may decide to upgrade older, non-compatible devices where possible and then upgrade to Windows 11 if it is economical to do so. Or you may decide it’s more cost effective to purchase new devices that come pre-loaded with Windows 11.
  • Test your applications. Before ploughing ahead with a company-wide upgrade, it’s often a good idea to test a smaller number of devices to make sure that your applications work as expected in Windows 11.
  • Stagger the rollout. Since Windows 10 is compatible with Windows 11, you can stagger upgrades as the systems work side by side.

The most important thing to remember is to do what’s best for your organisation. Yes, the enhanced features within Windows 11 are good. However, you shouldn’t hurry an operation system rollout. After all, Microsoft has committed to continue supporting Windows 10 until at least 2025.

How can we help?

We’ll take away all the hassle for you and produce a sensible Windows 11 upgrade plan. Our technicians will:

  • Review your existing hardware for device compatibility
  • Identify which of your software vendors (if not already known to us) support Windows 11
  • Test and review your existing applications to discover which ones are supported
  • Provide new devices (if required) with Windows 11 pre-installed (we can procure all devices at a highly competitive cost)

Having already upgraded many client devices to Windows 11, our process is seamless. So, if you’re looking to upgrade this financial year, please reach out to us. We’re happy to help.