Windows 11: Do or Don’t?

Microsoft has announced that Windows 11 will be released next month. Windows 10 was declared to be “the last version of Windows”, nevertheless MS now has a new version number waiting in the wings.

Windows 11 is a free upgrade for people with a supported computer. However MS has excluded many slightly older but still-functional PCs from getting this upgrade. If your PC is less than two years old, it is likely able to receive the upgrade. But the requirements are quite specific. Ask me if you want to know if your PC will upgrade. The upgrade will be rolled out in stages over several months, so even if your PC is eligible it may not see the upgrade immediately.

What’s new?

The new features in 11 include a new Start Menu, new theme design, rounded corners, new icons, new sounds… It’s all Windows-dressing. Very few productivity-enhancing features are added, unless you count the ability to run Android apps, which is Microsoft’s way of adding features by leveraging another ecosystem entirely. And some useful features are taken away, like opening the task manager from the taskbar context menu (which has been obliterated) or moving the taskbar from the bottom of the display to one side, a very sensible choice on wide-screen monitors.

The 11th version of Windows has the feel of an upgrade for the sake of upgrades. You won’t miss out on any important or useful functionality if you choose to stay on 10 for a while. With the lack of real advancements, and the hardware restrictions, this could as easily just be the next feature upgrade of Windows 10. It’s hard to understand Microsoft’s rationale for a new version number other than as a bid to get some press and stay relevant.

Your options

Some with unsupported computers see the strict hardware requirements as a simple way to avoid the upgrade entirely, and stay on Windows 10. Windows 10 will be supported until mid-October 2025, so this is not necessarily a bad choice. You could get a few more years of use out of your existing PC and then get Windows 11 pre-installed on your new PC in 2025. (Don’t take this too far however, as an old PC will cost you money as well through lost productivity. If your PC is more than four years old, you should consider that a new business PC can pay for itself in as little as a year, not to mention improving your daily life with a more responsive system.)

Others see this upgrade as the right time to finally make the switch away from Microsoft altogether. There are businesses (including my own) that run only Linux or Mac OS. It’s a different world, with a different set of pros and cons, but some find it a more predictable and stable environment in which to work.

So, 10 or 11 or switch? I will be happy to discuss the ramifications of each choice with you, to help you make the best decision for your team. Just reply here!