This week, Microsoft released Windows 11, its new operating system. The redesigned software is a free upgrade with better facial recognition technology, tighter integration with desktop software like Teams, and improved gaming features. It can also run Android apps.
“Windows 11 is an iterative upgrade, not a revolution, with a lot of really useful features” Daniel Rubino, editor of Windows Central, told CBS MoneyWatch in a Twitter DM.
Here’s what you need to know about the new upgrade.
Can my computer run Windows 11?
Windows 11 is a free download but may not work on all computers. Microsoft recommends that computers have at least a 1Ghz processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage, but an optimal experience will require a lot more power and dedicated hardware. A free tool released by Microsoft called PC Health Check (available for download here) helps determine if your computer can run the new software.
Strict system requirements, while impractical, provide a better user experience in the long run, Rubino said, noting that “Windows 11 is more stable due to new hardware requirements focused on security and reliability with fewer updates. frequent ”.
Many of the changes in Windows 11 are cosmetic, intended to make the operating system less cluttered and more accessible. Pop colors and icons look modern and minimalist. New, well-displayed information widgets replace the clutter of dynamic Start menu tiles in Windows 10. Translucent menus, a streamlined taskbar, and a centered Start menu improve access to other Microsoft applications, such as Office and Game Pass.
“The redesign is supposed to make the operating system more functional,” Rubino said.
Windows Hello is Microsoft’s facial recognition software that unlocks your computer and phone by scanning your face. When linked with Microsoft’s two-factor authentication app, Hello generates a security key that allows users to sign in to apps and services without a password. The technology isn’t new but, according to the company, it has been greatly improved by deep integration with Windows 11.
Windows Hello is also integrated with the human presence detection systems that come with most new laptops. HDP can lock and unlock a PC based on the physical presence of an approved user. Windows 11 is better suited to handling AI systems that allow HDP technology to learn and adapt to changes in a user’s appearance.
“If you grow a beard or wear glasses, the operating system is now more likely to recognize you without needing to ‘improve’ it manually,” Rubino said. “We are finding that this technology is widely adopted on most new PCs, including all-in-one desktops. [HDP] is still a major determining factor between Apple and MS because Apple does not (yet) use it in MacBooks, “he said.
With more than a quarter of a billion monthly active users, Microsoft’s team messaging app, Teams, has seen significant growth during the pandemic. The collaboration app’s voice and communication capabilities are built into Windows 11 as well as Microsoft’s Office apps.
Office applications like Word have received a number of collaboration-focused updates, such as better version control and the ability to co-author documents. Each is deeply integrated with Windows 11 and more accessible across the entire operating system.
Windows 11 also introduces several features that improve multitasking. Layouts and snapshot groups make it easy to organize and switch between applications. File Explorer, meanwhile, has been revamped to make navigating the operating system less confusing.
The PC gaming market surged during the pandemic – exacerbating a– and is expected to be worth $ 47 billion by 2025. Microsoft’s PC gaming strategy revolves around Xbox Game Pass, its Netflix-style game subscription service integrated through the new operating system. The tech giant has invested heavily in exclusive content for the service, including its recent acquisition of ZeniMax Media, the company that owns the Doom franchise, for $ 7.5 billion.
Of course, it’s also easy to run other game stores like Valve’s Steam, Nvidia’s Epic Game Store, and Nvidia’s GeForce Now on Windows 11.
Windows Android Update
In early 2022, an update to Windows 11 will allow users to install more than 500,000 Android apps from the Amazon App Store, including Spotify, Disney +, and TikTok. By allowing Android apps on Windows 11, Microsoft hopes to give consumers more options and developers to a wider audience.
Should you upgrade to Windows 11 today?
Windows 11 is an incremental upgrade that does not introduce revolutionary changes. If you’ve bought a PC recently, stick with Windows 10 – it’s stable, functional, and capable.
Upgrade to Windows 11 only if you are ready to tolerate a few bugs and have a machine up and running. Microsoft’s new operating system is a new take on familiar software.