New York – November 11th, 2021 – Stefano Guarnieri, Sergio Matarredona
On October 5th Windows launched its latest operating system, Windows 11.
Since the first release of the Windows operating system, great releases have been followed by lackluster releases, which in turn are followed by great releases. This been a consistent pattern.
The Windows 3.1 release was well received by the PC users, not so much the next release Windows 95. Then again Windows 98 got the users’ support back, at least until Windows ME hit the shelves. The following iteration was Windows XP, literally adored by the computing community by its robustness and feature set. Then Windows Vista went back to hell.
Long story short, Windows 10 is the current iteration of the operating system that meets with the favors of the user base. What can we expect from Windows 11 then? Will it follow the established pattern of successes and failures, or will Microsoft finally break the rule and deliver another sales hit? Let’s find out.
Windows 11: the good
The first improvement that stands out is the change in style. The design looks much more modern, user friendly, and elegant. It is very reminiscent of Apple’s, with the central menu bar and the new style of the tabs. Another feature that is especially useful with teleworking is the Smart Layout. Users can now split their screen into several windows with a much more versatile and multipurpose division, to suit the consumer’s taste.
Widgets are not particularly used, although there will be those who enjoys them. This update includes them, and it can be interesting for those who want to easily see relevant news, weather, etc. This is a technology that, if supported by Athena Systems, Bloomberg, Refinitive, etc., would allow industry users to build their own custom dashboards/monitors by combining components from multiple vendors.
In addition, another thing that also stands out -although it is still early to confirm it- is that Windows 11 seems much more fluid than previous versions. Undoubtedly, they have taken the competition with Apple very seriously with these details.
However, one of the most notable and useful changes is the ability to postpone automatic Windows updates. You can pause them from one to five weeks, and even mark a period of hours in which they do not start. Ideal for those who depend on the computer for work.
Here are some tips on how to take full advantage of the new changes:
– If you hold down on the top bar of a window and shake it, all the other open windows will be minimized.
– From the task manager, you can mark which applications start automatically when Windows starts.
– By right-clicking on your wallpaper and clicking “View”, you can disable the “Show desktop icons” option. To show them again, you just have to do the same.
– To see only the installed applications, without other files, type in the file explorer Shell:AppsFolder.
– By pressing the Windows key and typing any phrase followed by “in English” – or any other language – the phrase is automatically translated. If, instead, you type a mathematical formula, it will solve it.
– The most innovative – and one of my favorites – is the clipboard history. By pressing Windows+V, you can choose what to paste from the last copied items.
For all these reasons, it may seem advisable to upgrade it. And careful, we don’t say with this that you should NOT do it. As we have seen, it is obvious that with Windows 11, Microsoft has tried to do things right and return to being a reference in the market. However, there are few things to keep in mind before making the decision to abandon your current operating system for this one.
Windows 11: the bad
The brand has opted for minimalism, which at times can be a nuisance. When you want to see the right-click options, you’ll often have to hit “Show more” to find what you need. This boils down to more clicks on the part of the user. Another thing that doesn’t convince me is that links open in Microsoft Edge by default. If you’re a die-hard Chrome or Firefox user like me, this can be a big drawback.
Hardware drivers for Windows 10 are mostly compatible with Windows 11, but this is obviously not always the case. If one of your peripherals is having issues in Windows 11, the most likely culprit is the driver, and that might require the peripheral vendor to release an updated version of their software.
When an operating system is released to the market, bugs are bound to appear and will be fixed over time as they are noticed. But if your PC is your work tool, it is not recommended to upgrade it. Especially when the first problems with Windows 11 have already appeared.
Windows 11: the ugly
In order to install it, you need a TPM chip which is usually not present in computers older than 5 years. In addition, the system requires a relatively modern CPU. If this is your case, Windows will not stop you from installing it, but will warn you at all times that you should not. At the same time, it will not provide you with updates to fix bugs, such as security or application support. And installing updated ISO files by hand is a sea you don’t want to navigate -really, don’t fall for it.
Got it. Now what?
If, despite all this, you still want to update Windows, you can do so for free if you have a Windows 10 license. The requirements, which you can check at Microsoft’s website, are as follows:
– Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or system on a chip (SoC).
– RAM: 4 gigabytes (GB) or greater.
– Storage: 64 GB* or greater available storage is required to install Windows 11.
– Additional storage space might be required to download updates and enable specific features.
– Graphics card: Compatible with DirectX 12 or later, with a WDDM 2.0 driver.
– System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable.
– TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0.
– Display: High definition (720p) display, 9″ or greater monitor, 8 bits per color channel.
– Internet connection: Internet connectivity is necessary to perform updates, and to download and use some features.
– Windows 11 Home edition requires an Internet connection and a Microsoft Account to complete device setup on first use.
Oh, and please, make a backup copy of everything you value. Lest you change your mind and it’s too late…