Windows 11: Everything you need to know

Windows 11: Everything you need to know

Windows 11 is upon us, which means it’s time for a non-techie guide. If you’re on Windows, you might want to read up. We’re breaking down everything you need to know, from the Windows 11 release date, minimum system requirements, new features, and more.

Use the menu after the bump to navigate this guide:

What is Windows 11?

Let’s start off with the basics. Windows 11 is the next version of Windows, following Windows 10.

Though Microsoft has once mentioned Win10 to be something of a final form of the OS, a new iteration was only a matter of time. And this new version, luckily, is similar to its predecessor.

Windows 10, after all, is a very good operating system. And people love it. So, Windows 11 is more of a design overhaul, with a ton of cosmetic changes as well as some under-the-hood improvements.

Windows 11 new features to know about

A fresh new look

Following the leaks of the new UI, it’s clear that the biggest change to Windows 11 is the option to move the Start button to the center. Along with that is a fresh new look, designed in Microsoft’s much-teased language, Fluent.

There are new icons, typography, and a unique, frosted look that’s simply gorgeous. Here’s a peek of it in action:

Windows 11: Everything you need to know

Accessing the Start button should feel both familiar and fresh, with a host of useful UI elements that served Windows 10 users well. There’s even an Alfred-like search functionality that previously needed its own separate app to use.

Snap layouts for productivity

Multi-tasking has always been Windows’ strong point, especially with the arrival of Snap Layouts. If you want two apps up on your screen at the same time (like a YouTube video on one side and a Google Doc on the other), it’s easy to snap them into place.

Animated GIF

With Windows 11, you get even more layout options than the four that are currently available on Windows 10. There are also more functionality in terms of Desktops, which should make people using multiple displays very happy.

Built-in Teams for video calls

Microsoft Teams will be available in Windows 11 out of the box. Teams is Microsoft’s own team communication app, similar to apps like Zoom and Google Meet.

Though primarily a business app part of Microsoft 365, making Teams available to everyone seems likely that it is being pushed as Microsoft’s main video conferencing app. Where that leaves Skype is up in the air right now, but it’s nice to see Microsoft offering such a great app to Windows 11 users for free.

Android apps on Windows 11 (kinda)

Android apps will finally become available on Windows 11—well, kinda. Technically, you’ll have to download the Amazon app on the Microsoft Store, which would enable you to use Android apps on your Windows 11. It’s a roundabout way of making it work, but it works nonetheless.

This is, of course, part of the major refresh of the Store, which looks slicker than ever before.

Check out MKBHD’s video on this:

Gamer-centric features

As for gaming, Windows 11 is great as ever. In a recent blog post, Sarah Bond (CVP of Game Creator Experience at Microsoft) shared that the new OS pushes the envelope when it comes to “superior graphics, amazing speed, and an incredible selection of games”.

This comes with the release of DirectX 12 Ultimate (which gets even more powerful on DirectStorage Optimized devices), AutoHDR support, and the revamped XBOX Game Pass.

Windows 11 System Requirements — Can my laptop/PC run Windows 11?

Alright. So Windows 11 is pretty good. It’s an incremental yet stable update to an already-great operating system. But can your PC/laptop handle it?

Here’s the thing. Since Win11 is basically a fresh paint of coat on top of Win10, most devices running the latest version of the OS should run it fine. To make sure you can upgrade, check out the full list of Windows 11 minimum system requirements below:

Processor1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
Memory4 GB RAM
Storage64 GB or larger storage device
System firmwareUEFI, Secure Boot capable
TPMTrusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
Graphics cardDirectX 12 compatible graphics / WDDM 2.x
Display>9” with HD Resolution (720p)
Internet connectionMicrosoft account and internet connectivity required for setup for Windows 11 Home
See the full detailed list of system requirements on Microsoft’s website.

How do I upgrade to Windows 11?

To upgrade to the new Windows 11 OS, you’ll need to download Microsoft’s PC Health Check app to see if your current PC meets the requirements mentioned above to run the operating system.

If coast is clear, you’ll be able to get the upgrade when it rolls out.

How much does Windows 11 cost?

Windows 11 is free for Windows 10 users. Windows 7 users can also get a free upgrade upon purchasing a Win10 license.

As of press time, the official rollout plan for Windows 11 is yet to be finalized. We’ll update this article when more information is available.

What is Windows 11’s official release date?

Windows 11 rolls out later this year continuing to the whole of 2022. No official release date has been set, but we’ll update as more info comes.

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