When developing Windows 11, Microsoft realized that the new Windows had to be a powerful operating system for desktops. The company paid attention to important areas such as improving multitasking when working with multiple windows, improving multi-monitor support, supporting modern gaming technology and distributing traditional desktop applications in the Microsoft Store.
When will the release happen?
Microsoft says Windows 11 will begin shipping in late 2021, during the so-called "holiday season." Many sources say the date is October 20, 2021.
Will I be able to install Windows 11 on my computer?
Not all Windows 10 PCs will be able to get Windows 11. Unlike Windows 10, which had broad backward compatibility with previous systems up to Windows 7, in the case of Windows 11, Microsoft has decided to seriously increase the system requirements. To install Windows 11, you'll need a computer with UEFI, Secure Boot support, and a TPM 2.0 chip. Also mentioned in the system requirements is "a compatible 64-bit processor or SoC". Thus, all 32-bit and many 64-bit computers will not be able to upgrade to Windows 11.
To check if Windows 11 will run on your device, run the PC Health Check (PC Health Check). If Secure Boot or the TPM microchip are disabled in UEFI, you will get the error "Windows 11 cannot be run on this computer". When you activate these features, the device will be recognized as compatible with the new system. You can also use an alternative tool to check your PC's compatibility with Windows 11 - WhyNotWin11, which can show other reasons why your computer is not suitable for the new operating system.
How to download a Windows 11 preview build
Windows 11 Insider Preview builds will be available, presumably starting June 28, 2021.
If the PC Health Check app says your computer is compatible with Windows 11, you'll be able to get a preview build of the new system through the Windows Insider program. To do so, you'll need to join the free Windows preview program. We don't recommend installing test builds on your main production computer because they may have stability and performance issues.
New centered Start menu
Windows 11 got a new simplified Start menu. Live tiles are gone, replaced by a list of apps and recently used files. Thanks to Microsoft 365, documents you edit in Office apps on other devices, even non-Windows devices, will show up here as recent files.
Taskbar icons, including the Start menu, have also been moved to the center of the taskbar. As Panos Panay of Microsoft observed, "We put Start in the center, and it puts you in the center."
Quick installation of updates and one major update per year
Microsoft says it has improved the update process in Windows 11. The updates will now be 40% smaller and will be installed in the background.
The company decided to switch to a one major update per year scheme for Windows 11. With Windows 10, the company originally released two major updates per year, but this strategy led to major glitches and bugs.
Now Microsoft is aligning its release cycle with other operating systems like Google's Android, macOS, iOS and Apple's iPadOS, all of which get one major update a year.
New app store with desktop apps
Microsoft is positioning the revamped Microsoft Store as "the only reliable place to get Windows apps." Developers will be able to host traditional Win32 desktop apps along with UWP and PWA apps on the revamped site. Alternative frameworks can also be used to create Windows applications.
In addition, Microsoft will allow developers to use their own monetization platform and not to pay a commission. In other words, Valve will be able to distribute Steam through the Microsoft Store and not pay Microsoft a penny.
Imagine getting every app you use on the Microsoft Store - from Google Chrome to Steam. It would really speed up the installation and updating of programs. Changes like this should have been introduced back in Windows 8, but 9 years late is better than nothing.
Improvements for gaming
Microsoft talked about new gaming features in Windows 11, such as support for DirectX 12 Ultimate and an Xbox Game Pass subscription for PCs, which offers unlimited access to a library of PC games for a monthly fee.
There are other innovations borrowed from the Xbox Series X.
The company is adding support for Auto HDR technology, which will improve graphics quality in legacy games that don't support HDR. Without this feature, HDR technology is only available for games created with it on HDR-compatible monitors. Microsoft has demonstrated Auto HDR in Skyrim, where colors are more vivid and vibrant.
Some Windows 11 PCs will be "optimized for DirectStorage" - they will need a high-performance NVMe SSD and the appropriate drivers. On these PCs, games will load data from the system storage directly onto the graphics card, without loading the CPU. This should result in faster game loading and resource utilization during gameplay.