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  • Writer's pictureSimon Salvin

Windows 11 Announced

Microsoft today announced Windows 11. Six years after it said Windows 10 would be the final edition with yearly updates.

So, what’s changed and can we recommend it?

If the announcement is anything to go by then no, With constant buffering I managed to miss the opening 15 minutes before switching to YouTube where Googles servers streamed it perfectly. Watching the opening scenes on a rerun later this evening I didn’t really miss much at all and overall it featured a number of updates which I’ll highlight shortly.

The new operating system won’t be launched until late this year, so from the announcement today its hard to give a view. The first Beta edition will be launched on the Windows Insider program next week and I’ll be able to answer some of my own initial questions.

It’s not too dissimilar to Windows 10, the Start menu has been redesigned with live tiles being retired, and as you’ll notice from above its centred on the screen along with the pinned icons on the taskbar.

A new Widgets panel slides in from the left to provide News, Weather, Calendar Appointments etc. at a glance.

Microsoft Teams has been integrated in to the operating system whilst Skype has been relegated to the Windows Store, not quite ready for retirement just yet but on the way.

Having installed Power Toys on a laptop earlier today to create snapping zones on a large ultrawide monitor it wasn’t a surprise to see the same is now baked into Windows 11 but with a customised offering based on the size of the screen.

Gamers haven’t been left out as XBox GamePass now comes to Windows 11 for cross platform play with the subscription service.

Strangely Android Apps making their way to Windows wouldn’t be too much of a shock until they announced it would be provided by the Amazon Store, obviously Google didn’t want to play at this party!

What we didn’t learn is whether Windows will finally let go of the old system they’ve tried to hide away in the background. Will the Settings App seen on numerous screen shots be the de-facto control centre rather than Control Panel? And has File Explorer had a make over? We didn’t see a glimpse of that. What we were subject to is rounded corners, shadows and beautiful transparencies which they’ve tirelessly worked on for a visual fluidity.

Windows 10 users will receive a free upgrade but don’t get too excited yet as the list of hardware requirements will ensure plenty of devices remain with 10. It appears a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) will be required which is required for drive encryption. A UEFI BIOS and Secure Boot will also be a requirement which will retire most Windows 7 PCs which received the Windows 10 free upgrade. With a retirement of Windows 10 in 2025 I’m not quite sure how all this will sit with our goal of upgrading to keep PCs out of landfill? Only time will tell.

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