Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nudela hyped the new Windows 11 update as a major upgrade over all other past Windows and those who have had a first-hand experience of the operating system via a simulator felt the difference might be real.
Microsoft, however, made a global release of the new update on Tuesday, Oct. 5th as promised which will be free for existing Windows 10 users and we wrote an extensive guide on how to be among the early adopters.
The company’s chief product office Panos Panay made it know to the BBC that the upgrade is meant to be clean, fresh, and simpler for its users.
He promised that the new operating system would not be an “extreme departure” from what people know.
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And even the least tech-savvy users can upgrade easily, he added.
“I use the frame of my father – he’s 89,” Panay said. “I’m so excited for him to hit that button and upgrade, you have no idea.
“Not because he’s my dad – because I just want it to be easy for him.”
He also said that expert users had already tested the upgrade extensively through Windows’s Insider program and are confident there would be no issue especially as the update is being made available to the general public.
The significant redesign
Some have accused Microsoft of outright copying macOS’s design aesthetics with the curved edges of widgets, panels, and other elements within the new Windows 11 update.
Also, it brought the taskbar to the center even though it’s possible to still shift it back to the left corner where it used to be.
When the now-centered by default Start Menu is clicked, it opens a tray of your most frequently used applications which in a way mimics the way smartphone app launchers work.
Panay also stated that the company had learned its lesson from the failed redesign of the Windows 8 update which had this annoying grid start menu that covers the entire user interface.
“You learn from that, of course, and then you adapt,” he said.
Developing Windows 11’s interface involved watching how people use their computers – “what they want to click on, where their eyes are on the machine when they come into our labs,” he explained.
“You get this confidence of learning from history,” he added.
For Windows 11, “the Start button is right there. It’s right in the middle of the screen. It’s not gone.”
While Microsoft initially called the Windows 10 upgrade the “last version” of the operating system, it has definitely changed its stance with the new update.
“We’re in a time where there is a bit of a new era for the PC happening right now,” Panay said.
“I think Windows 11 kind of stamps that moment and it is a signal for that moment.”
Microsoft tries to bridge the gaps between mobile and desktop with Windows 11 especially with its partnership with Amazon’s app store to bring supported Android applications to your Windows 11-powered PC.
Aside from the glassy user interface compared to the flat UI on Windows 10, Microsoft further integrate its own video conferencing app Teams to the core of the system which ultimately meant the end of Skype if that’s safe to say.
The Microsoft Store is also redesigned and will now allow third-party apps to sell their programs and software within it without taking too much cut.
Also, the in-built search function of the new Windows 11 is said to be significantly faster on most devices and also utilize Microsoft’s own services such as Bing and the Edge browser even though you can always revert back to Google.
Upgrade is free for Windows 10 users
And as for the gaming experience, there is a new Direct Storage technology that Microsoft said would lead to a much better loading time in games by allowing a graphics card to access storage drives without going through the CPU.
One thing for sure is that this will still require some hardware in order for the feature to work well enough.
Also do note that not everyone will be able to update to Windows 11 at once because the release will be in batches according to Microsoft. Another thing for sure is the fact that not every PC will be able to upgrade.
Newer computers will also be favored over older ones which is why the newer your computer, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to upgrade to the new Windows 11 OS easily and on time.
The minimum requirements include a type of security chip – called a TPM – only installed on modern computers.
“If your device does not meet these requirements, you may not be able to install Windows 11 on your device and might want to consider purchasing a new PC,” Microsoft says.
The company has just launched a range of its own new hardware devices to coincide with the new Windows version.
However, if you are a licensed user of Windows 10, you can make a free update to Windows 11 if Microsoft has sent the update to your computer.
Microsoft also said it will continue to support Windows 10 with security updates up until October 2025.