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Since most users already have a valid Windows 10 license, they can easily upgrade to Windows 11 with no challenges. You can perform a clean installation on your computer and activate the OS straight from the site.
We have mentioned that the Windows 11 update itself is free, but this is only true for those individuals with a previous version of Windows with a valid license. If you don’t have a valid Windows license, you will need to buy Windows 11 or a device with Windows 11 OS.
For Windows 10 users: Microsoft plans to offer support until October 14, 2025 – just over 10 years since the operating system was released. You have plenty of time to make the switch. As for Windows 8.1 users, extended support will end January 10, 2023 (all other Windows operating systems have reached the end of support).
Windows 10 vs. Windows 11: A Comparison
It’s no secret, Windows 10 is an excellent OS, but it’s not free from downsides. For example, in October 2018, Microsoft introduced an update that left a bad taste in the mouth of many users. The update resulted in several problems, which led to it getting pulled down. Even after being fixed and made available again, it brought a new set of issues.
Windows 10 received feature updates bi-annually instead of after two or three years, like the previous versions. The updates added new features to the OS and sometimes caused more significant changes.
As we said earlier, Microsoft previously hinted that Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows, but the company has shifted its stance and has now provided users with a new operating system, namely, “Windows 11”.
Think of this next generation of Windows as a rebrand of Windows 10, though with lots of UX changes. The OS includes a re-imagined Start Menu, smart animation, curved designs, and other changes that Windows 10 users can only dream of. It comes with a refreshed, consistent design that will leave users excited.
There are many features from the long-awaited Sun Valley update in this new generation of Windows and some features of the canceled Window X have made their way to Microsoft 11.
What are the New Features of Windows 11?
The best way to understand how Windows 11 compares to Windows 10 is to look at its features. Responding to popular demand, Microsoft made the next generation of Windows OS more touch-friendly, streamlined, and secure, compared to Windows 10.
From a new dark mode to improved touch controls and more, here are the features of Windows 11.
New Start Menu, Taskbar, and Search Bar
The new Windows 11 Start Menu stands out. It’s debatable, but we think most Windows users will love it. It’s a simple change that introduces the new era of Windows 11.
In the previous version of Windows (XP, 7, 8.1, and 10), the start menu was on the left side of the screen. However, in Windows 11, they put the Start Menu in the center and now refer to it as “The Dock.” Nonetheless, you can still change the position of the menu if you don’t like change.
This is a significant change, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Microsoft also changed the design of the menu. Rather than having an endless app list, the new Start Menu displays the user’s most recent files and pinned apps. Now, you no longer have to struggle to search for the apps and files you access the most. In a way, it eliminates distraction.
What about the taskbar? Well, it’s also centered. Your apps get displayed in the middle of the screen where your field of vision typically falls. The taskbar features a search icon, which, when tapped, brings a floating search bar. Compared to the off-centered search box in Windows 10, the floating search bar is much easier to access.
The Start Menu, taskbar, and search box changes make it easier for Windows users to put the things that matter to them in front and center, similar to Chrome OS and macOS.
Visual Overhaul - Rounded Corners and New Icons
The next generation of Windows has undergone a complete visual overhaul. Unlike in previous Windows, which had many flat edges, Windows 11 comes with rounded corners. This change is perhaps one of the most notable features in the new OS update. And, frankly, it looks gorgeous.
The edges of Windows and menu now appear slightly rounded, like in Apple’s macOS Big Sur. So, no more squared corners in Windows after five years. Besides that, this new operating system brings a new set of icons for pictures, downloads, and documents. While navigating through the Windows, you’ll notice fresh and more colorful icons.
Microsoft has added a few additions to the Snapping controls. When hovering over the minimize and maximize button, you will notice a drop-down menu that provides you with a list of options for snapping your windows into quarters or to either side of the screen. As such, you can organize your windows faster and more easily.
On smaller devices, you have access to four layouts that you can choose from. Devices with a larger display let you access two extra arrangements featuring 17 different snapping areas. Once you select any of the snapping areas, your window will resize and snap to the area you chose. From there, you can snap other apps where you like.
Revamped Action Center
The new visual changes extend to the Action center. When you open the Windows Action Center, you will notice rounded corners and larger slider buttons that help make button pressing hassle-free. Additionally, the Action Center buttons are designed and shaped to fit more naturally with the user’s fingers. Trust us; the buttons will tempt you to touch the screen.
X 64 Emulation for Windows on ARM
For many years, Windows 10 devices with ARM processors have faced the challenge of a lack of apps because they support only 32-bit emulation. But that’s not the case with Windows 11. This new operating system update will provide these devices with 64-bit emulation support.
Fresh Ways to Manage Virtual Desktops
With Windows 11, you can manage Virtual Desktop through a dedicated area at the bottom side of the screen. Now, you can provide each virtual desktop with its own wallpaper. What’s more, you can use your finger or mouse to slide them right or left. It promotes a natural and organized way of handling various tasks, especially for those individuals who often multitask.
Touch Gestures and Controls Improved
Windows 10 had a challenge handling touch. iPad OS and even Chrome OS won in this area since Windows 10 came with a clunky interface. Windows 11 revolutionizes touch controls by eliminating table mode to create room for minor changes.
When using a tablet or a touchscreen laptop with Windows 11, you can tap the screen with four fingers to switch between virtual desktops. Minimize or maximize an app by swiping with three fingers.
That’s not all! The OS update comes with a new keyboard that allows you to insert GIF images. Plus, it has better sound feedback when users touch the keys.
Re-designed Ink Workspace
Windows 11 introduces re-designed Ink Workspace panels that offer you more customization capabilities than its predecessor by supporting additional software. Windows 10’s Ink Workspace only supported Microsoft Whiteboard and Snip & Sketch apps, plus some user interface tweaks. But, with this newer version, you can add your own apps. As a result, you won’t have to navigate to the Start Menu every time you want to jump to inking
When you turn on dark mode in Windows 10, not all setting pages and apps adopt the theme. Microsoft has worked to address that in the new Windows 11 update. While a few areas are still not wholly compatible with dark mode, those that are look fantastic and are easier on the eyes.
If you ever used Windows Vista, then you know how widgets work. In Windows 11, Microsoft has included a way for users to summon widgets by heading to the taskbar and clicking a button. Once you’ve clicked the button, you will get introduced to a new UI with tiles (with specific information).
Windows 11 Widgets make access to information at a glance much easier. It brings news, traffic, and weather information right to your fingers.
Microsoft didn’t focus much on the sounds when they designed and launched Windows 10. So, since 2015, we’ve been stuck with the same startup and feedback audio for simple tasks such as error messages, inserting a USB drive, and more.
However, on Windows 11, the company introduced a new suite of sounds for frequent tasks. What’s even better: there’s no more “Cortana” voice when installing Windows 11.
Android App Support
Android apps will now be available in the Windows Store and will work like standard Windows apps. They can be resized and snapped into place, allowing you to access your favorite apps right from your desktop. However, Windows apps will draw from the Amazon Marketplace, not the Google Play Store, so options will be limited.
Microsoft Teams Integration
Windows 11 features Microsoft Teams integration, which connects friends and colleagues across devices more easily. The Teams functionality is built into the Dock.
DirectStorage and Auto HDR
Those who enjoy PC gaming will love the DirectStorage, which allows the GPU to load files directly from a high-speed SSD, reducing load times during games. The Auto HDR, another feature that accompanies DirectStorage, uses machine learning to add high dynamic range (HDR) to games that would otherwise not support it.
What Laptops are Compatible with Windows 11?
Most newer computers are compatible with Windows 11, but there are minimum requirements your device must meet.
Windows 11 Minimum Requirements
Modern 1Ghz 64-bit dual-core processor
9+ inch display
UEFI, Secure Boot & TPM 2.0 compatible
DirectX 12 compatible graphics / WWDM 2.x
When Will Microsoft 11 upgrades be Available?
Microsoft has officially released the Windows 11 OS and it is currently pre-installed on PCs and other tech. That said, the company plans to roll out Windows 11 during the Holiday 2021 season as a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 users and continuing through the first half of 2022.