Windows 11 is due to be released officially on 5th October 2021 – the first major version upgrade since Windows 10 was released in 2015.
As with Windows 10, PC users will be able to begin downloading the new version from this date, and new PCs will begin shipping with Windows 11 pre-installed.
If the thought of your PC changing fills you with dread – never fear! Here’s how you prepare:
See a preview
The first thing most users will notice is the visual improvement – Windows 11 features a ‘new design’ which forms the backbone of the update in an effort to make PC screens feel more user-friendly, calming and interact better with natural light.
Check Minimum Specifications
The following list summarises the published minimum specifications required to install and operate the new upcoming version:
|1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
|4 gigabyte (GB)
|64 GB or larger storage device
|UEFI, Secure Boot capable
|Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
|Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
|High definition (720p) display that is greater than 9” diagonally, 8 bits per colour channel
|Internet connection and Microsoft accounts:
|Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account to complete device setup on first use.
Switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S mode also requires internet connectivity. For all Windows 11 editions, internet access is required to perform updates and to download and take advantage of some features. A Microsoft account is required for some features.
Microsoft’s full specifications for Windows 11 can be found here.
Things to Expect
The following Windows 10 features are all due to disappear on the new version, in some cases being disabled, replaced by newer apps or available only via manual re-download from the Windows store on new installs:
– Internet Explorer
– Windows S Mode (Home Edition Only)
– Skype (Personal), 3D Viewer, Paint 3D and ‘OneNote for Windows 10’
– Start Menu Groups
– Taskbar Moving
– Tablet Mode
Cortana will also be relegated to the Start Menu – no longer used during setup and not automatically pinned to the taskbar.
Make a Backup / Create a Recovery Drive
Major (or even minor) Windows version upgrades are not without pitfalls as we’ve seen in recent years, so it’s worth checking that you have a full backup of your device prior to leaping into the unknown.
Synchronised copies of files in Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox are always a plus, although for rapid restoration it’s also helpful to make a manual, local backup to a portable hard-drive that will be more quickly restorable if your subsequent upgrade doesn’t go to plan.
For the extra precaution of a route ‘back’ to Windows 10 if you discover a major compatibility issue, it’s important to make a recovery drive using a USB device.
Test the Beta
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