Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 a few days ago with a brand new, modern design. It comes with a bold new look, new effects, extra shadows, completely revamped applications and a clean user interface. There are some massive changes and a number of improvements, including support to run Android apps, a new snap layout feature, better multi-window support, better gaming capabilities and more.
Updating to a new version of an operating system can be a risky business, one that should always be taken with additional care. Before you think about updating, consider backing up all of your data, making sure everything is safe in case something doesn’t go as planned. If you’re wondering what the new features are in Windows 11 compared to Windows 10, we already have you covered.
Should you go ahead and upgrade to Windows 11? The short answer is yes, most likely. The long answer is wait and see. The new update looks very promising and it seems to fix most of the design issues people have been complaining about for many years. But we don’t know yet what issues and drawbacks the new operating system might have. We also don’t know yet how it’ll perform exactly, so it’s hard to recommend something without having experienced it first, and given it a proper test ourselves.
Assuming everything goes well for Microsoft and they officially release Windows 11 without any hiccups, we would still be cautious. Some older software might stop working, so if you need to use specific – especially older – applications, you might want to hold out. Previous Windows versions didn’t break a lot of apps and were known to offer great compatibility features, but it could happen. So it’s something we have to point out.
When can I upgrade?
Microsoft hasn’t told us when we can upgrade to Windows 11, but they have told us upgrading from Windows 10 will be free. Upon taking a quick look at the Microsoft website, it says :
“The upgrade rollout plan is still being finalized but is scheduled to begin late in 2021 and continue into 2022. Specific timing will vary by device.”
Unfortunately, that doesn’t offer us much help, but at least we know the final, publicly available version should be available sometime next year in 2022.
What are the minimum hardware requirements to run Windows 11?
According to Microsoft, these are the minimum system requirements.
- Processor: 1GHz with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit SoC
- Memory: 4GB RAM
- Storage: 64GB or more
- System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
- TMP: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
- Graphics card: DirectX 12 compatible / WDDM 2.x
- Display: >9-inch with HD Resolution (720p)
- Internet: Microsoft account and internet connectivity required for setup for Windows 11 Home.
Most newly released Windows 10 laptops should be able to run Windows 11, including desktops with fairly recent components. However, the TMP could be one of the main reasons why lots of devices might not qualify, and not be upgradeable.
TMPs are either integrated into your PC’s motherboard, or they’re added separately into the CPU. This chip protects encryption keys and any other credentials that are stored on the computer. So even if the computer is attacked by any malware, these would be locked away in a safe place, unavailable for the attackers or a virus. It’s not surprising to see Microsoft require this after it was the victim of the SolarWind hack not that long ago.
Clearly, the company is trying to do its bit to prevent another such attack on that scale, and to better protect users’ personal and confidential information, which is great to see. Sadly however, this does mean a lot of Windows 10 machines will not be upgradeable – although it’s still worth taking a look at your BIOS settings.
All of this means that, in theory, all 8th Gen Intel Core and AMD Ryzen 2000 and newer chips should be supported, but older ones seem to be out of luck for now. If your device isn’t compatible, or doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, Windows 10 will be supported until October 14, 2025, so you’ll have plenty of time to upgrade your machine.
To see if your device is compatible to run Windows 11, you can download the PC Health Check app, directly from Microsoft.
Are there any Windows 11 pre-installed computers available?
According to Microsoft, PCs with Windows 11 pre-installed will be available later this year. New PCs will be required to have a few hardware requirements and follow Microsoft’s guidelines, such as including the TMP chip for security. Microsoft also doesn’t explicitly mention any manufacturers on who to expect the first Windows 11 devices from, but it’s likely we’ll see the new devices appear before the holiday season.
If your device is compatible and you like what you’re seeing, it’s very much recommended to go ahead and upgrade when Windows 11 comes out. If your device isn’t compatible, you shouldn’t worry too much, since your device will still be supported for a few more years, and some of the hardware requirements could still change.
What are your thoughts about Windows 11’s hardware requirements? Is your device compatible to run Windows 11, or do you plan on upgrading your machine to run the latest operating system? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.