On the 24th of June, Microsoft dropped its teaser for its latest and greatest iteration of its long-standing operating system, Windows 11. While most of the official spiel and the cinematic style trailer focused on the aesthetic improvements of the new Windows system, we're going to sum up what will be changing for business users and IT professionals if and when they make the upgrade.
Microsoft's tagline for Windows 11 is "Create, Connect, Play" and claim that it has been redesigned for productivity, creativity and ease with a simplified design and user experience. Because the foundation of Windows 11 is based on the Windows 10 architecture, planning, preparing and deploying Windows 11 will be just as you do today with Windows 10. In fact, even if you are an early adopter, Windows 10 and 11 are designed to coexist so those who do not take the leap will continue to receive support for Windows 10 until October 14th, 2025. Microsoft has not altered the Windows 10 support cycle so the 18- and 30-month periods remain in place. There will, however, be a feature upgrade later in the year which Microsoft have called 21H2. It comes with the standard 30-month period of support on Windows 10 Enterprise or Education devices but only 18-months for all others. Windows 10 21H2 will retire in early 2024 on Enterprise/Education but a year earlier on Home/Pro.
When it comes to the new operating system, Windows 11 Home and Pro will be supported for 24-months which is an improvement on the previous 18-month period. Windows 11 Enterprise and Education also see an increased period of support of 36-months, up from 30.
Microsoft is also making changes when it comes to upgrading Windows 11 by changing to a once-a-year upgrade instead of the previous twice-a-year. This change is credited to customer demand and should make things easier when it comes to servicing machines.
Microsoft has also claimed that Windows 11 sets a new benchmark for performance and security, helping businesses optimise for productivity and shielding employees from cyber threats. Windows 11 has new built-in security technologies that will add protection from the chip to the cloud. It is being described by Microsoft as a zero-trust-ready operating system which would be very sensible in today's hybrid working environment. With Windows 11 designed to be deployed across a variety of different devices, the exposure to cyber threats is only going to increase as employees split their time between working at home, the office or almost anywhere else.
Although based on the same architecture as Windows 10, the new operating system will only be available in a 64-bit version rather than the previous 32- and 64-bit. Even though no 32-bit version is available, 32-bit applications will continue to be supported although devices with a 32-bit processor will be unable to install the Windows 11 operating system.
The good news is that the upgrade to Windows 11 from Windows 10 is completely free of charge. Microsoft is likening this to a software upgrade for Windows 10 users, rather than a paid-for new operating system. All current servicing tools will also work with Windows 11 as they work in Windows 10 to make the change over as seamless as possible.