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Windows 11 FAQ: This guide will help you upgrade to Windows 11.

Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 during a 45-minute webcast titled “What next for Windows,” on June 24, 2021. The company then released the first preview version of the new operating systems to Windows Insider Preview Program members a few days later. Microsoft then announced that Windows 11 would be officially released on October 5, 2021. The first preview of the new operating system was distributed to Windows 10 PCs via a “phased rollout”. This will continue until mid-2022.

You’re not the only one thinking that this schedule is unusually fast. The Windows 11 release went at an incredible pace by modern standards. This is not the only unusual thing about this release. Many of the lessons learned from previous upgrades no longer apply.

What will the upgrade do to your Windows PC at work or home? I have compiled the answers to your questions.

What is Windows 11?

Windows 11 is the successor of Windows 10. It is built on the same core architecture as Windows 10. Microsoft could have decided to release the new features in Windows 11 via a series of semi-annual feature updates to Windows 10 with no name change.

Instead, they decided to make it a “big bang” release with a new major number and a bunch of new features.

The new interface features a refreshed user experience with updated colors and icons, major changes in the Start menu, taskbar, and taskbar, extensive reworking of the Settings app, Widgets pane that delivers bite-sized bits of news and reminders, and a much-improved method to snap windows into place.

The hardware-assisted security that was previously an optional feature of Windows 10 is now mandatory. Secure Boot and device encryption will be available by default to protect against more sophisticated online attacks.

You’re not the only one who is disappointed by the lackluster selection of apps available in the Microsoft Store. Windows 11 is a major update to Microsoft Store. Third-party developers now can make traditional Win32 desktop applications available for secure download through the Store.

Windows 11 will feature a new Windows Subsystem to Android that allows Android apps to run on familiar Windows desktops. This feature was not available in the original Windows 11 release. only began to appear in preview builds a few weeks after the official Windows 11 launch.

Be aware that Android-on Windows is still possible. However, you should not get too excited about it. For now, the apps will be available from Amazon’s app store. Paltry App Selection Syndrome also affects Amazon. The availability of Android apps may increase in the future if there are more robust app repositories such as the Samsung App Store, or even (gasp!) the Google Play Store. The Google Play Store. Anyone who has been paying attention to Microsoft’s efforts in this space for a while is entitled to be skeptical.

Where can I get the latest Windows 11 version?

Windows 11 was made available to the public on October 5, 2021. Version number 22000.194 was the initial release. It was released to the general public as a cumulative update for Windows Insider Program members on September 16, 2021. Since then, the minor version has been incremented by monthly cumulative updates. The Windows 11 Update History page contains a complete list of updates as well as links to release notes.

Based on Microsoft’s assessment of the satisfaction level of these devices, Microsoft will offer Windows 11 as an upgrade to Windows 10 PCs. You can jump ahead and download Windows 11 as an upgrade to your Windows 10 PC. There are three options for installing Windows 11.

  • Run Windows 11 Installation Assistant. This utility program downloads the required installer files and upgrades your current computer.
  • For traditionalists, you can create Windows 10 installation media on a USB flash disk or a DVD.
  • Get a Windows 11 disk image as an ISO file.

How often will Windows 11 get security and feature updates?

The Windows 11 era’s most significant change isn’t software. Instead, Microsoft’s servicing program will produce feature updates once a year, instead of the twice-a-year frenetic Windows 10 update schedule.

Microsoft has also released the support calendar, which Microsoft calls the Windows Lifecycle. Microsoft now offers 24 months of support for Pro, Home, Pro for Workstations, and Pro Education editions rather than the current 18 months. IT personnel in education and business can expect 36 months of support for Enterprise and Education editions. This is a significant improvement on the three-year support plan for Windows 10, which only provides H2 updates.

Security updates will continue to be delivered monthly on Tuesdays.

What are the minimum system requirements to run Windows 11?

Windows 11 is not compatible with older hardware. Windows 10 was designed specifically to work on older hardware. Windows 11 however requires relatively new hardware. Windows 11 will not install as an update on older computers. Windows 11 will work on most PCs manufactured in 2019 and later. Although PCs that do not meet the minimum requirements might still be eligible to install Windows 11, Microsoft warns that such installations will not be supported.

These are the system requirements published for Windows 11:

  • Processor: 1GHz and faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor (SoC).
  • RAM: At least 4GB
  • Storage: At least 64GB available storage
  • Security: TPM version 2.0, UEFI firmware, Secure Boot capable
  • Graphics card compatible with DirectX 12 and later with a driver WDDM 2.0
  • Display: High Definition (720p), 9-inch or larger monitor, 8 bits per color channel

Download and run the Windows 11 compatibility check app. This will highlight any compatibility issues that may prevent you from upgrading. Windows 11’s strict compatibility tests are less likely to be passed by older hardware. For example, the majority of Intel 7th Generation Core processors and PCs made with AMD Zen 1 processors aren’t on the list. It is almost certain that PCs bought in 2016 and earlier will not be supported.

Microsoft announced on August 27, 2021, that it was increasing the list of compatible processors while maintaining all other requirements.

Windows 11 requires a hardware security element called a trusted platform module (TPM) along with UEFI firmware and Secure Boot. The UEFI standard requires that system disks be set up according to the GUID Partition Table. Systems that are based on the legacy Master Boot Record system (MBR), are not supported.

Almost all computers built after 2015 have TPM 2.0 support. However, you may need to change the firmware settings to enable it.

To keep Windows 11 current and download some features, you will need an internet connection. Windows 11 Home edition needs an internet connection and Microsoft Account to complete out-of-box device set-up. The option to create a local account for business editions is only available to those who can join a Windows domain.

This is a great place to say goodbye to 32-bit Windows. Windows 11 will be available as a 64 bit OS for 64-bit processors. 32-bit Windows apps will still be supported.

What happens if my system does not meet the minimum system requirements

Windows 11 Setup includes a utility to check for compatibility with hardware requirements. It also blocks upgrades on devices that do not include a supported CPU and TPM 2.0. You can bypass the compatibility check by downloading an ISO file, and then performing a clean installation. A Microsoft support document will help you to modify the registry keys required for upgrading a Windows 10 system.

  • Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\MoSetup
  • Name: AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMOrCPU
  • Type: REG_DWORD
  • 1

Although I believe that older computers that were upgraded with this workaround will continue receiving security updates and supported hardware for an indefinite time, that is not certain. Future feature updates may reinstate compatibility checks without allowing bypass.

What’s new in Windows 11?

A leaked preliminary build of Windows 11 was released before Microsoft’s June announcement. This triggered a frenzy of superficial coverage that focused on tiny visual changes. Windows 11 appeared to be a -enhanced theme pack for Windows 10.

This is not true. Microsoft has made some visual changes to the Windows 11 user experience (UX) including new icons with brighter colors and rounded corners as well as a new font.

One new button is located in the taskbar. This opens the Widgets panel on the left side. At the moment, only Microsoft services are available in the widget selection. Other tweaks to the taskbar (except for the new center alignment) are minor. The ability to adjust the visibility of tray icons as well as a cleaner and more concise Quick Settings app are both welcome.

Windows 11 makes significant changes to the Windows UX. These include the taskbar and Start menu. While the Start button is still located to the left of the taskbar, the taskbar is now at the bottom of the screen. If you don’t want to overpower your muscle memory after decades of seeing Start at the lower-left corner of the screen, there’s an option to turn everything back to the right.

The Start slide opens a new pane which is very similar to the scrolling list of utilities and apps found on the traditional Start menu. Windows 11 divides this area into two rectangles, one for program icons and one for shortcuts to recent documents. Although you can pin folders and programs to the top space and drag them in your preferred order, that’s about it. Pinned icons to Start cannot be sub-folders.

Another tweak to Start is the ability to pin system folders to a bottom row between the user profile photo and the power button.

File Explorer receives the same visual refresh that Windows Vista offers, including a simplified ribbon, shortcut menus, and File Explorer’s familiar three-pane layout.

The Settings app gets a complete overhaul. The navigation pane to the left gives quick access to the main categories. Sections to the right slide open to allow adjustments to system settings or personalization options. A detailed display showing battery usage hourly allows you to see which apps are causing unusual battery drains.

You’ll notice big improvements in how the pen and touch elements function on touch-enabled devices, such as the Surface Pro. There are smoother transitions between tablet mode and PC mode, and you can use them with touch-enabled tablets like the Surface Pro. The system can now remember the order of windows on conventional PCs that have multiple monitors or docking stations. Voice Typing allows you to dictate text that will be automatically entered into any app or text field. To activate this feature, press Windows key + H

Windows 10 has significantly increased the number of options for organizing windows on large external displays. Windows 10 has significantly expanded the options available for organizing windows on large external displays. While the “snap” shortcuts work well to place windows side-by-side, hovering your mouse pointer over an icon in the upper left corner of any window will display additional options. As shown here, you can arrange three to four windows by hovering your mouse pointer over it. These arrangements can also be accessed from the taskbar. This allows you to quickly restore an arrangement.

You’ll still see bits and pieces of old Windows elements, despite the UX overhaul. This is especially true for any legacy Control Panel or app hosted by Microsoft Management Console (MMC).

What happens to Windows Insider Program?

Anyone running Windows 11 on supported hardware can get preview versions of Windows 11 by signing up for the Developer Channel and opting into the Windows Preview Program. The Beta and Release Preview channels currently include preview releases from the same branch as the official release (version 22000).

What Windows 11 editions do you have available? How much are they worth?

Any PC that has Windows 10 installed on it is eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 11.

Windows 11’s edition lineup is identical to Windows 10’s, as well as the suggested retail price for the corresponding Windows 11 editions.

Can Windows 11 be run on a virtual machine instead of on a physical computer?

Yes, Windows 11 can be installed on a virtual machine. You can even create a virtual TPM on a Windows 11 virtual machine to meet the requirements of the new operating systems. You’ll have to adhere to the same CPU requirements as for installations on a physical computer when you use a Type 1 hypervisor such as Microsoft Hyper-V. You might be able to spoof this requirement on a Type 2 hypervisor like Oracle Virtual Box or VMware Workstation. However, it is unlikely worth the effort.

You can find detailed instructions on how you can set up a Windows 11 Virtual Machine using Hyper-V on Windows 10 and Windows 11. 

Are my existing apps and devices compatible with Windows 11?

Windows 11 should allow most apps and devices to work with Windows 10. Most apps shouldn’t have any problems with the new operating system. It is so similar to Windows 10, that there are no major differences. To verify compatibility with Windows apps, install Windows 11 on a virtual machine and run it. If you experience an error, please use the Feedback Hub app for a detailed report.

You have 10 days to return your Windows 10 installation to its previous version if you find a compatibility problem with software or hardware after upgrading to Windows 11. This option is not available after 10 days.

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