Key takeaways from Microsoft Inspire 2021
Windows 11 is a free upgrade delivered via the Windows Update tool on Windows 10. And with updates being 40% smaller running in the background, plus yearly feature release – this should mean fewer updates to test.
Support for Windows 10 Home and Pro will end on 14th October 2025, although Windows 10 Enterprise has not been mentioned yet. Moving this to a Long Term Servicing Channel/Branch (LTSB/LTSC) type of channel will extend the longevity of support for Windows 10 Enterprise, giving organisations longer time to plan for the Windows 11 upgrade. Also, LTSB/LSTC is already included in Windows 10 Enterprise, so applying any features from either edition of Windows 10 should not be difficult.
Microsoft Teams is built directly into Windows 11 and with the growth of Microsoft Teams Personal, we expect this to begin to define communication on PC. It is not clear if Microsoft will give access to both Personal and Work 365 accounts in the same Teams application, and there are pros and cons for this happening (worklife balance anyone?).
But it is likely that Windows 11 will come to home machines before work devices for many reasons including planning for a new OS and the raft of compatibility problems it brings with it. Microsoft Teams Personal has not made the same impact that Microsoft Teams has. Only time will tell if Teams Personal will be uninstalled as another piece of unnecessary Windows bloatware.
We are excited to see this feature arrive on Windows because it bridges the gap between devices and enhances productivity. We will no longer be getting our phones out to use an Android App and getting side tracked with notifications. Now we can use the same applications on Windows 11, as an Android phone. Also, for Apple users, this is a brilliant way to introduce them to a brand-new eco-system, all brought to you by Windows 11.
Adobe has come closer to Windows with the Adobe Creative Cloud soon to be available via the Microsoft Store. There is a better level of support for Adobe applications in the Microsoft Store. For customers of both Adobe and Microsoft, this may change how applications are deployed. Softcat internally have both Microsoft and Adobe teams so it is wonderful to see these two creators come together to collaborate in new ways!
There is haptic feedback when using a stylus which could be set to bring numerous accessibility benefits along with this! Haptic feedback will bridge the gap further between drawing on a tablet vs drawing with a pencil and paper. Additionally, the Windows on-screen keyboard has been improved with user preferences to even make it feel and function more like the on-screen keyboard on a phone.
Most people have probably seen the weather update on the taskbar in Windows 10. On Windows 11, this is now called Windows Widgets and can be opened from the left, when on any app. This harks back to the days of Windows Vista with desktop widgets and this new feature will keep us updated on daily activity and upcoming tasks.
An improved feature - applications can snap together with pre-defined layouts that are created based on your monitor. When you dock and undock your device, Windows 11 remembers the layout of your applications on external monitors.
We cannot wait for this feature because, like many, we have grown accustom to using external monitors at home, a laptop on the train journey into the office and then reconnecting additional monitors.
The suggested system requirements for Windows 11 have already raised a few eyebrows, but in reality, Microsoft are still exploring the minimum system requirements.
These are being guided by the principles of security, reliability, and compatibility.
To raise the bar for security and enable protections like Windows Hello, Device Encryption, virtualisation-based security (VBS), hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI) and Secure Boot; Microsoft are confident that Intel 8th generation processor, AMD Zen 2 and Qualcomm 7 & 8 series processors will hit the mark. That is because all Windows 11 supported CPUs will need to have an embedded TPM, support Secure Boot, and support VBS and specific VBS capabilities.
Likewise, those same processor families all match up to Microsoft’s expectations around reliability having all adopted the new Windows Driver model.
And as for compatibility, well we were impressed by the limited compatibility challenges offered up by Windows 10, so expect even fewer compatibility hiccups this time around.
As the Windows Insider releases are consumed and Microsoft’s OEM partners set about testing Windows 11, Microsoft are looking to identify Intel 7th generation and AMD Zen 1 devices that meet their principles.
There is also the Microsoft PC Health Check app which can help you see if your current PC meets the requirements of Windows 11.
Overall, are we looking forward to all the jokes of Windows 10 being the last version? Probably not. But we are looking forward to seeing what this means for the future of the PC. As more details are published, Softcat will be here to guide you, so keep an eye out for more updates on Windows 11 and what is still to come.