Microsoft is back with a new version of Windows that’s designed to feel modern and easy to use.
It’s been six long years since the last mainline version of Windows shipped, and a lot has changed in the OS space since then. Microsoft is back with a roaring passion to create a modern version of the Windows user experience that’s simple to use, beautifully designed, and well-connected, all in an effort to make you more productive in your professional or creative workflows.
Windows 11: Availability
Windows 11 is now generally available as an update for eligible Windows 10 PCs. Microsoft is taking a measured and phased approach to the rollout, however, meaning not everybody will be offered the update immediately. When your PC is ready, a big popup will appear in Windows Update that will allow you to initiate the download and install process, and Windows will do the rest.
Your PC must meet the following requirements to be eligible for the Windows 11 upgrade:
０ A compatible CPU ０ At least 64GB of storage
０ At least 4GB of RAM ０ UEFI, Secure Boot, & TPM 2.0 enabled
Windows 11: What’s new
Windows 11 focuses on three key areas: a fresh and modern UX designed to make using Windows simpler, new features and tweaks built around making you more productive, and a renewed focus on the Microsoft Store.
Most of the top-level user interfaces have been updated with a fresh look with new animations, iconography, and sounds. Everything from the Start menu and Taskbar right down to the context menus and in-box apps have been updated to look more consistent with the rest of the new Windows 11 design.
Android apps are now available for Windows 11 through the Microsoft Store, via the Amazon Appstore. (There were a couple of ways to access Android apps on Windows 10, including if you had a Samsung Galaxy phone, but this will make it native.) This is something Windows users have been waiting for for years and marks another move toward the merging of mobile and laptop devices.
Security and scanning
The security and privacy features in Windows 11 are similar to Windows 10. Security for your devices starts with the hardware, and includes OS security, application security, and user & identity security. There are features available in the Windows OS to help in these areas. This section describes some of these features. For a more comprehensive view, including zero trust, see Windows security.
The Windows Security app is built into the OS. This app is an easy-to-use interface, and combines commonly used security features. For example, your get access to virus & threat protection, firewall & network protection, account protection, and more.
For more information, see the Windows Security app.
Security baselines includes security settings that already configured, and ready to be deployed to your devices. If you don’t know where to start, or it’s too time consuming to go through all the settings, then you should look at Security Baselines.
For more information, see Windows security baselines.
Microsoft Defender Antivirus is built into Windows, and helps protect devices using next-generation security. When used with Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, your organization gets strong endpoint protection, and advanced endpoint protection & response. If you use Endpoint Manager to manage devices, then you can create policies based on threat levels in Microsoft Defender for Endpoint.
The Application Security features help prevent unwanted or malicious code from running, isolate untrusted websites & untrusted Office files, protect against phishing or malware websites, and more.
Windows Hello for Business helps protect users and identities. It replaces passwords, and uses a PIN or biometric that stays locally on the device. Device manufacturers are including more secure hardware features, such as IR cameras and TPM chips. These features are used with Windows Hello for Business to help protect user identities on your organization devices.
As an admin, going password less help secures user identities. The Windows OS, Azure AD, and Endpoint Manager work together to remove passwords, create more secure policies, and help enforce compliance.
Customize the desktop experience
Snap Layouts, Snap Groups: When you open an app, hover your mouse over the minimize/maximize option. When you do, you can select a different layout for the app:
This feature allows users to customize the sizes of apps on their desktop. And, when you add other apps to the layout, the snapped layout stays in place.
When you add your apps in a Snap Layout, that layout is saved in a Snap Group. In the taskbar, when you hover over an app in an existing snap layout, it shows all the apps in that layout. This feature is the Snap Group. You can select the group, and the apps are opened in the same layout. As you add more Snap Groups, you can switch between them just by selecting the Snap Group.
Users can manage some snap features using the Settings app > System > Multitasking. For more information on the end-user experience, see Snap your windows.
You can also add Snap Layouts to apps your organization creates. For more information, see Support snap layouts for desktop apps on Windows 11.
Start menu: The Start menu includes some apps that are pinned by default. You can customize the Start menu layout by pinning (and unpinning) the apps you want. For example, you can pin commonly used apps in your organization, such as Outlook, Microsoft Teams, apps your organization creates, and more.
Using policy, you can deploy your customized Start menu layout to devices in your organization. For more information, see Customize the Start menu layout on Windows 11.
Users can manage some Start menu features using the Settings app > Personalization. For more information on the end-user experience, see See what’s on the Start menu.
Taskbar: You can also pin (and unpin) apps on the Taskbar. For example, you can pin commonly used apps in your organization, such as Outlook, Microsoft Teams, apps your organization creates, and more.
Using policy, you can deploy your customized Taskbar to devices in your organization. For more information, see Customize the Taskbar on Windows 11.
Users can manage some Taskbar features using the Settings app > Personalization.
Widgets: Widgets are available on the Taskbar. It includes a personalized feed that could be weather, calendar, stock prices, news, and more:
You can enable/disable this feature using the
Computer ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesWindows ComponentswidgetsGroup Policy. You can also deploy a customized Taskbar to devices in your organization. For more information, see Customize the Taskbar on Windows 11.
Virtual desktops: On the Taskbar, you can select the Desktops icon to create a new desktop:
Use the desktop to open different apps depending on what you’re doing. For example, you can create a Travel desktop that includes web sites and apps that are focused on travel.
Using policy, you can deploy a customized Taskbar to devices in your organization. For more information, see Customize the Taskbar on Windows 11.
Users can manage some desktop features using Settings app > System > Multitasking. For more information on the end-user experience, see Multiple desktops in Windows.
Android apps will be coming to Windows 11 via the Amazon Appstore, which will be accessible from within the updated Microsoft Store. There were a couple of ways to access Android apps on Windows 10, especially if you had a Samsung Galaxy phone, but this will make it native. (Note that Android apps will not be available upon the initial release of Windows 11.)
Widgets in Windows 11