Windows 11 – Our thoughts and recommendations

With the launch of Windows 11, ComputerWorld’s Microsoft experts, Barry Coombs and Oli Restorick, have composed an insightful article to inform and propose a strategy for those organisations wondering about Windows 11. 

Taking the natural path from its predecessor.  

Microsoft said at its launch that Windows 10 was going to be their last operating system, so it was in some ways a shock that they announced Windows 11 would be launched in October 2021. Microsoft highlighted that Windows 11 was built around the principles of security, reliability, and compatibility. But rather than it being a completely new innovative operating system, Windows 11 seems like a natural evolution of Windows 10.  

Windows 11 has been built with the users at the forefront. Windows 11 has not been created to ‘wow’ its users with a brand-new desktop or hundreds of new features but has been built to ensure it is easy to use. There certainly are some new features, however as the new interface is not radically different from Windows 10, users will not require training to use it, making the migration to the new system less disruptive to organisations.  

Also, with many users having dual monitors/ultrawide monitors in their home offices and workplace, Windows 11 has better support for them. For example, if you close an application, it will remember which screen that application was running on and will open on the same screen next time.  

With one of the key principles in Windows 11 being security, Microsoft have reinforced this focus by enabling many of the security features and settings as default. This is a change from Windows 10, where many of the security settings were disabled as default.

When asking the question ‘should we adopt Windows 11?’ it is inevitable that your Windows 10 users will become Windows 11 users sooner or later. Although Microsoft has promised to support Windows 10 until 2025, it will be increasingly difficult to stick with Windows 10 in years to come. For businesses, most will not want to adopt Windows 11 immediately, however, we believe that between 6-12 months after Windows 11’s release will be an ideal timeframe to look to transition.  

But are my devices compatible? 

While there were fewer restrictions for device compatibility with Windows 10, Windows 11 has changed its minimum requirements in different areas. So, if you are thinking of upgrading to Windows 11, make sure your devices are compatible, as even a device that runs Windows 10 may not run Windows 11. To check an individual PC for compatibility with Windows 11, you can download and run the PC Health Check App from here. For detailed system requirements, check out Microsoft’s documentation here. 

There are two key areas that could be potential restrictions when assessing compatibility. These are detailed below.

The first firm requirement for a device to be Windows 11 compatible is that it must have a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) version 2.0. A TPM is a small chip found on the motherboard of relatively new devices. It is used to help encrypt your device, so it’s an effective way to secure Windows on devices. Unfortunately, if your device doesn’t have a TPM chip, you can’t retrofit it on the motherboard. Windows 11 is centred around security; it needs the device it is on to also be secure. 

Secondly, Windows 11 needs Secure Boot capabilities to be present. Secure Boot is a security feature that blocks malware from infecting the operating system and ensures the integrity of Windows files on the disk during boot. Many devices do have Secure Boot capability, but sometimes it needs to be enabled on the device (you can find help with this here). 

ComputerWorld’s recommendations for installing Windows 11 

So, from these potential compatibility issues, ComputerWorld’s Microsoft experts suggest a methodical approach before a company-wide rollout of Windows 11.   

ComputerWorld suggest that a Windows 11 rollout project should not be approached in the same way that you adopted older versions, such as Windows 7 or Windows 10.  

As Windows 10 does not retire until October 2025, organisations and users have plenty of time to prepare for this update. Take this opportunity to look at modern management tools to aid with such things as unified endpoint management. Technologies like Windows Autopilot and Intune can be used to roll out new Windows 11 (and 10) devices with minimal involvement from IT staff.  

Formulating a plan of action well in advance allows your organisation to re-evaluate its IT operations from both the users’ and IT management’s perspectives.  

Using the same system across the organisation provides all users with the same experience. Rolling out Windows 11, however, should be done over time to ensure smooth adoption.  

We propose that organisations undertake the following approach:  

  1. Look into the different types of devices that you have within your company.  
  2. Test each type of device to assess if your hardware has the capabilities to run Windows 11.  
  3. From there, understand if there are any issues, (e.g., a PC doesn’t have a TPM chip) and look at whether there are any opportunities to buy new compatible hardware. 
  4. Plan and document your staged approach to follow.

As mentioned before, Windows 10 is not being retired until 2025, so there is time to plan, prepare and review other issues.