It seems like Windows 10 is still the “new” operating system. But it’s been out for 6 years now, putting it well into middle age in technology terms. It’s due for retirement in just a little over four years.
So, the timing of the Windows 11 announcement makes perfect sense. This latest Windows OS version is due out later this year and it’s focused on improving upon the framework laid by its predecessor.
When planning for business continuity, it’s important to keep the operating system lifecycle in mind so you’re not left operating unsafe or unsupported systems, which could hurt your company.
It’s critical to plan ahead before any major upgrade, so things go smoothly and you avoid unnecessary downtime. We’ll go through everything you need to know below about:
- Details & features for Windows 11
- How to plan for an upgrade
Windows 11 Features
Windows 11 is focused on productivity and helping users do things faster, which is why it’s an OS upgrade companies may want to make sooner rather than later.
Multiple accessibility upgrades make your PC more customizable for those with poor eyesight, hearing loss, and other challenges.
Let’s take a look at some of the key new features you’ll see with Windows 11.
Click to Video Chat from Your Taskbar
With the rise of the video call since the pandemic, Microsoft has been beefing up Teams to be the ultimate online work hub and video meeting software.
In Windows 11, Microsoft Teams is natively integrated and has an icon on the taskbar. Users can click to initiate an online meeting from the Teams icon without needing to open the full program. This makes it easier to connect via quick calls on the fly without having to go through several steps.
All Windows 11 images are from Microsoft
Snap Layouts for Easier Multi-Tasking
A common challenge for PC users trying to multi-task within multiple windows and apps is trying to fit them on the screen at the same time.
Many people end up switching between windows all day long, which is a drag on productivity. Resizing windows so you can see more than one at a time is time-consuming and it can be frustrating to get them “just right” for scrolling.
Windows 11 includes a solution for this called snap layouts. This is a set of 6 different window layouts that automatically size between 2-4 windows for the optimal positioning on your screen.
The Most Accessible Windows Ever
Microsoft Calls Windows 11 the most accessible version it has ever made. It includes several enhancements to improve accessibility and a brand-new Windows Voice Typing tool that anyone can appreciate. It uses state-of-the-art AI for intelligent speech recognition and accurate transcription that automatically punctuates text.
Some of the other accessibility features in this OS version include:
- Improved color filters and contrast settings
- Better closed captions
- Assistive technologies from partners, such as screen readers, CART services, and magnification programs
- Sound schemes
- New color themes for those with light sensitivity
Customizable Widget-Powered Feed
Windows 11 brings a personalized news and information feed that you can access from your desktop. You can include app windows (calendar, task list, etc.) and information widgets for things like weather, stocks, and headlines.
Simplified Start Menu
The Start menu is streamlined significantly in Windows 11. This goes with the theme of making things “cleaner” and easier to find, and basically more distraction-free.
You’ll also see that the Start menu icon has moved from the far left to the middle of the taskbar and the search bar is now tucked inside the Start menu, at the top.
Steps for Planning a Company-Wide Operating System Upgrade
Review System Requirements & Check PCs for Compatibility
You’ll want to check your users’ computers to see which have the minimum requirements to upgrade to Windows 11 and which may need to be replaced.
The upgrade is expected to roll out around the holidays of 2021 and early 2022, so now is the perfect time to plan for and budget any upgrades needed.
You can use Microsoft’s PC Health Check tool to quickly see if a computer can be upgraded. You can download that here.
Budget for a Professional Upgrade & Get it Pre-Scheduled
For compatible systems, you won’t have to pay for the Windows 11 upgrade, it’s free for Windows 10 users. But you will want to budget for a professional to smoothly upgrade your company computers.
An operating system upgrade is not something you want users to do themselves. If there are any problems, their device could be down for hours. It will also take an IT pro much less time to do the upgrade because it’s what we do!
Train Users on the New OS Before it Rolls Out
Plan to have Windows 11 training for your users right before the upgrade, so they’ll already be familiar with the new features and can hit the ground running!
You want to train them before the upgrade, but not too far in advance. Otherwise, they may forget things before they can use the OS on their computer. One to two weeks before your upgrade is perfect for them to retain the information and use it.
Pre-Schedule Your Windows 11 Upgrade with Rocky Knoll
Rocky Knoll Technologies can help your Charlotte area business prepare for this major upgrade and ensure your users are well-prepared to take advantage of the new features.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call 704.594.7292 or reach us online.