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Microsoft Windows: When a 10 isn’t Enough, Score an 11

When Microsoft rolled out Windows 10 just a few short years ago, they said that would be their last operating system (OS). Everything from then on would be an update. Guess what? Windows 11 is coming, and we got an early look on our test machine.

We were able to get this early version of Windows 11 because we’re part of a program to see early on what’s under the hood. Whatever we see is likely to change. Developers and others are already sending in suggestions, which Microsoft will take under advisement. The rollout of the new OS is scheduled for early 2022. Microsoft will let us know the minimum hardware requirements as they get closer to a release date, and they will likely let us know the order in which automatic updates will be provided to Windows 10 users with systems that meet their specs.

The minimum RAM (random access memory) for Windows 11 will be 4 gigabytes, which should be good for most computers. Windows 11 Home edition is expected to require an internet connection and a Microsoft account to complete device setup on first use. All Windows 11 editions will require internet access to perform updates and to download and take advantage of some features. A Microsoft account will be required for some features.

However, there has been a lot of talk about requiring the TPM (Trusted Platform Module) for security reasons, and older consumer-grade computers may not meet this requirement. (Just so you know, all computers we sell will meet this requirement.)

We were able to install the new OS without any problems. The GUI and OS function all seemed to be the same as Windows 10, or you can make it at least look like Windows 10. Since the introduction of Windows 95 – 25 years ago, the menu has been on the left. With our test version, it was in the center, but we quickly put it on the left side by using the “Classic” mode.

Microsoft’s promotional video touts new themes, widgets and features for gaming as well as better compatibility with Android-based apps. So far, however, we’ve found the functionality to be essentially the same as with Windows 10. That makes us wonder why Microsoft is moving ahead with Windows 11 after the company had been so adamant that every update and upgrade would be an iteration of 10.

Is it a marketing move? We’ll see. But if it leads to the death – finally – of Windows 7 and 8, which are increasingly difficult to support for the IT industry, then I’ll be happy. If not, those older systems are living on borrowed time. Anyone who follows all the ransomware hacks here and in general and business news reports should realize by now that you must have up-to-date technology (hardware and software) to protect your online lives – and those of anyone you interact with online.

In addition to installing the early version of Windows 11, we also installed the beta version of Apple’s iOS 15 on an iPhone and iPad. Again, it’s early, but you can install it on any device that runs iOS 14. Backward compatibility extends all the way back to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus from September 2015. However, not every compatible iPhone will get every iOS 15 feature.

New features include a portrait mode for FaceTime to blur the background, spatial audio and augmented maps for things such as walking directions. We covered some tracking features in iOS 14.5 last month, and iOS 15 looks to continue those privacy efforts, highlighted by a new App Privacy Report feature in Settings that will detail just how frequently apps access your location, photos, camera, microphone and contacts. That way, you can revoke permissions if an app’s being a little too aggressive.

If you’re thinking of upgrading any computer or device, contact us by phone – 973-433-6676 – or email to talk about what new models might best meet your needs.