Is it Time to Upgrade to Windows 11?
Updated: Sep 10
Windows 11 has been around since October 2021 and any new Windows computer you purchase nowadays will have the Windows 11 operating system. Of course many people are still running Windows 10 on their computers. In fact, you may even still be running Windows 7 or Windows 8, or an even older version, even though Microsoft no longer supports these operating systems.
If you are still running Windows 10, you may be wondering if you should upgrade to Windows 11, or perhaps whether your computer is even capable of running Windows 11. Let’s take a look at some factors you may need to consider in thinking about whether to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11.
Windows 11 Hardware Requirements
Before you can make a decision about whether to upgrade, you may need to first establish whether your computer is actually capable of having Windows 11 installed. Following are the basic system requirements for your computer to run on Windows 11, as outlined by Microsoft –
Processor: 1 GHz or faster with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
RAM: 4 GB
Storage: at least 64 GB
System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
In order to establish whether your computer meets these requirements you can download and run the PC Health Check app which is available from the Microsoft Store. If you do find your computer reports that it doesn’t meet the requirements, all is not necessarily lost. It may be that all that’s required is a simple tweak of your computer’s UEFI settings. But even if not that simple, it may still be possible to upgrade your computer to Windows 11, and this is something with which I could assist you.
Whilst Windows 11 has a new look and feel, and includes new capabilities and features, I consider the most significant reason to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 to be the improved security built in to Windows 11. The new operating system is significantly more resistant to malware, and this isn’t the only security benefit of Windows 11.
According to PCMag’s lead security analyst, Neil J. Rubenking, Windows 11 is ultra-secure. This is largely due to its requirement for a secure processor called a Trusted Platform Module. This is a hardware component installed in many newer computers by the computer manufacturers.
BitLocker Device Encryption
BitLocker drive encryption is a data protection feature which integrates with Windows and mitigates the risk of data theft or exposure from lost, stolen, or inappropriately decommissioned computers. BitLocker provides the greatest protection when used with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 1.2 or later, and for Windows 11, the requirement is for TPM version 2.0, as mentioned earlier.
With Windows 10, BitLocker encryption was only available on Windows 10 Pro. With Windows 11 however, this security feature is also available in Windows 11 Home and, in fact, is enabled by default when signing in to a new build Windows 11 computer using a Microsoft account.
When BitLocker is enabled for your hard drive, it means that the contents of the drive are encrypted and effectively protected against anyone other than the legitimate user of the device. Should your computer fall into the wrong hands, it wouldn’t be possible for someone to hack their way in. Even if a bad actor was to remove the hard drive/SSD from your computer, they would be unable to access its contents.
The downside of this is that, should you ever find yourself locked out of your computer, for example if you've forgotten your password/PIN and are unable to reset it, you may also be unable to recover access to your own data. A Bitlocker recovery key is stored in your Microsoft account if you are the primary user and administrator of your computer. As long as you have access to your Microsoft account, you should be able to regain access to the computer.
Snap Layouts for Desktop Apps
As you’ll be aware, you can arrange the windows on your desktop in whatever way you want. This capability has always been available in Microsoft Windows. In Windows 10 you can snap a window to the side to fill exactly half the screen or to a corner for an exact quarter of screen. Now in Windows 11 Microsoft has introduced snap layouts. When you move the cursor to hover over the maximise icon at the top right of any window, you’ll be presented with a thumbnail view offering you multiple layout choices. You can even save a layout for a group of apps you want to re-use later in a single taskbar icon.
Improved Multiple Desktops
New docking behaviours in Windows 11 make using a large external monitor a more efficient experience. Windows 11 remembers the window locations on the connected monitor and minimises them when you disconnect, rather than cluttering the smaller screen with app windows. You can also now use different wallpapers on each desktop and the desktop switching interface has been redesigned.
Enhanced tablet mode
Windows 10 includes a traditional tablet mode which means that your PC can display a full-screen start menu experience. Windows 11 doesn’t provide this functionality but its tablet mode is available on 2-in-1 devices which can be used without a keyboard and on touch-only devices. It includes new gestures for opening the start menu, dismissing windows, and more, none of which are available in Windows 10.
If the performance of your computer is important to you then Windows 11 is a winner. According to Microsoft, Windows 11 does a lot of work in memory management to favour the windows you have open which are running in the foreground. These app windows are thus provided with more CPU power than other system resources. Windows 11 also suspends some data in RAM while your PC sleeps, helping it to wake from sleep 25% faster than Windows 10.
Windows 11 is certainly more efficient than Windows 10, but the differences are minimal in real-world use. The various optimisations in Windows 11 help it to run faster on weaker laptops, but in general its performance isn’t markedly superior to that of Windows 10.
Try before you buy
One piece of great news if you are thinking of upgrading from Windows 10 is that you can trial Windows 11 on your computer for ten days. Following the trial period, if you’ve upgraded a Windows 10 device, your only option would be to reinstall Windows 10 via a clean installation. However, within the ten day trial period, you can revert to Windows 10 at any time.
I’ve described a number of factors which may motivate you to want to upgrade your computer from Windows 10 to Windows 11. Whilst the attractive new layout, and the addition of some new and improved features, may be sufficient reason to make the change, in my view the most significant factor is the additional security provided in Windows 11.
If you require assistance with upgrading your computer from Windows 10 to Windows 11, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Even if your computer has reported that it doesn't meet the minimum system requirements to run Windows 11, I should be able to upgrade it for you, as long as it’s not an old 32-bit machine, or a computer which doesn’t support UEFI booting. The latter would only apply to computers which are more than 10 or so years old.
Norm’s Computer Services offers computer repairs, upgrades and a wide range of other computer and IT support services in a wide range of Brisbane suburbs, and throughout Ipswich, Logan and the Redlands. If you’re located in one of these regions, then I’m here to help.