Windows 11 is Out, Here’s What You Need to Know

The centered taskbar buttons, New App Store, Auto HDR and more!

The centered taskbar buttons, New App Store, Auto HDR and more!

Windows 11 Officially Released
Image: Unsplash

The long-awaited new Windows 11 is finally here and Microsoft has started rolling it out on the eligible devices, it’s a completely free upgrade for people with Windows 10 but some of the users might have gotten the upgrade prompt on the launch day (Oct 5) while others may still be in the queue.

Microsoft is rolling out this new OS in phases and according to a blog post from Microsoft back in august; the company expects “all eligible devices to be offered the free upgrade to Windows 11 by mid-2022.", but you don’t have to wait and if you’re running out of patience like me, I’d suggest downloading the “Windows 11 Installation Assistant”, choose run after the download to make sure your hardware is compatible, then; Accept and Install to agree to the licensing terms and begin the installation. When the program is finished installing, you'll be prompted to restart your computer. Your PC might restart several times during the process of finishing the installation which is normal part of the routine when installing a new OS, after the wait; boom the new OS is ready for you to enjoy.

Let’s talk about what new things Windows 11 brings in for us end-users on the table. The most obvious and beautiful change is the redesigned User Interface (UI), Microsoft really messed up with the design here and in a good way; the taskbar buttons are now focused in the center though it can be moved back with two-clicks but it wouldn’t give the feeling of a new windows, would it? Widgets have made a comeback, the theme has become more rounder and softer, edges no longer have a right angle but instead are rounded and the level of control you have over arranging the windows on the screen has increased. Another feature (or is it?) that Microsoft has brought in is they are putting an end to Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) and introducing (or renaming it) the Black Screen of Death which is more fitting considering what happens if you manage to summon a BSOD.

Windows 11 also features a newer version of Microsoft Store, a brand-new interface and with a broader selection of apps. It has better-curated digital storefront and it is faster than its predecessor, "We rebuilt for speed", said Panos Panay during the Windows 11 announcement. The new look will arrive in Windows 10 as well (good for the users with lower specs, right?).

One astonishing thing about the new store is that you will be able to run the android apps on your pc, for this purpose Microsoft has sided with Amazon to bring its particular brand of apps to the Microsoft Store, but you'll be able to sideload APK files from other sources as well. The new store will also feature apps for other storefronts too, such as Epic and Amazon.

Microsoft claims that this Windows was built for gamers; "The best Windows ever for PC Gaming." And they delivered on their promise in the form of two features i.e., Auto HDR and Direct Storage. Auto HDR gives games a boost; it's a technology that Microsoft has used on the Xbox Series X/S. It doesn't work with every game, although Microsoft says that any DirectX 11 game should benefit from it. An HDR compatible screen is needed to enjoy this feature obviously. Microsoft showed off the technology at the Windows 11 announcement event using Skyrim, which certainly had a more refined and vibrant look.

What direct storage will do is drastically reduce the game and textures loading time while reducing the strain on the CPU ultimately giving a performance boost. This feature is rather controversial or unneeded as the modern NVME SSDs make this possible and I personally think impact of this ‘new’ feature could end up being rather negligible in today's gaming PCs.

Moving on to the hefty system requirements set by Microsoft, you will need at least an 8th Gen Intel CPU Or a second gen+ AMD Ryzen CPU with TPM 2.0 inside to be able to install this Windows and users with lower specs can look for a workaround but we won’t recommend it since you won’t be receiving any updates from the company. Other requirements are generic i.e., 4 GB Ram, 64 GB Storage, UEFI, Secure Boot capable system firmware and a DX 12 compatible Graphics card and a 9-inch 720p display.

Let’s hope more features are added to this new version of Windows and Microsoft makes it worth upgrading for us (they can start by removing the existing bugs at least).

by Talha Shaikhani