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Windows 11 Is Here – Should You Upgrade?

Microsoft shocked the world a few months ago when it announced it would be releasing a new version of its market-leading computer operating system, Windows. This version, named Windows 11, would introduce new features and look quite a bit different to its predecessor. 

The most surprising thing about the announcement was the fact that there actually was an announcement. When it released Windows 10 in 2015, Microsoft said that this would be the last version of the OS and that it would simply push new features in annual updates. 

After six years, the tech giant’s plans have clearly changed, and so in early October, Windows 11 became available on new machines and to download as a free upgrade for users of Windows 10. 

Should you upgrade though? Microsoft has a patchy history of making new versions of Windows, with some smash hits like XP, 7, and 10, but it’s also had some flops, including ME, Vista, and 8. This early on, it may not be entirely clear which group Windows 11 falls into, so let’s look at what we do know. 

Gaming

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One of the claims that Microsoft makes about Windows 11 is that it provides the “latest in PC gaming performance”. If you are a serious gamer, the new operating system offers some tantalizing features, one of which is DirectStorage. 

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This system is supposed to allow games to load up instantly as they do on the Xbox Series X, provided you have a compatible SSD installed on your system. It can also reduce CPU resources, so there’s less overhead putting strain on your system. To take advantage of DirectStorage, you will also need a GPU that can handle DirectX 12 Ultimate. 

Of course, resource-intensive games are not the only type of content you can play on a PC. Browser-based games that use HTML5 to run natively within Chrome, Edge, or other similar applications remain incredibly popular. 

Video slots are also some of the most played games available on Windows, thanks to the huge variety of titles that many online casinos offer. Leading sites are continually adding new options like The Goonies Return and The Sand Princess, ensuring every taste is catered for. 

For these types of games, there’s little to be gained from upgrading just yet as there will be no performance or experience benefit offered by Windows 11. 

Productivity

Some of the most talked-about features in Windows 11 are the small upgrades to the interface that will make things like multitasking easier. 

One of the most prominent changes is the repositioning of the taskbar, centering it at the bottom rather than it being aligned to the left. On its own, this doesn’t make much difference, but it offers all the information you’ll need right at your fingertips. 

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The snap feature is also improved. Instead of just being able to snap windows to either side of the screen, you have more layout options, including the chance to have three snapped windows display side-by-side. 

You can then save these layouts in “Snap Groups” so opening one program opens them all snapped together. When you combine this with the upgraded multiple desktop feature, you’ll be able to multitask like a pro. 

If multitasking leaves you distracted, the new Focus Sessions feature may be able to help. It lets you choose a task from your To-Do account, select some music, and then choose how long you want to work for. 

However, given that there are a few launch-day bugs that still need to be ironed out, you may want to wait to upgrade for a few weeks. 

Security

Security has been a big focus for Microsoft when building Windows 11, and its confusing TPM 2.0 requirement has left many people unsure about whether they even can upgrade their older PC. There are workarounds in case your computer only has TPM 1.2 installed, but it’s still a little fiddly. 

That’s not the only security improvement in Windows 11. Microsoft has gone all-in on virtualization and its Hypervisor that helps keep applications in secured silos, protecting other parts of the computer. 

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Depending on the age of your computer, you may not be able to take advantage of some of the security features though. For example, if you don’t have a machine that supports Secure Core, then you won’t benefit from the firmware-level protection that Windows 11 has on newer devices. 

If security is a concern for you, then you likely already have your Windows 10 PC locked down pretty well. In which case, unless you have a computer that is nearly brand new, there won’t be much to gain from Windows 11 immediately.

In all these cases, Windows 11 offers new features and benefits that will make your computer better, easier, and more secure. That said, unless you have a burning desire to try out these new features, it may be best to hold off for a little while so Microsoft can squash a few more bugs.

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