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Windows 11 Is Almost Here, but Should You Care?

Published: 10-14-2021

On the 5th of October, barring any delays, Microsoft will release Windows 11 to everyone. If youíre currently a Windows 10 user, thereís a good chance youíre eligible for an upgrade, but should you jump at the chance or wait for a little while?

TPM and CPU Confusion

Before we get into the features and (potential) fails of Windows 11, we have to mention the utter confusion around the minimum requirements for Windows 11.

When they were first released, Windows 11ís requirements excluded any system without a hardware TPM (Trusted Platform Module) of at least version 2.0. Firmware TPMs included on modern processors would also suffice, as long as your motherboard firmware allows you to toggle the option on. Thereís still a chance that motherboard manufacturers will release BIOS updates in a bid to keep their products relevant.

After releasing the initial requirements, Microsoft has backtracked a little and now some 7th-generation Intel CPUs are supported, but nominally only Coffee Lake Intel CPUs and Ryzenís second generation and up are supported.

In a further turn of events, Microsoft will no longer block the installation of Windows on unsupported computers. However, you need to manually install the operating system using an ISO file and there are many compromises, not least of which is that Microsoft will not officially support the OS on systems that donít meet the security requirements.

The Key Features in Windows 11

Since weíre getting an entirely new operating system, itís hard to really encompass everything that might make it worthwhile. There are numerous usability and utility feature changes and weíre sure plenty thatís hidden away in the corners of the documentation.

However, a decision to make an OS upgrade generally hinges on big key features. For our readers, the most important ones will relate to performance, security and stability.

Gamers should perhaps be the most excited since Microsoft has baked in a lot of the technology developed for its latest Xbox consoles. AutoHDR and DirectStorage are probably just the tips of the iceberg, but if youíre a cutting-edge PC gamer Windows 11 could be a big deal.

For mainstream work, the UI has been overhauled and software such as Microsoft Teams is now integrated.

On the security front, the strict requirements tell us that Microsoft is serious about security and leaving legacy exploits behind. Of course, for all we know there may be zero-day exploits or numerous security holes discovered as the final version hits the market. Only time will tell.

In terms of stability, having an OS and kernel stripped of some legacy baggage might help, but history teaches us that new major versions of Windows usually have plenty of issues as the software encounters the variety of real PCs out in the wild, as opposed to a small group of beta testers.

Why You Should Wait on Upgrading to Windows 11

If you use your computer for mission-critical work, sensitive data storage and have no alternative computer for that purpose, we strongly recommend you wait before upgrading to Windows 11. Itís prudent to ensure that your systems drivers and software are all properly updated for Windows 11 and that no major bugs or security holes are uncovered. If you want to try Windows 11 in a virtual machine or on a computer that isnít mission-critical, there is of course no particular reason to wait.

Windows 10 is Still Around for a While

There really is no pressure to upgrade from Windows 10 right away. Officially support for Windows 10 will end on October 14th, 2025. So thatís another four years at least, by which time youíre likely to move to a new computer anyway. Itís certainly enough time for the rough edges of Windows 11 to be smoothed down after launch.

Consider Linux (Or Something Else)

If you have a computer thatís not going to work with Windows 11, what can you do with it after the Windows 10 support phase ends? Assuming that the core hardware still has the useful performance to offer, you could consider trying an operating system other than Windows. Plenty of Windows applications work fine thanks to solutions like WINE (or Proton for games) and when it comes to serious professional software packages there are often native Linux versions anyway. So these computers still have some potential as workstations.