- Windows 11 has been available in the UK as a free upgrade for most users now for a month – but should you be making the leap to Microsoft’s new operating system?
- Business users have established workflows engrained on their existing computing systems, so is migrating to Windows 11 worth their time and effort? Or should they stick with what they know?
- In this article, we’ll share the pros and cons businesses need to consider before deciding whether or not to make the change to Windows 11 and the many new features and tools it brings.
You’d be forgiven for not noticing that there’s a brand-new version of Windows on the market.
Windows 11 hit (digital) shelves on October 5th 2021 and it’s safe to say that Microsoft are taking the rollout somewhat conservatively. While most Windows 10 users are eligible for the upgrade (just check your update screen for the option to make the jump), Microsoft isn’t yet actively pushing the update automatically.
So, if you’ve been comfortable with Windows 10 for the last six years, why would you want to change now? Ostensibly, the newer operating system should be the better option… right? Well, if some reviews are anything to go by, there’s still some mixed feelings out there – especially for business users.
So, let’s play this one fairly by taking a closer look at the pros and cons of upgrading to Windows 11 for business users.
Pro: Deep integration with Microsoft Teams
We’ll begin our positive list of Windows 11 features with something that many modern businesses will appreciate: the Microsoft Teams integration.
With hundreds of millions of daily active users, Microsoft Teams has quickly become one of the premier digital workspace platforms – and Windows 11 has been built to reflect that.
It’s so integrated into the OS, in fact, that Teams users will find an icon on the Taskbar by default. This button will display a user’s most recent interactions with team members, and allows them to launch into a Chat or Meet session in just a couple of clicks.
Con: Increased system requirements
Windows 10 has been around since 2015, but even at launch, it never put too much demand on any system. This is an OS which operates on tablets, netbooks, and even smartphones (for a while at least).
You’d imagine that Windows 11 would follow in its footsteps with a lightweight list of requirements, but that’s not quite true. Current system recommendations from Microsoft are:
- 1GHz+ 64-bit dual-core CPU
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage
- Graphics card (GPU) with support for DirectX 12 or later
- At least 720p screen greater than 9’ diagonally
- Support for TPM 2.0
While these aren’t astronomical requirements, certainly they exclude several older pieces of hardware – especially the graphics requirement and TPM 2.0 (as you can discover in our dedicated article).
Pro: A sleek new visual experience
While we list the high(er) system requirements as a con for Windows 11, the need for a greater graphical horsepower does come with an upside: a stunning visual upgrade across the board.
As anyone who has used Windows 11 will attest, the moment-to-moment experience is smoother and slicker than ever before. Plus, additions like Snap Layouts mean that your productivity also gets a bump — while looking fresh and modern at the same time. There’s no question here that Microsoft has taken a page from Apple’s book of user interface design, and that’s no bad thing.
Con: No more Cortana (sort of)
Hands up who used Cortana in Windows 10 more than twice?
Okay, we might be being a little unfair to Microsoft’s digital personal assistant, but there’s no doubt Cortana didn’t blaze a trail in the same way that Siri or Amazon Echo have done in recent years. Microsoft seems to have noticed this, too, because Cortana has been squirrelled away in the form of a single app for Windows 11.
We list this as a con simply because the out-of-the-box functionality, while perhaps not widely adopted, was certainly a step up for anyone who preferred voice for accessibility. Luckily, the same functionality is still available via the Cortana app in Windows 11 — it just won’t be there by default like it used to be.
Pro: The all-new Start Menu
The Start Menu – and the Taskbar along with it – are perhaps the most immediately recognisable changes in Windows 11.
As soon as you launch into the OS for the first time, you’ll notice that the Start button is now centralised on the bottom Taskbar in a style reminiscent of Apple’s design language in its macOS line of products.
But the changes don’t end with the location of these elements. The way the Start Menu operates is now entirely different.
Rather than showing you a folder structure including all of your installed apps, and other links off to documents, Control Panel, Settings, and so on, the Start Menu is instead kept very minimalistic. You can pin the apps you use most so they appear at the top of the menu, and you’ll see smart recommendations of apps and files you might want to use, but the experience centres a lot around the search bar. You can simply start typing a few letters and be able to discover your local files, cloud files in OneDrive, installed apps, websites, and more.
This “omnisearch” is designed to streamline your experience… but it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Con: The all-new Start Menu
Don’t worry — you didn’t misread that.
Our point here is that the new Start Menu and Taskbar, while well-designed and visually appealing — especially for those who are all-in on the Microsoft ecosystem — are still a point of controversy for some people.
As we mentioned earlier, the Windows team has clearly taken some inspiration from Apple in terms of their design, centralising the Start Menu and Taskbar in the style of a dock on macOS. If you’re a long-time Windows user, this change might not sit well with you, especially if you have the “Click Start” muscle memory ingrained as many of us do.
Luckily, you can set the Taskbar so that it’s aligned in the bottom-left corner, but the omnisearch-focused Start menu remains a fixture. If you’re used to clicking into the folders to access your apps from the Windows 10 Start menu, it might take you a while to get the hang of the new Windows 11 experience – and the loss of direct control it may involve.
Pro: Better collaboration and productivity (especially for 365 subscribers)
We’ve already covered the way that Microsoft Teams is woven into the DNA of Windows 11, but that ethos extends even further.
If you’re a subscriber of Microsoft 365, Windows 11 really does have a lot more to offer than it does for non-subscribers. This is because almost every part of the operating system is, in some way, connected to the cloud services provided by 365.
For example, when you use the search bar in the Start Menu, it doesn’t just search your PC like it used to, but all of your OneDrive files too. Likewise, you’ll find one-click buttons across the operating system – including on the taskbar – which allow you to ‘Meet Now’ via that Teams integration. Additionally, you’ll be able to use Snap Groups to save screen layouts via the cloud then resume them on an entirely different device – all you have to do is be signed in to your Microsoft account.
In short, Windows 11 is a connected experience – for better and for worse.
Con: The curse of the early adopter
As we’ve noted a couple of times throughout this article, Windows 11 is certainly not a stranger to teething pains.
Anyone who has ever upgraded to a large-scale piece of software like an operating system early in its life cycle will know that bugs are par for the course. With Windows 11 being just a few weeks old, you can expect there to be certain problems with app compatibility, device support, and certain new issues specific to Windows 11 which Microsoft will patch in time.
Just looking around the internet, it’s clear that the operating system’s first month hasn’t been without its problems. Users have been reporting hiccups with installation, the search functionality, Windows Widgets not working, memory leaks, and more.
The bottom line here is that, if you do choose to upgrade as an early adopter… expect the unexpected.
Make upgrade decisions easier with Get Support
As with all things, the decision to upgrade to Windows 11 (or not) is very much yours to make. Nobody knows your business better than you do, so you’re best placed to decide if the pros outweigh the cons.
That said, if you’re not overly familiar with your company’s IT setup, or you’re unsure about any aspect of the upgrade or rollout process for Windows 11, the IT experts at Get Support are here to help. We’ve already worked with many UK businesses on their Windows 11 migrations, and we’d love to help you too.
To talk about Windows 11 upgrades for your business, call our team today on 01865 594 000 or just enter your details into the form at the bottom of this page.