Windows 11 will bring a raft of exciting new features and updates to the Microsoft system. Scheduled to be released later this year, Microsoft’s newest operating system goes hand in hand with their recently announced Windows 365 cloud PC – which will only support Windows 10 and 11.

The latest operating system includes a ton of upgrades and new features to boost your user experience. Here are six of the most important new features of Windows 11 and what they mean to you.

A sleek new UI design

Windows 11 will refresh your computer with a clean, modern user interface (UI), with a focus on rounded corners for apps and menus. The Start menu has also been redesigned and will be put in the centre by default — as you can see from the image below.

A preview of the new Windows 11 UI

The new UI simplifies the user experience, maximises flexibility, and removes distractions. It’s also designed to embrace opportunities for creativity. Microsoft has added dark and light modes so you can further customise the look and feel of your PC.

Plus, the desktop includes new snap features, including Snap Layouts and Snap Groups. This feature lets you take your app and ‘snap’ it into place somewhere on your desktop – which can help, for example, if you need two apps open side by side.

Direct Teams integration

Microsoft Teams will be automatically integrated into Windows 11 as an app. You’ll be able to launch Teams from your taskbar.

It’s also being upgraded to a new client currently named Teams 2.0, with new features and capabilities to enable collaboration. The new version of Teams will support multiple accounts, consume approximately 50% less memory, and undergo more consistent updates. It’ll also have general performance improvements over the current Teams.

This also means Skype won’t be pre-installed on Windows 11, with Teams effectively replacing it.

Modern widgets

Back in 2007, when Windows Vista was launched, Microsoft released a widget engine called Windows Desktop Gadgets. These gadgets were mini-apps like Notes, Calendar, Clock, Weather, and other gadgets designed to make life easier for users.

Windows Desktop Gadgets was retired in 2012 with Windows 8, but now Microsoft is releasing their updated version of the gadget engine. Its visuals and core functions will be very similar to the current News feed that’s popped up with the latest Windows 10 update. The Windows 11 version, though, will come with a range of gadgets to customise your feed, including To-Do, Photos, Sports and Esports, Weather, and a host of other possibilities.

Refined virtual desktops

Microsoft is making their virtual desktops feature easier to use in Windows 11. If you don’t know, virtual desktops are already present in Windows 10, where you can toggle between multiple desktops. It’s somewhat similar to navigating between different apps.

Multiple virtual desktops essentially allow you to organise different types of tasks — for example, you could set up one desktop for all work-related tasks with apps like Microsoft Office and Teams, while you use another desktop for recreational activities.

The virtual desktops feature is especially useful if your device only has one screen, as you can now essentially simulate multi-screen functions. It creates a cleaner, simpler user experience compared to hosting dozens of apps all on one screen.

New app store

Microsoft is creating a brand new Microsoft Store for apps and content. When the store opens up, Microsoft will offer both first- and third-party apps, including Teams, Visual Studio, Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Canva. They’ll also add Android apps to Windows.

The new Microsoft Store will offer greater opportunities for app developers. Microsoft will support developers no matter what kind of app framework they use — whether it’s Win32, Progressive Web App (PWA), Xamarin, or any other.

Plus, the company is now offering an incredibly generous revenue share model: developers will keep 100% of revenue if they use their own or a third-party payment system. Otherwise, if they use Microsoft’s native payment system, they’ll pocket 85% of revenue for an app, and 88% of revenue for a game.

Security improvements

Like the new Windows 365 PC, the Windows 11 system is built with Zero Trust principles in place to protect you against the rapidly expanding cyber security landscape. You’ll have encryption, malware prevention, and hardware-based isolation turned on by default.

Microsoft has bolstered the base security level of Windows 11 with a range of features, claiming they will reduce malware by 60%. Plus, the new Windows system are hitting 99.8% uptime for end users in tests conducted by Microsoft’s manufacturing partners.

Microsoft has also made it easier for you to go without passwords while still remaining secure. New Windows 11 devices will be passwordless by default, and they’ve simplified deployment processes to enable an organisation’s IT team to more easily lead a workplace to transition to a passwordless environment.

How can you get Windows 11?

Windows 11 is a free upgrade for anyone with a Windows 10 system, but only if your computer passes the minimum specifications. For a full list, head over to Microsoft’s page here. One of the most important changes is that you won’t be able to upgrade if you have a 32-bit computer; only 64-bit processors will suit Windows 11.

If you need to upgrade your computer to a newer model to host Windows 11, our IT Procurement specialists can help you acquire a PC best suited to your needs