As Windows 11 version 22H2 nears its mainstream release, Microsoft has released "guided simulations" of the latest version of Windows to help organizations and staff who might be hesitant to upgrade from stable Windows 10.
Windows 11 might be the future for the OS, but take up so far has been pretty gradual. Slow adoption is fine since Microsoft will support Windows 10 until October 2025, but Microsoft is trying to persuade enterprise customers that Windows 11 security enhancements make it worth upgrading – so long as their hardware meets the minimum requirements.
Microsoft is confident most customers will have refreshed their hardware sufficiently before 2025, so that customers aren't left behind. But Microsoft would prefer more organizations upgrade now – as it has done already.
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The "guided simulations of Windows 11 functionality" show IT pros and end users how similar Windows 11 is to Windows 10, and simulate how Microsoft deployed Windows 11 across its users.
"They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so we've created guided simulations of Windows 11 functionality to help you, the IT pro, see the similarities with Windows 10 and show your employees how familiar the experience is," Microsoft says in a blogpost.
Microsoft's four simulations for deploying Windows 11 aim to: help familiarize employees with the OS pre-upgrade; demo cloud printer deployment with Universal Print; show the process of moving from Windows 10 to Windows 11; and demonstrate using Autopilot to deploy Windows 11. (Autopilot was a Windows 10 feature that handles device setups after an upgrade.)
These are "click-through simulations" that present IT pros and general employees with "the actual experience of Windows 11 and Microsoft cloud-based management tools."
Users can expect to see employees from Microsoft's fictional 100,000-employee multinational company, Contoso, making Windows 11 part of their normal hybrid workday, for example, by using Microsoft software to print from an iPhone.
In the simulations, there's Megan, the end user, and Allan, the IT pro.
"Allan deploys Windows 11 to new and existing company devices. He deploys Universal Print to move print infrastructure to the cloud. Megan receives a new device with Windows 11 and has an existing device upgraded to Windows 11. And she's able to print with Universal Print not only from her new devices, but also from her iPhone," explains Microsoft.
These simulations could help organizations see the value in upgrading to Windows 11.
Windows 11, version 21H2, was released in October 2021 and was designated for "broad deployment" in May – meaning Microsoft thought Windows 11 was stable enough for enterprise customers to deploy three months ago.
Windows 11 22H2 is due out around October and Microsoft hopes its simulations will boost the IT department's willingness to roll it out.
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The first simulation "getting to know Windows 11" is aimed at end users, while the remaining three are aimed at IT pros.
The end-user simulation has 13 pages showcasing key features and changes from Windows 10 to Windows 11 that Microsoft has been testing in the Windows Insiders program through the Dev and Beta channels since October, spanning the Start menu, taskbar, the Settings app, and accessibility features.
The simulation introduces users to Windows Hello for Business passwordless sign-ins, and then progresses to the Windows 11 desktop.
"When she signs into her device, Megan sees an improved, yet familiar, Windows user experience and instantly gets to work," the simulation says.
"Start is at the center of the taskbar and is easy for Megan to quickly find what she needs," it adds, then guides them to the taskbar to select Start, which shows Windows 11's new centre-aligned Start menu above the taskbar.
The simulations for admins include: getting to know Universal Print printer management; upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11; and deploying Windows 11 with Autopilot.