Microsoft unveiled Windows 11 yesterday, marking a new chapter for Windows after its six-year run with Windows 10. The update brings a bunch of changes to the Windows Insiders program and new minimum hardware requirements.
Microsoft has geared Windows 11 to enterprises with hybrid-working environments, added a few new security features and centered the Start menu. The company has been focusing on the post-pandemic hybrid workplace, which fits neatly into its new product releases around Windows, Microsoft 365, Azure, and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint for all operating systems.
The Windows Insider team said that it will release the first Insider Preview build for Windows 11 next week.
The Windows Insider program is being tweaked to cater to the changes in hardware that have happened since Windows 10 was released in 2015.
"For Windows to move forward and take better advantage of the latest innovations, we need to update the baseline system requirements for modern PCs. As a result, Windows 11 has updated hardware requirements which will be reflected in the Windows Insider Program," said the Windows Insider team.
The new hardware requirements for Windows 11 cater to Intel and Arm-based chips used in the likes of the Surface Pro. These include 1 GHz or faster CPU with 2 or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC), 4 GB of RAM, and at least 64GB of storage. The storage minimum is double Microsoft's minimum requirements for Windows 10.
It also requires UEFI, Secure Boot capable for system firmware, Trusted Platform Module version 2.0, and for graphics cards to be compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver.
The display must be at least high definition (720p) display and larger than 9-inches diagonally, and feature 8 bits per colour channel.
There are also some minimum requirements around Microsoft accounts for Windows 11 devices, including that S Mode will now only be available for the Windows 11 Home Edition.
"Windows 11 Home edition requires internet connectivity and a Microsoft account to complete device setup on first use," Microsoft notes.
Switching a device out of Windows 11 Home in S mode also requires internet connectivity.
"For all Windows 11 editions, internet access is required to perform updates and to download and take advantage of some features. A Microsoft account is required for some features," says Microsoft.
Microsoft has also detailed Windows 11 features that have been deprecated or removed. Cortana, for example, is not in the first experience or pinned to the Taskbar in Windows 11. This is not a surprise as Cortana has receded from Windows into the Microsoft 365 experience.
Internet Explorer 11 is disabled and there are some changes to the News & Interests widget for the Taskbar. Additionally, while Snipping Tool will be available, the Windows 10 version has been replaced with Snip & Sketch.
The Start menu has been revamped in Windows 11, including the following deprecations and removals:
- Named groups and folders of apps are no longer supported and the layout is not currently resizable.
- Pinned apps and sites will not migrate when upgrading from Windows 10.
- Live Tiles are no longer available.