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Windows 11 – Should you upgrade?

Should you be bothered?

Here our IT guy, the lovely Alex, breaks down the pros and cons.


If you are not the techy type skim the headlines and read the last paragraph and you should be able to work out what you need. If you really don't have the time to give it a go yourself try our done for you service and book a free PC health check ...



Pros and Cons to upgrading to Windows 11

All things considered Windows 11 is very similar to Windows 10 in most regards. A few things have moved around but are functionally the same and changes to the aesthetics freshen things up a little but for day-to-day use they are an easy switch.



First thing first, can you even upgrade to Windows 11?
(If you have a computer older than 4 years you may not be able to or its not worth the hassle)

The biggest hurdle if you are wanting to upgrade is the system requirements. If your machine doesn’t meet them, it’s a bit of a pain to upgrade but possible however it’s only recommended for those who really want the latest Windows at a bit of a cost.


This could be something that you’d want to hold off from until Window 11 matures if you have an older machine


With the new operating system having such a high system requirement to even be offered an upgrade, only CPU’s that are less than 4 years old will be offered the chance to upgrade from Windows 10.


Any older machines and it isn’t officially supported with all the extra security (Virtual Based Security or VBS) that Windows 11 is offering.


It is still possible to install Windows 11 but it will be a clean install with no real option of keeping your apps and files when upgrading like it was from Windows 7 or 8 to 10.


Anything older than an 8th gen Intel or a Ryzen 2000 series AMD processor is not going to get the full benefits of Windows 11 with Microsoft stating that systems running unsupported hardware are likely to have 52% more kernel crashed compared to supported systems. Albeit the odds of kernel crashes seem to be relatively low at around 0.2%, so 0.3% doesn’t sound too bad... in other words I wouldn't recommend it and you might want to stick with what you have until you get a new PC / laptop.


What is Windows 11 like to use?
Seems similar at first, some things have moved, some things don't seem to work as well, albeit minor.

In all honesty it feels very similar to Windows 10 with a few changes here and there. The first thing that you will notice is the Task bar. It is by default set to the centre of the screen, reminiscent to Mac and Chrome OS. This can be changed in the settings menu to the left to bring it back to the classic Windows layout.


One thing that has been removed however is the ability to have the Task bar on any edge of the screen.


Now I never used the taskbar anywhere else on the screen but having options removed is not the best as many users like to have their task bar elsewhere on the screen and for desktop use the more options the better.


The Start Menu has changed also, it’s more of an app drawer now than a list of apps you can scroll through, and Settings is an app within the app drawer and not a button you can just click.


You can pin the app to the “Pinned” section allowing you to organise the apps as you see fit much like your mobile device allows you to move app icon around the screen so nothing really missing here just a bit of a change on how things operate.


screenshot of Windows 11 Right Click Menu
Windows 11 Right Click Menu

The right-click however, I feel, has changed for the worse. It now takes more clicks to get to what you need than Windows 10 does. For example, if you want to pin a shortcut to the task bar you have to right click then select more options and then pin to task bar.


The weirdest part of this is that the “more options” menu is 90% of the normal right click menu. Why not just add the few extra options to the right click menu in the first place.


screenshot of Windows 11 Right Click - More Options
Right Click - More Options

Snapping windows has gotten a little bit of a tweak allowing for more position for windows to be snapped to by hovering over the maximise button. This includes the regular 4 quadrants available in Windows 10 and it also adds thirds and asymmetrical partitions which is a nice addition for those with the screen real-estate to have 3 or 4 windows on-screen at once.


Windows 11 Snapping layouts
Snapping layouts


One thing to note is not all apps support this function, for example in my use, Steam and Telegram cannot be snapped to the new positions by hovering over the maximise window button but it can still be selected after another app like Chrome or Word is used to select the first partition.


Virtual desktops are back and are virtually the same (sorry) allowing you to have your works apps to be running on one desktop while you keep your entertainment and gaming on another with Win+Ctrl+D and then Win+Ctrl+left/right to switch between them.


There is a “task view” button by default on the task bar also, to help you navigate just like in Windows 10. I must admit I prefer Windows 10’s transition between the desktops with it sliding over to another screen, whereas Windows 11 is quite jarring with just an instant snap to the other desktop. Nothing major but if your desktop is void of open apps its quite difficult to tell you’ve switched over.


It does not like other browsers like Google Chrome

Changing default browsers are definitely not the same. Microsoft has made it much more long winded to change to an alternate browser of choice, be it Chrome, Firefox or another favourite of yours.


Instead of the usual prompts of “Edge is recommended” etc. you now must deal with selecting each individual file or link type associated with the given browser, so you better get ready to click a lot to switch over your .htm, .html, .pdf, .shtml etc. all 10+ of them.


Thanks Microsoft, Windows 10 was irritating enough!

Windows 11 Aesthetically... Would seem slightly better

Windows 11 has taken a clean, almost card-like look to all the windows and popups with a larger softer shadow wrapping round the windows. It looks good and is pretty much Windows 10 but with rounded corners.


Animations are very similar and your usual popups at the bottom right are still there.


The system-wide dark mode for me looks much nicer in Windows 11 with a more uniform two-tone grey versus the multi-grey boxy layout Windows 10 has.


Folder icons have been given a face lift and seem to fit somewhere in-between the style of mobile icons and Windows 10 icons and the default folders like Desktop, Documents and Downloads etc. are much easier to distinguish just by looking at the icon itself and not having to read the folder name, which is a nice change.

Windows 11 Performance ... can slow things down but only on older or low spec machines

Many outlets report very little difference in performance but if you have the added security, the main reason for the high requirements, it can actually reduce performance significantly in high intensity workloads like video editing and gaming.


This has been reported to be over 10% slower in some test cases especially with lower end CPU’s but for the most part between Windows 10 and 11 it would be hard to tell the difference.


For gaming especially Windows 11 will only really shine with DX12 Ultimate compatible GPU’s otherwise it will be the exact same experience on Windows 10 if not worse with VBS enabled.


Windows 11 will support more things like auto-HDR and Direct Storage but even these have been said to be coming to Windows 10 but with a slight performance reduction so with the performance deficit due to the Virtual Based Security Windows 11 hasn’t got much to make you rush to upgrade but would be worth keeping an eye on when these features release.


So after all that ...Should you upgrade?

If you have new hardware and your system meets the requirements, then I’d say give it a go and see how you fair as you can always revert back to Windows 10 before the 10 days “trial” is up and it’s very easy to do.


Go to Settings>System>Recovery and choose “Go Back” and you’re back to how you left Windows 10.


If you’re PC is older there is very little reason to switch as you can’t automatically get the upgrade and a manual install means you’ll have to wipe your machine.


There is another option, however. If you think 10 days isn’t enough time to get a feel for it or have an older system that isn’t compatible with the native upgrade that Windows offers to keep all your files and apps, you can Dual Boot Windows 10 and 11, although it’s not the most straight forward process.


However, it is a very good way to test the waters if you’ve got a bit of free space on your hard drive and you can keep everything that is on windows 10 until you have everything you need on Windows 11 if you decide it’s for you.


A lot of people are somewhat underwhelmed by Windows 11 and for me it’s a mixed bag as it doesn’t change anything that’s important to me as I don’t have many issues with Windows 10 and Windows 11 seems to add a few niggly things that could be ironed out in the future but as for now I’ll continue with my Dual Boot and see if it grows on me.



 

Alex Sweet IT Guru - IT Consultant

Alex Sweet is the resident GoodBiz IT guru, and what he doesn't know about computers really isn't worth knowing. He spends his time working time developing bespoke CRMs and integrating software solutions for clients as well as keeping us in the office sorted when it comes to our own PC and laptops.


When he is not working he can often be found walking his dog, online gaming, or hanging out with friends and family.


You can connect with Alex directly on







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