What Does Windows 11 Mean for Businesses: Should You Upgrade?
Windows 10 is not going to be the last ever version of the world’s most ubiquitous operating system. Microsoft has announced the launch of Windows 11 and its online counterpart Windows 365. This means you have two paths to upgrade, if you so wish. It does, however, raise the question of whether either it's worth it...
Windows 10 is not going to be the last ever version of the world’s most ubiquitous operating system. Microsoft has announced the launch of Windows 11 and its online counterpart Windows 365. This means you have two paths to upgrade, if you so wish. It does, however, raise the question of whether either is worth it.
To help guide you through your options, Luke Watts, Director at RoundWorks IT provides his insight into the next generation of Windows and how your business could benefit.
Windows 11 versus Windows 365
Windows 11 will be locally installed in the same way as the various previous iterations of Windows. Windows 365 will have the look and feel of Windows 11 (there will also be a Windows 10 option, at least to start with). It will, however, be cloud-based. In other words, you’ll fire up an online-capable device, log in and access what is effectively a virtual desktop.
If you’re thinking that this sounds remarkably like Microsoft Azure, then you would appear to be right. Current details suggest that the fundamentals of the two services are pretty much identical. They just have a different look and feel.
At present, Windows 365 is only due to be made available to business users. That should include sole traders although only time will tell. Even if it doesn’t initially, it’s hard to see what would stop Microsoft from rolling it out to consumers. Unless it’s giving up on the consumer market, it’s very much in its best interests to offer a feasible alternative to Chrome.
The Practicalities of Upgrading to Windows 11
This is where life gets interesting. If you’re already on Windows 10 then, in principle, you have a straightforward, free and legal path to an upgrade. In practice, you’ll only be able to upgrade if your hardware meets the minimum specifications. These have been published but, realistically, at present, it’s probably best to take them with at least a grain of salt.
There has already been industry blowback on some of Microsoft’s requirements and Microsoft appears to be listening. That said, it’s unclear how much room, if any, they’ve given themselves to manoeuvre. The simple fact of the matter is that more functionality requires more hardware to power it. There may be scope to tone down some of the requirements but it still looks like you’ll need a fairly hefty PC.
If you don’t have the necessary hardware then your options are to invest in it or to go down the route of Windows 365. With Windows 365 the host device really only needs the capability to get online. This means that its hardware specifications are likely to be much less important than its network connection. In fact, Windows 365 could potentially be a way to give older (pre-Windows 10) PCs a new lease of life.
The Practicalities of Upgrading Windows 10 PCs
You will have to upgrade your Windows 10 PCs by October 2025. This is when Microsoft is due to end support for it. That means no more security updates. That means anyone who keeps using it is at major risk of cyberattack. As a reminder, the infamous WannaCry attack of 2017 specifically targeted people running legacy Windows XP systems.
Of course, that still leaves you four years to decide whether or not Windows 11 is the right operating system for you. The answer to that question will depend on how well Windows 11 performs relative to the competition at the time you want, or need to upgrade. At present, it is still effectively impossible to formulate a clear answer to that question.
Firstly, neither Windows 11 or Windows 365 has been officially released yet. This means that it will be some time before there will be objective, real-world reviews of either. Secondly, both Apple and Google have yet to respond with developments of their own. It could be well worth seeing what they offer before deciding where to put your money.