Windows 11: These are the best new features, and how to use them

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CNET 01 July, 2021 - 06:00am 37 views

How do you get Windows 11?

Most users will go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update and clicking Check for Updates. If available, you'll see Feature update to Windows 11. Click Download and install. CNETWindows 11: Price, compatibility, release date and features for Microsoft's new update

Does Windows 11 require TPM?

TPM 2.0 was only released in 2019, suggesting that PCs made prior to that year may be incompatible with Windows 11. In an email to CRN on Friday, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that “TPM 2.0 is a minimum requirement; Windows 11 will not install without it.” CRNMicrosoft Now Says Windows 11 TPM Requirement Is For Version 2.0 CRN 2 hrs ago

When does Windows 11 roll out?

Upgrades to Windows 11 will begin to roll out late in 2021 and continue into 2022. During this time, we will be doing some behind-the-scenes testing and validating for your specific PC. Windows Update will provide an indication if and when your PC is eligible. You can check by going to Settings/Windows Update. microsoft.comUpgrade to the New Windows 11 OS

Nearly six years on from the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has finally unveiled the Windows 11 operating system, featuring a cleaner, more Mac-like design and a bunch of new features. Windows 11 will be available as a free download for existing Windows users during the 2021 holiday season, according to a Microsoft blog post published after a virtual event on Thursday. (Here's how to download Windows 11 once it's available, and everything you need to know about Windows 11.) 

The free upgrade will begin to roll out to eligible Windows 10 PCs around the holidays (so likely November or December), and will continue into 2022, the post said. No specific date was announced. To find out if your computer is compatible, check out Microsoft's PC Health Check app

If you haven't updated to Windows 10 yet, you can still take advantage of a trick for downloading Windows 10 free that still works. Now would be a good time to make the switch to prepare your machine for the Windows 11 upgrade. 

For more, check out the best new Windows 11 features and how to use them, and every big difference between Windows 10 and Windows 11

Read full article at CNET

Want Windows 11? Your PC better have these specs

PCWorld 30 June, 2021 - 03:10am

Microsoft has published its hardware requirements for Windows 11, adding strict new security requirements for its next operating system. Here’s what you’ll need to run Windows 11 when Microsoft releases it in the fall.

Microsoft will release Windows 11 by holiday 2021, so you’ll have ample time to prepare. Microsoft is working with PC makers to develop Windows 11-ready PCs, and you may be able to upgrade to Windows 11 for free with your existing PC—provided that it meets the necessary hardware requirements. 

Fortunately, if your PC doesn’t meet the hardware requirements, you’ll have several years to replace it, as Windows 10 will be supported until 2025. New Windows 11 PCs will also ship this fall. We've updated this story as of June 28 to note that Microsoft has published a multipage document listing the detailed hardware requirements of Windows 11 (PDF), along with new webcam and touchpad requirements that have been added.

Check out our Windows 11 superguide for comprehensive news, reviews, tips and more about Microsoft's new operating system.

For Windows 10, the PC hardware requirements necessary to run it are relatively tame: a 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM (2GB for a 64-bit version of the OS), 16GB of storage, and a display capable of 800x600.

On Windows 11, you’ll need a more sophisticated PC. According to Microsoft’s list of PC hardware requirements for Windows 11, this is the first time that you’ll need a multicore processor to run Windows, though it won’t need to be that powerful: just a 1GHz, 64-bit processor with 2 or more cores. (Don’t worry about whether your PC includes a 64-bit chip, as virtually all PCs have included 64-bit processors since the 2000s.) 

After we originally published our story, a reader alerted us to this support document: Windows 11 will require an 8th-gen Core CPU and above, according to the Windows 11 hardware requirements for Intel CPUs. A similar list of supported AMD processors on Windows 11 indicate that the Ryzen 2000 series and above is supported. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 850 and up, through the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2, are also supported by Windows 11

Eliminating older 7th-generation Core processors will certainly cut out a substantial portion of the PC market from a Windows 11 upgrade, though how many isn't exactly clear. We're already seeing Microsoft itself declare a substantial chunk of its Surface lineup ineligible for Windows 11 upgrades

You will also need more memory. Microsoft is increasing the minimum amount of RAM to 4GB, and requiring a far larger amount of storage—64GB—then before. That’s because the amount of storage required is, according to Microsoft, “highly variable.” The storage controller must meet the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) 2.3.1 or higher.

Windows’ storage demand depends on what versions of Windows have been previously installed; the amount of storage already claimed by Windows; the size of your page file (also known as the swap file), which acts like a relief valve for your main system memory; and more. You’ll also need a DirectX 12-capable GPU, and at least a 720p display.

Finally, Microsoft publicized a couple of new requirements in its support document. New Windows 11 PCs (excluding desktops) shipped after January 2023 will be required to include a webcam, which Microsoft defines as "HD" -- not 1080p, unfortunately, but just the same 720p webcams which ship with many PCs today. Microsoft also is insisting that all new Windows 11 PCs include a Precision touchpad.

Microsoft is also adding new, stricter security requirements for Windows 11. You will now need a PC that includes a Trusted Platform Module 2.0, a security coprocessor that’s not present on all PCs. A TPM includes a hardware-based random number generator, and can issue cryptographic keys to protect your data. TPMs also authenticate hardware devices. (Microsoft and AMD announced a complementary technology called Pluton in late 2020, originally developed for the Xbox, though Windows 11 PCs don’t appear to require it.) Your PC must also support UEFI and be Secure Boot-capable.

Microsoft originally instituted both a "hard" and a "soft" floor of specifications to run Windows 11, designed around the TPM module specification. But it then simplified the specification on Friday afternoon, June 25, eliminating the "soft floor" and making TPM 2.0 a minimum requirement.

If your PC doesn't include this TPM capability, it will not be eligible for Windows 11. Fortunately, there are tools that can tell you whether or not your Windows PC is eligible for Windows 11.

There are two ways to determine whether your PC can run Windows 11.

The Trusted Platform Module app can tell you if your PC has a TPM 2.0 chip inside of it.

First, to figure out whether your PC contains a TPM, you can just ask it. If you type tpm.msc into your Windows 10 PC’s search bar, your PC will open the Trusted Platform Module Management app. You’ll then be to scroll down to the TPM Manufacturer information and see whether a TPM is installed, and whether it’s TPM-certified.

Second, Microsoft is providing a free app to determine whether your PC is capable of running Windows 11: the PC Health Check app. (Editor's Note: Microsoft has pulled the PC Heath Check app; see our story explaining why this occurred.)

PC Health Check is already live on Microsoft’s site, and it’s worth downloading. It’s a small Win32 app that provides a summary of what’s on your PC. It also offers a one-click check of your PC’s capabilities at the top of the window, to see whether you can run Windows 11. Microsoft said on June 26 that it updated the PC Health Check app to provide more information about what would make a PC ineligible for Windows 11.

The PC Health Check app answers the question: can my PC run Windows 11?

There's also a third-party, unsupported tool called WhyNotWin11, which is available on GitHub. WhyNotWin11 is not supported by Microsoft, and Windows SmartScreen will likely flag it if you run it. (Use at your own risk.) WhyNotWin11 was designed to provide even more granular information about your PC, and why it might not be eligible for Windows 11.

If you can’t run Windows 11, you have a few options. You can stick with Windows 10, which Microsoft will support until it’s “retired” in 2025. Or you can buy a “Ready for Windows 11” PC, which PC vendors will begin releasing later this year.  

As PCWorld's senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats.

PCWorld helps you navigate the PC ecosystem to find the products you want and the advice you need to get the job done.

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