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Windows 11 is here, and it looks slicker but familiar

By Eric Geier (Our Founder & Owner)

Originally published by Cox Media Group on 10/18/21

Microsoft released Windows 11 on Oct. 5, along with Office 2021. This will be a free optional upgrade available for certain computers running Windows 10. If you’re still using Windows 10 and want to keep it, don’t worry. Microsoft will support Windows 10 at least until Oct. 14, 2025. But if you’re still using Windows 7 or older, support for those operating systems ended and you should upgrade soon to Windows 10 or 11.

Microsoft made some noticeable changes to the look and feel of the main screens of Windows 11. By default, the bottom taskbar icons are centered, which reminds me of Chromebooks. The Start menu has a different look as well. Throughout Windows 11, most of the windows have improved effects like rounded edges to make everything slicker and more modern looking. There’s new background and themes to choose, too.

If you’re the type who dreads changes when it comes to the computer and technology, I wouldn’t worry too much. If you don’t want such a major change to the main operating system look and feel, most computer techs will be able to get it looking closer to what you’re used to. If you’re a simple user who only uses one or two applications, keep in mind experiences with specific applications themselves will remain nearly the same. For instance, if all you do is browse the web, you might not notice any changes there as the websites you go to won’t have any changes between the different Windows versions.

Remember, Microsoft has set some pretty strict upgrade criteria and system requirements in order for computers to be compatible with Windows 11. If you’re interested in seeing if your Windows 10 is compatible, open the Windows Update screen. In the search field in the lower-left corner of Windows, type “windows update” (without quotes) and click Windows Update Settings from the results list.

The Settings app will pop up where you can manage all the updates Microsoft releases. If your computer is up-to-date enough, you should see a message about Windows 11 compatibility.

If your Windows 10 computer is good to go, you should see the “Upgrade to Windows 11 is ready” message up top with a button to download and install. I don’t recommend doing this upgrade method, however.

I suggest calling a tech to help, like with other major operating system upgrades, if you want to give Windows 11 a try.

If your computer is not compatible with the strict system requirements enforced, you should see a message along those lines and a link to download the PC Health Check application, where you can view details on why your computer isn’t compatible. If you do download that application, click the Check Now button toward the top of the window. Sometimes a computer tech can quickly fix the compatibility issues, while other times it may be too much of an investment to worry about. When in doubt, call a computer tech for advice.

If you see neither message about Windows 11 compatibility, give your computer some time to catch up on the Windows Updates, and a message should appear in the near future.

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