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Should my small business upgrade to Windows 11?

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Despite Microsoft hailing Windows 10 as "the last Windows ever," Windows 11 was teased in June 2021 and formally announced in July. Early leaked versions show a more user-friendly interface, better security, a funky dark mode, and a streamlined taskbar. And the announcement itself focused on widgets; touch, pen, and voice support; support for different desktop wallpapers on different computers; and an all-new Windows store.

Essentially, it feels a bit like the upgrade from XP to Vista, for those who remember that. But not necessarily in a negative way.

Upgrade to Windows 11: Yes or No?

Small businesses can't afford to be dealing with bugs, so it makes sense to retain Windows 10 for the next few months while all the bugs in Windows 11 are ironed out. While Windows 11 has undergone the usual alpha and beta processes before release, these don't account for all the permutations of software that happen under a general release.

However, it would definitely make sense to upgrade within a year of release, if you can.

The key question is whether you can. The comparison above to Windows Vista is not completely unfair. That's because Microsoft has created hardware requirements that mean that Windows 11 won't run on many older machines.

This is in the name of security. And, presumably, performance, to a certain extent.

TPM: The Potential Missing Link

Trusted Platform Module is a standard that's been around for about 12 years, and at a very basic level, it's essentially a chipset that ensures devices are working as expected. It can also be used for disk encryption software via products such as BitLocker and dm-crypt.

Most motherboards do not come with a dedicated processer that complies with TPM, but many do have a chip that draws power from the motherboard to do the same job. However, not all manufacturers introduced TPM-compatible motherboards at the same time.

Typically, if you have a third-generation AMD Ryzen CPU or higher or a third-generation Threadripper, there's a good chance your motherboard and processor support TPM

Similarly, if you have a 6th-Gen Intel Core processor or higher, it's likely that your motherboard and CPU support TPM.

However, it's important to check older machines to make sure that they have the required compatibility. In addition, TPM is often off by default, so you may have to enable it in BIOS for your system. This is usually fairly simple, but it does make mass deployment harder. For a small business, this may not be so important, but for medium-sized businesses and large enterprises, it has the potential to be a pain.

Some workarounds are reasonably well documented but are not currently recommended.

Side by Side IT has easy-to-understand consulting services that can discuss your hardware components at your small business in more detail. 

Minimum Requirements for Windows 11

The absolute minimum that you require for Windows 11 is the following:

As we've seen with Windows 10, 4GB of RAM is not really enough for most use cases, and even 8GB can struggle under heavy loads. Small businesses may want to look at machines with at least 16GB of RAM in the near future to prepare for Windows 11 deployment.

Ultimately, small businesses thinking of updating to Windows 11 should wait until Q2 2022 at the very least before upgrading. 

Have more questions?

Side by Side IT provides IT services in Columbia, MO as well as Kansas City and St. Louis.   We welcome any questions you may have about your small business.  Upgrading to Windows 11 may be a bit overwhelming, making sure your original software and systems still work, but our professionals will be with you step by step making sure it’s a smooth transition when it’s time.  Feel free to reach out on our contact us page.   We’d love to hear from you.

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