When Microsoft launched Windows 11 on October 5th, they aimed to excite PC users with some big updates. Calling it the ‘best Windows ever for gaming’, they said it would unlock the full potential of the system’s hardware, with new technology like DirectX12 Ultimate, DirectStorage and Auto HDR.
If you’re not so familiar with these terms, though, and just want to make sure you make good use of the new updates, then we’ve out together some simple steps for you to follow. So, read on to find out how to make the most of this important new update.
Make sure your device is eligible
Microsoft’s first major Windows OS upgrade in six years brings up that all-important question – compatibility. Despite a Microsoft blog post saying it should work with most PCs, some compatible devices won’t get the upgrade just yet, and may have to wait until summer 2022 to download and install it.
If you don’t have a device pre-loaded with Windows 11, here’s the simplest way to check that it meets the OS’s system requirements:
- Download Microsoft’s PC Health check, open file and install.
- The app home page will pop up saying ‘PC health at a glance’. Click the ‘Check now’ box.
- If your device is compatible, you can download the update for free. If it’s not, then you’ll get a warning message telling you that it doesn’t meet the system requirements.
Make use of Windows 11 utilities
Windows 11 comes with an upgraded Start menu, but if you don’t like it then Start11 is a great way to make your own. Created by software experts Stardock, it gives you a choice of designs, some of which allow you to move the Start menu and taskbar up to the top of the display.
Speaking of the taskbar, it also lets you customize it to your taste. You can create shortcut links to sit alongside app icons and improve your search results. If you change your mind, you can also reverse changes at any point, making the tool super flexible and easy to use.
While the full version of Start11 costs $5 – a bargain if you make the most of it – you can also try it out for free.
The high convenience of the internet age means we’re used to having everything in one compact place. If we want to see the cheapest flights, the best lottery sites or the most attractive sports odds, we tend to go to just one place, rather than trawl through the rest of the internet,
ThisIsWin11 works in a similar way, except on your desktop. Here, you can see a handy guide to all the important features of Windows 11 in one section. From here, you can also tweak settings and apps, and automate certain functions.
To do this, just open the System tab inside ThisIsWin 11, where you’ll see all of the features organized into neat sections. There, you can tweak to your heart’s content.
The web is full of writing tools that claim to help you write quicker and faster, many of which seem to just want to make money out of you. PhaseExpress is the real deal, though.
First of all, its free version is extremely useful as a text-expansion tool. It uses textual shortcuts and hot keys to speed your writing along, and you can also choose custom text expansions in its template manager.
Download useful apps
In keeping with today’s app-obsessed culture, Windows 11 comes with a superb set of third-party features that will keep you entertained for hours.
Some of the highlights include Be Focused, an app that uses the famous Pomodoro technique to maximize productivity; OneNote, a full digital notebook that lets you get creative with your jotting; and LibreOffice, effectively a free, offline version of Microsoft Office, which must be a threat to Microsoft’s paid-for version.
You can find all these on a redesigned Windows Store with thousands of other options.
Keep an eye on the updates
Previous Windows versions have been pretty good for updates, on the whole, but Microsoft have vowed to improve them, mentioning reduced update sizes, by up to 40%.
However, there’s a chance you’ll miss them. Windows 11 will take place in the background, which is great if you’re busy doing something, but not so much if you want to know what they involve.
The best thing to do is make sure your notifications are turned on for updates, giving you the chance to have a quick look at it.
And Windows 12?
The frequent release of updated versions of Windows 10 meant that it was a full six years before Windows 11 came along. If the same happens again, then Windows 12 – and whatever tech that may bring – would arrive in 2027.
However, with the rate of technological change speeding up all the time, it might be that Windows 11 becomes obsolete even sooner, so don’t be surprised to see the 12 version well before then!