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Windows 11 vs Windows 10: What’s new?

Windows 11 has been around for some time now and it was a big change in look from its Windows 10 predecessor. Here are some of the key differences.

When Windows 10 came out, it seemed like Microsoft wanted it to be its “forever” operating system, with the name staying but iterative upgrades keeping it up to date. But, that all changed when Windows 11 dropped in 2021.

The design changes are the most obvious part of the refresh, and we’ll dig into those, but there’s more under the hood too. Here are the key battlegrounds when comparing Windows 11 vs Windows 10.

Features for gamers

The design upgrade in Windows 11 would suggest a slant towards a more creator-friendly look but there was a few juicy tidbits added for gamers too.

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass Windows 11

First, there’s AutoHDR, which does what it says on the tin. When you load up HDR-supported content, such as a game, it’ll switch on HDR mode so you get the most out of your high-dynamic range-sporting laptop or monitor.

There’s also DirectStorage. You may have heard of DirectStorage on Xbox Series S/X but it’s not on Windows 11 devices. We won’t get too into the weeds but the technology aims to enhance loading times by shifting certain processes from the CPU to the GPU.

A centralised taskbar and new design

The most obvious change for Windows 11 is a new centralised taskbar, which looks very similar to the MacOS layout. It looks far cleaner than Windows 10’s counterpart, which takes up half of the length of the desktop with a long search bar added in the middle. 

Click the Start Menu on Windows 10, and you’ll see a list of all of the programmes installed on your PC. You also get a view of Live Tiles, with a look at the weather, your photo album and various Microsoft apps. 

The Windows 11 Start Menu instead displays your pinned apps, with a search bar letting you locate your less used programmes. There’s also a recommended section that shows your recent activity so you can jump right back into your last used word document, spreadsheet or Photoshop project. This results in a more personalised experience, even letting you align the taskbar to the left of your screen if you prefer the older layout. 

Improved multitasking with Snap Desktop 

Windows 10 already enables you to view multiple windows simultaneously, but it’s a drag-and-drop affair, which can look pretty scruffy and has plenty of scope for things to go wrong. 

Windows 11 is introducing Snap Layouts, which makes it easier to have multiple windows open at once. Simply pick from one of the different templates, and then your selected windows and apps will automatically snap into place and resize accordingly. Microsoft showed this feature off, with Powerpoint, Edge and Teams all displayed simultaneously, and it looked effortlessly slick. 

Teams Chat integration 

Microsoft’s messaging app Teams launched back in 2017, two years after the release of Windows 10. As such, it became an optional app as an alternative to the likes of Slack. 

For Windows 11, Teams plays a much bigger part. The Chat functionality is built into the main taskbar, making it very easy and quick to send a colleague or friend a message. You can start a video call through the service, allowing you to even contact those on Android and iOS platforms. And if your friend doesn’t have Teams installed, you can still communicate via a two-way SMS.

Windows 11 Store

Android apps on the Microsoft Store

Microsoft rebuilt the Microsoft Store from the ground up for Windows 11, introducing a cleaner and more organised layout. The biggest change was that the Microsoft Store will support Android apps via Amazon’s Appstore.

This means you’ll gain access to a far larger app library this time round, although the Android apps will be displayed in a phone-like vertical display that isn’t optimised for computer monitors. The usefulness of such apps remains to be seen, but it does mean you’ll be able to record and post videos for Tik Tok straight from your Windows device. 

Microsoft will also be introducing more native apps to the Microsoft Store for Windows 11, including Visual Studio, Disney+, Adobe Creative Cloud, Zoom and Canva.  

Windows 11 has more restrictive requirements

For Windows 11, you need at least an 8th Gen Intel chip or AMD Ryzen 2000 and, pivotally, they must support TPM 2.0. Many systems older than 4/5 years old do not feature TPM 2.0, meaning this could be a stumbling block if you’re looking to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, as Windows 10 does not require TPM 2.0.

You can see the difference in specs requirements in the table below:

Windows 11Windows 10
Processor1GHz or faster with 2+ cores on a 64-bit processor/SoC1GHz or faster processor/SoC
RAM:4GB1GB for 32-bit / 2GB for 64-bit
Storage64GB or more16GB for 32-bit / 20GB for 64-bit
System firmware:UEFI, Secure Boot capableN/A
TPM:Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0N/A
Graphics card:DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driverDirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
Display:720p display that is greater than 9-inch diagonally, 8 bits per colour channel800 x 600 display
Internet access required?YesNo

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