July 17, 2024

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10 Major Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 11 Now

5 min read

There’s something to be said for staying up to date. Windows 11 is the first major update of the leading desktop operating system in seven years. Upgrading to Windows 11 gives you the latest in technology, plus capabilities and features you can’t get anywhere else. The underlying system code also makes advances that will leave you in the dust if you stick with older software.

Making a big change in operating systems, however, isn’t for everyone—even I have had reservations about Windows 11. Don’t worry, though, as you have until 2025 to stick with Windows 10 if you want, and the option to pay for support beyond then. But there are compelling reasons you might switch sooner.

1. A More Consistent Interface

Windows 11 interface

PC users no longer need to hang their heads when friends show them their slick macOS and ChromeOS user interfaces. Windows 11 is every bit as slick, aside from the occasional old-school Control Panel dialog box. The rounded window corners, compact Taskbar, and touch-friendly (sorry, Apple) design is easy on the eyes. It just looks nicer. Let’s not forget the understated and pleasing new system sounds, too.

2. Built-In Generative AI

Copilot in Windows 11

(Credit: Microsoft/PCMag)

Microsoft’s Copilot generative AI tool combines the smarts of ChatGPT with Bing web-scraping for up-to-the-minute data. While you can get an optional basic version of it in Windows 10 as an installable app, Copilot in Windows 11 can do more, such as change settings and organize windows using Snap Assist. The Windows 11 version of Paint also includes AI image generation from text prompts in styles like oil paint, photorealistic, ink sketch, and anime. That’s more than the art styles that you get with Apple Intelligence, which is limited to cartoons and sketches.

3. Improved Included Apps

Video Editor in Windows 11

The included apps in Windows 11 are better than those in Windows 10. An all-new Media Player app makes watching videos and listening to music and podcasts a better experience. Windows 11 users also get Clipchamp, a simple template-based PWA video editor suited to small businesses making videos for marketing and advertising. The Windows 11 Clock app deserves special mention because of its useful Focus Sessions that help you concentrate on projects. The Photos app also includes generative erase for removing objects or backgrounds. The Notepad, Paint, and Calculator apps have all been updated as well.

Snipping Tool in Windows 11

(Credit: Microsoft/PCMag)

Taking screenshots in Windows 11 continues to improve, with many good options in the updated Snipping Tool, including the ability to record screen video and copy or redact text from images. The Snipping Tool lets you select rectangular or freehand areas, program windows, or the whole desktop. It then opens a mini editor for cropping and markup. The screenshot tool also has a delay timer and built-in options for saving and sharing. You can still use the tried-and-true PrtSc key to save a screen image file to the clipboard or to OneDrive.

5. Snap Layouts for an Organized Desktop

Snap Layouts in Windows 11

(Credit: Microsoft/PCmag)

In Windows, you have always been able to arrange windows on the desktop just the way you want them. Just when I thought it wasn’t possible to improve the already great capabilities in Windows 10—which lets you snap a window to the side to fill exactly half the screen or to a corner for an exact quarter of screen real estate—Microsoft comes up with another window layout trick called Snap Layouts. When you hover the cursor over the maximize icon at the top right of any window, you get multiple layout choices in a thumbnail view. You can even save a layout for a group of apps you want to reuse later in a single taskbar icon.

Windows 11 Widgets

Windows 10 has a nifty News and Interests panel that pops up on hover over its Taskbar icon, but Windows 11’s Widgets are more customizable. And coming soon, Windows 11 will support third-party information widgets. Many of the first-party widgets are extremely useful: News, Weather, Sports, Traffic, Family Safety, Stock Prices, Outlook calendar, To Do, and OneDrive photos. Your news feed is customizable by topics and sources. Microsoft has also previewed a new feature for the Widget panel that lets you view it in full-screen mode.

7. Twice as Resistant to Malware

Security Settings in Windows 11

According to PCMag’s lead security analyst, Neil J. Rubenking, Windows 11 is ultra secure. Much of that is thanks to its requirement of a secure processor called a Trusted Platform Module. (Despite the increased security, this new requirement nevertheless raised the hackles of many a Windows commentator, since it meant some older PCs would not be able to run the new OS.) According to Microsoft, secured-core PCs are twice as resistant to malware infection.

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8. Improved Multiple Desktops and Monitor Docking

Multiple Desktops in Windows 11

New docking behaviors in Windows 11 make using a large external monitor a more efficient experience. The OS remembers window locations on the connected monitor and minimizes them when you disconnect, rather than littering the smaller screen with app windows. New for multiple Desktops is the ability to use different wallpapers on each one and a redesigned desktop switching interface.

9. Gaming Performance and HDR Improvements

Xbox App on Windows 11

Windows 11 gets two improvements when it comes to using high dynamic range (HDR) color on your compatible display. You can toggle it on or off via the Windows Game Bar, and a new Auto HDR feature will save you even that trouble. Another gaming improvement comes by way of the new DirectStorage feature, which lets games load directly into video memory, bypassing the CPU for much faster game loading times.

10. Windows 10 Is Going Away Next Year

Unless you want to pay Microsoft extra, your Windows 10 machine will no longer receive security updates after October 14, 2025, and believe me, you don’t want to run Windows without security updates. You also miss out on new features like the Snap Layouts, better screenshot tool, and new Copilot features. If you decide you can’t live without Windows 10, business users will pay Microsoft $61 per year, doubling every year for up to three years. Pricing for individuals still hasn’t been announced.

Do More With Windows 11

To get the most out of the new operating system, read our Best Tips and Tricks for Using Windows 11. In addition, keep up with all the latest news and coverage on our Windows 11 home page.

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