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Screenshots of Windows 11 have been leaked and these have seemingly been confirmed as genuine. Microsoft had hinted recently that a big update was to be revealed, but leaks published on a Chinese website have beaten them before they could announce this officially. This article will discuss what Windows 11 could mean for your business and end-users.

Introduction

Baidu, a Chinese language site, has published various screenshots of a beta version of Windows 11 – not long after Microsoft had said Windows 10 was going to be the last major release.

The images unveil changes including a centralised taskbar design, rounded Windows edges, the return of widgets and a new app browser window – with some suggesting it is reminiscent of Apple’s operating system macOS or the now defunct Windows 10X.

Many of the icons and animations appear to look the exact same, but this is likely because it is still under development and some changes may not initially be implemented.

Not long after the leak was posted online, the Microsoft Windows Twitter account announced that there would be an event held on June 24th, one can only assume to confirm the release of Windows 11.

Why is this important?

When Windows 10 was released in 2015, Microsoft admitted this would be the last full release of their operating system. Instead of major updates being released every few years, they would treat Windows as a service and release various feature and quality updates twice a year and bi weekly, respectively.

However, Microsoft now seem to have done a U-turn and are rumoured to instead look at releasing Windows 11 as early as this summer.

With nearly every business in the UK (including London) running either Microsoft Windows or macOS in their workplace, news of any major updates or changes like this is something everyone should be made aware of.

How will this affect your business?

As Microsoft haven’t officially revealed in detail how the transition to Windows 11 will work, companies (and IT service providers) will need to be alert to any future announcements from Microsoft. Some things to consider/look out for are:

  • Licensing – One of the first things that springs to mind is whether or not Microsoft will allow your current Windows 10 license to run Windows 11. Back when Windows 10 was first introduced, it was assumed that this would be the last Windows licence users would ever have to purchase. Considering Microsoft still allows users to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, we would hope the something similar would apply in this instance – with users being able to perform in-place upgrades without an additional cost.
  • Support – As Windows 10 was originally intended to be the last major version Microsoft would release, it was assumed that this would therefore be supported indefinitely. However, Microsoft have since updated their EOL page to show that Windows 10 Home and Pro is due to retire in late 2025. This is in stark contrast to how they would normally phase out an old product where they would provide a lifecycle policy with ‘mainstream’ and ‘extended’ support, but retired seems to suggest it would simply be killed off…if this is true, then this would give more credence to the assumption that Windows would make it as easy (and free) as possible to upgrade to Windows 11.
  • Functionality and Layout – Whilst the leaked screenshots do go some way to giving us an insight into what to expect from Windows 11, it will still very much be in the testing/developing phase – so more changes should be expected. So far it doesn’t look like the layout will change majorly, but just like the W7/W10 upgrades, it will need to be confirmed if your applications, particularly any custom applications, will be supported by Windows 11.

At the moment, the above is just speculation and educated guesses, but we would expect more clarity come the 24th June.

Conclusion

Currently, it isn’t clear what Windows 11 will actually mean for your company or users. However, you should expect more information to be provided by Microsoft on the back of this leak. As more information is provided, we will be able to work out what changes will occur and how your company should prepare for them.

if you would like further advice from ourselves then don’t hesitate to contact us.