Windows 11 and Holiday Shopping Guide

Our latest webinar with the Bethesda Chamber Of Commerce gives you a look at Windows 11, and offers helpful tips for your technology shopping plans this holiday season.
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Webinar—Windows 11 and Holiday Shopping Guide

Our latest webinar with the Bethesda Chamber Of Commerce gives you a look at Windows 11, and offers helpful tips for your technology shopping plans this holiday season.

Not sure what Windows 11 has to offer, or whether it’s right for your business? Still trying to find the right tech-based gift for that special someone this Christmas?

Find out what you need to know on these two key topics in this Bethesda Chamber Of Commerce webinar featuring Advantage Industries’ Mike Shelah and Russell Smith, Director, Client Account Management & Principle Design Engineer:

What You Need To Know About Windows 11

Windows 11 was officially announced by Microsoft on June 24, 2021. This platform is optimized for hybrid working, delivers an improved security focus across devices and the cloud, makes use of ARM processors and supports more efficient collaboration and productivity.

While this is a new platform, there are not many new changes. Microsoft opted to maintain the general user experience established in previous operating systems.

New features include:

  • New start menu (don’t worry-you can still see your full list of programs):
    • A new recommendation List
    • Improved docking support
  • Teams is fully integrated into Windows
    • Skype is still available as a download
  • Gaming enhancements (depending on game support)
    • Graphic enhancements- updated DirectX 12
    • High Dynamic Resolution HDR support
    • DirectStorage, which means no more loading screens

Can You Run Windows 11 On Your Computer?

If your device is currently running Windows 10, you may be able to simply just upgrade to Windows 11.

You’ll have to run a compatibility assessment to make sure Windows 11 can operate on your device. To do this, you can use the PC Health Check app or you can check with your PC Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). If your device does not meet the requirements, you will have to consider purchasing a new PC.

These are the basic requirements considerations to keep in mind when installing Windows 11 on a PC:

Trusted Platform Module (TPM) Security Chip

  • This is built into the CPU for computers built in the last four years or so and built-in to chips listed below on business-grade computers older than this.

CPU AMD Ryzen 2nd-gen or later or Intel 8th-gen CPU

  • You can install on older CPUs than this, but Microsoft disabled updates to new versions, so we don’t recommend this.

UEFI Bios

  • This is the way Windows is installed on the computer—again, most computers built in the past four years should be set up this way, but if not, Windows can be reinstalled.

RAM

  • 4GB (but we recommend 8GB)

Disk

  • 64GB (but we recommend 256GB SSD)

Key Considerations For Windows 11

Many businesses that want to switch to Windows 11 might not yet be compatible with the minimum requirements. Before making any changes, carefully consider your needs and your hardware’s capabilities.

  • Operating System: Windows 10/11: Pro for Businesses or power users or Home is fine for most home users
  • CPU/Processor: AMD Ryzen R3 or R5 or Intel i3 or i5 processors (17 or R7 CPUS are great, but typically offer more power than you need for Office tasks). Both companies make equally good CPUs.
  • Ram: 8GB (16GB for gamers and power users for tasks like accounting, media editing, or database software).
  • Drive: 256GB SSD (Solid State Drive), and 512GB for accounting, architecture, media, and engineering users. It’s typically better to have a smaller fast SSD than a large spinning disk HDD.
  • GPU/Graphics Card: A separate card is usually not needed, except for gamers and media creation or CAD users

How Much Does Windows 11 Cost?

The good news is that Windows 11 is offered as a free upgrade for any computers running Windows 10—this means you don’t need to avoid buying a Windows 10 computer!

Otherwise, the prices are:

  • Windows 11 Home: $129
  • Windows 11 Pro (required for business): $169

Should Home Users Switch To Windows 11?

Whether you want to make the change or not, the fact is that it’s only a matter of time until you won’t have a choice either way. Windows 10 computers are already starting to vanish from retail stores, and support for the platform will only be available until October 14, 2025.

However, home users don’t have much to worry about. System stability isn’t as big of an issue for most home users as it is for businesses, so a rare crash or error can be excused.

If system stability is paramount to you, simply wait another 2-3 months to purchase a new machine, after Windows has had time to address the majority of minor bug fixes.

If your computer is already 3+ years old, it would be wise to skip an upgrade and just move to Windows 11 when you get a new computer anytime in the next 4 years.

Should Businesses Switch To Windows 11?

It’s a different story for organizations. Major OEMs like Dell, HPE, and Lenovo will continue to ship business machines with Windows 10 for months if not a year or more, so you won’t be forced to upgrade if you’re purchasing new machines in that timeframe.

Furthermore, system stability is typically more important to businesses than new features or marginal performance gains. That’s why you should let home users work out the bugs in this new operating system for several months before migrating.

Our usual rule of thumb is to wait at least three months after release, which would be January 2022. However, in this case, we would urge you to wait until April 2022. This will give Microsoft enough time to fully vet the stability of the platform on Windows 10 machines in the business setting.

Given that Windows 10 is under support until October 14, 2025, unless you purchased the computer in the last 1-2 years, we would not recommend upgrading it at all. Keep in mind: the normal business lifecycle for computers is 4-6 years.

Top 4 Holiday Tech Shopping Tips

After exploring Windows 11, Mike and Russell concluded the webinar by offering a few tech-based holiday shopping tips:

  1. Timeline: The global supply chain shortage will be prevalent throughout the holiday season. Purchase as soon as you can as many tech items are back-ordered and delayed.
  2. Price Check: Make sure to double-check MSRP pricing. High demand and low supply have resulted in some products listing for 2-3x normal price. You may want to wait and give an IOU instead.
  3. Purchase Carefully: Always buy from a reputable vendor, read reviews, and verify Amazon ratings for products
  4. Compatibility: Before you buy any smart-enabled gadgets, make sure they will integrate with your Smart Home ecosystem. Most products will only work with 1 or 2 ecosystems, so check before you buy.