Microsoft unleashes Windows 11 on the world

Microsoft began launching Windows 11 on Monday as one market after another arrived on October 5, the day it had set as the launch date for the operating system upgrade.

Personal computers running Windows 10 that meet Microsoft’s stricter-than-usual hardware requirements were immediately eligible for the free Windows 11 download. New devices with factory-installed Windows 11 also went on sale.

“We are excited to launch Windows 11,” wrote Panos Panay, Windows + Devices group product manager, in a post on a corporate blog On Monday. “The whole user experience brings you closer to what you love, enables you to produce, and inspires you to create.” (Panay is well known for using the expressions “I’m pumped” and “we’re pumped.”)

Businesses can use the same tools to manage upgrades to Windows 11 that they currently rely on to service Windows 10, including Intune and Configuration Manager, tools in the Microsoft Endpoint suite; Windows Server Update Services (WSUS); and Windows Update for Business (WUfB). Windows 11 has also been distributed to a host of second-level sources, including Visual Studio subscriptions, the Software Download Center and the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).

Managed machines will of course continue to run Windows 10 for as long as the company’s IT staff want. Windows 10 will be supported, Microsoft pledged, until October 2025. (This support may be limited to security updates; Microsoft has yet to commit to more than the next update. feature day, designated 212H, which will launch before the end of the year, possibly later this month.)

“Upgrading managed devices to Windows 11 requires explicit approval from an administrator and will not upgrade without that approval when checking for updates from Windows Update,” Microsoft said in a statement. . online support document. “The Enterprise and Education editions also won’t show Windows 11 as an optional update in Windows settings, so end users won’t have the option to upgrade themselves.”

For business customers, Microsoft has published a plethora of blog posts, guides, and documentation for planning and deploying Windows 11, and unsurprisingly pointed out that current service and maintenance tools will work with the new operating system.

(As much as they should be, because for all the hype around Windows 11, it’s as much a feature update to Windows 10 as it is a new operating system in the sense that, say, Windows 7 was a different operating system from Windows XP.)

Knowing full well that businesses will almost certainly press pause on Windows 11, Microsoft has also been keen to tell admins that there is a set of tools that they can use to manage both Windows 10 and 11.

“You don’t need to split them up and manage them separately,” said David Guyer, senior program director, in a statement. post on the Endpoint Manager blog. The company has also gone out of its way to allay IT concerns about deploying 11 after saying the move to 10 is the last time such important migration administrators should do. “The experience is essentially the same as with any other Windows 10 feature update,” Guyer said of the switch from Windows 10 to Windows 11.

Likewise, Microsoft extended its promise of application compatibility – nicknamed “App Assure” – to Windows 11 and stated that as of October 5 Windows 11 was available to create virtual machines using the Windows 365 Enterprise service.

A good place for admins to get started with Windows 11, even if it’s just for informational purposes and not for the actual deployment, is it Windows IT Pro blog post, which summarizes the appropriate maintenance tools and also provides links to more in-depth documentation, such as this section operating system documentation (and others in the left sidebar).

Another good entry point: This post by Wangui McKelvey, Managing Director of Microsoft 365.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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