Data Doctors: Key differences between Windows 10 and 11

Q: Before I upgrade, what are the main differences between Windows 10 and 11?

A: Despite an announcement in 2015 by a Microsoft employee that Windows 10 would be the “last version of Windows” it’s clear that Microsoft changed directions when they announced Windows 11 as a successor in 2021.

Along with that announcement was the notification that Windows 10 support would end on Oct. 14, 2025, which means everyone will have to upgrade in the next year or so.

They look similar with a few key changes to the location of the Start menu and Taskbar, which you can return to the Windows 10 look with these changes.

Hardware requirements

Let’s start with the required hardware to upgrade as Windows 11 requires a little more processing power, memory and storage space:

  • Windows 10 — 64-bit processor with 1 GHz clock speed, 2GB RAM, and 20GB HDD
  • Windows 11 — 64-bit processor with 2 cores, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of storage

To determine whether your computer meets the requirements, press the Windows logo key + S and type ‘PC health check,’ then select PC Health Check from the list of results to get the ‘check now’ button.

Live tiles now widgets

Microsoft’s attempts to get everyone using live tiles in previous versions going back to Windows 8 have been converted to something more people are familiar with because of smartphones: widgets.

They have separated navigation from the display of information in the Start menu. So if you like seeing things like current weather, stock tickers, etc. in your Start menu, you’ll want to turn on the ‘Widgets’ option by going to the ‘Personalization > Taskbar’ section of the ‘Settings’ menu.

This will place a ‘Widgets’ icon on the lower right side of the taskbar, which you can click and personalize to your liking.

Any of the existing widgets can be removed by clicking on the three horizontal dots in the upper right corner of the widget.

In the top left area of the Widgets screen, you’ll see a plus sign next to the word ‘Widgets,’ which is how you can ‘Pin’ what you’d like to see.

If you don’t want to see all the items that Microsoft ‘feeds’ you, click on the gear icon in the upper right corner of the widgets screen, go to ‘Show or hide feeds,’ and turn off ‘My Feed.’

Touch and gaming enhancements

If your computer has a touch screen, you should notice that it’s a little more like using your finger as a mouse.

If you’re a gamer, they’ve added enhancements such as Auto HDR and latency reduction technology to improve display performance.

Lock on leave, wake on approach

Windows 11 supports ‘presence sensors’ that are built into newer computers, which will only appear if your device has the technology.

Security enhancements

An initiative that started in 2019 to improve security by integrating security through both hardware and software is fully supported in Windows 11.

If you have a newer computer with Windows 11, you’ll have the best protection by default against today’s most current threats.

Even with these security improvements, I’d recommend an additional layer of protection through a third-party internet security package as Windows Defender has its limitations.

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