Microsoft Announce That Windows 11 Will Update Features Once a Year

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Last month, Windows 11 was unveiled to the world, after 6 years of Windows 10 being in use. The new system included a sleeker interface, icons for apps, as well as a start menu that is located centrally.

While we’ve been given an insight into what Windows 11 will be like, the proper release is anticipated to start towards the end of this year, where it will be already installed on new PCs. Alongside this, for people who are operating on Windows 10, Windows 11 will be a free update they can download. At the moment, the only people who are able to experience Windows 11 are Windows Insider members, who can be part of a testing program.

One of the other pieces of information to come to light is the schedule and plans for updates to Windows 11. In it, Microsoft announced that there will only be one major update a year, with consistent monthly updates to fix security and bug issues.

On the Microsoft official support site, the Feature Update and Quality Update Deployment Plan is outlaid. Within this plan they announce that they, ‘will provide a single Windows 11 feature update annually, targeted for release in the second half of each calendar year.’ With regard to the lifecycle, they make these two points, the first being, ‘Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, and Pro for Education editions of Windows 11 will receive 24 months of support from the general availability date.’ While the second point is, ‘Enterprise and Education editions of Windows 11 will be supported for 36 months from the general availability date.’

Once Windows 11 has been properly rolled out and is available generally, support.microsoft.com will offer a consolidated Windows 11 update history. Alongside this, the Windows release health hub will provide an easy and straightforward way to get information on servicing announcements, issues, and safeguard holds for Windows 11.

Because of the scale of people using Microsoft 10 devices, it is anticipated that Windows 11 will take a long time until it is fully adopted. Aware of this, Microsoft has announced that devices on the service versions of Windows 10 will be provided with security updates up until 2025. This will be coupled with adjustments to keep Windows 10 support Microsoft 365.

To turn our attention to the hardware requirements for Windows 11, there will be a stricter level of requirement that could see a lot of current hardware unable to make the jump from Windows 10 to Windows 11. Microsoft has said that this is mainly because of security concerns. To run Windows 11, a device must use an Intel Core processor that was made in 2017 or newer. The other option is an AMD Zen 2 processor that is no older than 2019. Further requirements for Windows 11 will be a minimum of 4 GB of RAM and hard drive storage of 64 GB or more. To compare these requirements to Windows 10, only 1GB of and 16GB of storage was needed.

On this subject, David Weston, Microsoft director of enterprise and operating system security, wrote, ‘Microsoft has a clear vision for how to help protect our customers now and in the future and we know our approach works. [...] We are announcing Windows 11 to raise security baselines with new hardware security requirements built-in.’

Continuing on this topic, a blog post on the Windows website that was set out to discuss concerns around the security states that, ‘Windows 11 raises the bar for security by requiring hardware that can enable protections like Windows Hello, Device Encryption, virtualization-based security (VBS), hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI) and Secure Boot. The combination of these features has been shown to reduce malware by 60% on tested devices. To meet the principle, all Windows 11 supported CPUs have an embedded TPM, support secure boot, and support VBS and specific VBS capabilities.

It will be interesting to see how the rollout of Windows 11 unfurls over the coming years. Microsoft has plenty of experience in these situations and will have planned meticulously for the deployment of Windows 11. As the operating system is only available to a small group of testers at the moment, we will be able to tell a lot more once the wider population is using it.