Microsoft: Windows 11 Specs Confusion Mania!

My dad needs a new computer. I said I’d look into various options for him based on what he likes and dislikes. We’ve ruled out a Mac because dad has used PCs exclusively throughout his lifetime and is therefore used to Windows. So fair enough.

I have a pretty good idea of the brand, type and whatnot – but the biggest hurdle in all of this is Microsoft. Apparently, despite being only a few months away from release, they still haven’t decided upon the final system requirements of Windows 11 which kind of makes picking a PC difficult. Sure, we’ve got a general gist of what’s going to be needed, but nothing is set in concrete yet.

I’ve switched camps in recent years from Intel to AMD. I really enjoy using my HP Omen laptop with its 16Gb RAM, 512Gb WD NVMe SSD, Nvidia RTX 2060 GPU and AMD Ryzen 4800H CPU. But it doesn’t ship with device encryption out the box, unlike an equivalent Intel counterpart. The easy option, so to speak, is to upgrade Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro – which a lot of people would tend to do. Let’s not get started on the various levels of Windows – it annoys me having found out that in order to set a pre-defined wallpaper for machines controlled via Microsoft’s Azure/inTune system, the easiest way of going about it is to upgrade Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Enterprise.

Should my HP laptop be upgradeable to Windows 11? Yes, based on what I’ve been reading – it has everything present and correct. Will it be upgradeable? God knows at this stage. I’d sort out the free device encryption on my HP, but I’m waiting to see what Windows 11 does first.

But the different license feature sets of Windows is why I generally prefer Apple kit, though it’s not without its own complications as the move away from OS X to macOS 11 has taken far longer than it should have, and we’re now working with two different architectures (Intel x86_64 and ARM64) for a few more years yet. And the move to M1 is a tiny bit frustrating as we still having to wait for some developers to release Universal or native Apple Silicon binaries – I’m still annoyed that Sophos hasn’t brought out an M1 compatible version of Sophos Home Premium yet and macOS Monterey is just around the corner. But a tool like JamF Now or Pro makes working with Macs far easier than Microsoft’s inTune – that’s for sure!

But going back to Windows 11, Microsoft had better make up its mind soon, because PC manufacturers are not going to have too much time to get things ready. Existing PCs are one problem, but for those – like my dad – who are looking to buy a new PC that is guaranteed to be Windows 11 compatible, is another one – and one that needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later if any cash is to be splashed.

Sometimes I think Microsoft should just stick to making Office suites, games and games consoles. Though I’d argue about Office because my recent experience with the business edition of Microsoft 365 is a mixed bag – for example, why is it so damned slow to work with shared documents in the desktop apps versus the web app? And the whole OneDrive/Sharepoint/Teams thing is a confusing mess. I’m not too impressed with the Outlook web app either – settings are forgotten and calendar entries have gone missing because of UI bugs.