Microsoft announced the release of Windows 11 at the end of June. Only weeks later, they followed with a surprise introduction of Windows 365, a subscription service that takes the operating system to the cloud. It is designed for businesses, with IT managers and the new hybrid working era in mind. In this article, we will go through the features and benefits of both and explain the differences between the two.
Windows 11 is the latest version of Windows operating system. After 6 years of the same user interface, the successor of Windows 10 has undergone a complete makeover, launching a fresher, more minimalist style than its precursors.
Microsoft describes Windows 11 as a "calm and creative space" that "brings you closer to the people and things you love." Over the last 15 months, our devices have often been the only place where we can work, connect, play, be entertained and stay informed. Undoubtedly, this has influenced Microsoft's goal of making these areas intuitive and easy to switch between.
Photo credit (Microsoft) - https://news.microsoft.com/june-24-2021/
- The start menu has been refreshed and opens now from the centre of the taskbar.
- Live tiles have gone, but are replaced by widgets for things like news, weather, and calendar events.
- The addition of desktops helps you stay organised and focused by creating separate, customisable desktops for every part of your life.
- Snap Layouts allows you to open multiple Windows simultaneously in your chosen layout, adapt to the size of your screen, while Snap Groups remembers collections of apps you have used and keeps them for you so you can return to them later.
- Microsoft Teams is built into Windows 11 devices, so you can connect directly to your contacts from your desktop.
- Vertical tabs make it easier to find what you are looking for, so you don't get lost in several tabs.
- Updates are 40% smaller and occur in the background for fewer interruptions.
No specific release date has been confirmed, but Microsoft said it will arrive during the 2021 holiday season. However, it is expected that this only refers to the date at which new laptops and PCs with Windows 11 pre-installed will be available to buy. Users who want to upgrade their existing Windows devices are likely to have to wait until 2022.
Windows 365 is a cloud-based operating system. It’s the latest service offering from Microsoft, which is referred to as a ‘Cloud PC’. It "combines the power and security of the cloud with the versatility of the PC" and allows employees to access their desktop virtually, rather than rely on a physical device.
Influenced by the colossal change in our relationships with work and technology caused by the pandemic, Windows 365 has been created exclusively for companies to make hybrid work easier and more productive. The service reduces the security risks associated with working from home or using personal devices, as information is stored in the cloud, not on the device itself.
Windows 365 is used and appears in the same way as the traditional Windows operating system, but is accessed and managed via your Internet browser or the Microsoft Remote Desktop app. Your entire desktop is stored in a secure data centre, not on your actual device.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the following in a recent statement: "Just as applications have been brought to the cloud with software-as-a-Service, we are now bringing the operating system to the cloud, giving organisations greater flexibility and a secure way to enable their workforce to be more productive and connected, regardless of location".
The main difference between the two is that Windows 11 is a traditional operating system that anyone can buy and install on their computer, while Windows 365 is a subscription service that allows companies to stream Windows 11 (or Windows 10) from the cloud to any device.
- A traditional operating system like Windows 11 is installed on your device and consumes RAM and storage space. Windows 365, on the other hand, does not take up any space on your device, as everything is stored in the cloud, but it means an Internet connection is required to run it.
- Windows 10 and 11 are either pre-installed on devices or you buy a licence, and it's yours to keep forever. Windows 365, on the other hand, operates on a subscription model, so you rent your desktops essentially. This could prove useful if you hire freelancers or temporary workers, as you can quickly set up their new cloud PC and secure access to company data without the need to make long-term investments.