Updating to Windows 11: Pros and cons for dental practices

October 15th, 2021
Updating to Windows 11: Pros and cons for dental practices

Microsoft released the latest iteration of its operating system (OS), Windows 11, on October 5, 2021. And like many business owners in New York and beyond, you’re probably wondering if it’s time to upgrade to Windows 11. In this blog, we take a look at the upsides of doing so, as well as the reasons you may want to put it off for the meantime.

But first, can your machines run Windows 11?

If your devices meet the following minimum system specifications, then they should be able to run Windows 11:

  • Processor – 64-bit at 1 GHz
  • RAM – 16 GB
  • Storage – 256 GB SSD harddrive
  • Display – 9 inches diagonal at 720p
  • Resolution – 1280 x 720
  • System firmwareUEFI, Secure Boot-capable
  • Trusted Platform ModuleTPM 2.0
  • Graphics – DirectX 12-compatible graphics/WDDM 2.x
  • PC Age – 12-24 months old

Furthermore, Microsoft has limited supported computers to just those equipped with 8th generation and high-end 7th generation Intel processors and their equivalents. Windows 11 is also incompatible with 32-bit processors, but will still run 32-bit apps.

If you’re unsure whether your devices are compatible, Microsoft's PC Health Check app can help you confirm if your devices meet Windows 11's system requirements. You may install Windows 11 on incompatible devices through a Microsoft-approved registry hack, but these devices may not be able to get security updates.

What are the pros of upgrading?

When you upgrade to Windows 11, your dental practice may benefit from the following:

Improved speeds and performance

Windows 10 is no slacker, but Windows 11 comes with several changes that make it faster than its predecessor. For one, when determining which processes to pour your device’s computing power into, the new OS’s algorithm will always prioritize the apps you’re currently using.

Another brilliant feature is how Windows 11 keeps RAM powered even when you put your device to sleep. RAM normally powers down during sleep mode and has to be “woken up” when you reactivate your device. With Windows 11, RAM remains “awake,” reducing the amount of time needed to reactivate your apps when your device exits sleep mode.

What’s more, all updates on Windows 11 will be 40% smaller in size and will run more efficiently as a background process. This means the OS will use up less power and computing resources, extending your device’s battery life and reducing any update’s impact on your device’s performance.

Stronger cybersecurity*

The healthcare sector suffered almost three times more data breaches — most of which were caused by cyberattacks — in 2021 than it did in 2020. This means your dental practice can benefit from increased protection, which Windows 11 provides.

Remember how Windows 11 requires TPM 2.0 support? TPM is a technology that protects any data used to authenticate your device. It’s also instrumental in storing passwords, encrypting files, and other security-related functions. TPM 2.0 was designed to be extra tamper-proof, which makes it harder for cybercriminals to hack into your devices, extract authentication data, and infiltrate your network using stolen credentials.

Enforcing zero trust also becomes easier with TPM 2.0. Zero trust is a security model in which users are permitted to access the least amount of data needed for them to complete their tasks. Their identities are also verified at every turn. TPM provides an easy and secure means to authenticate the identity of any user accessing your network.

*Be aware that Windows 11 cybersecurity is not recommended as being the only security implemented at your practice. In a healthcare environment, having a 3rd party cybersecurity software is always recommended to protect sensitive data and PHI.

Emphasis on experience

Windows 11 aims to provide a better user experience in several ways. One standout improvement is the removal of Windows 10’s Tablet mode, which optimized 2-in-1 laptops for use as a mobile tablet. Activating and deactivating Tablet mode was cumbersome, making it difficult for users to switch to and from desktop mode.

In contrast, Windows 11 automatically converts your regular desktop screen into a tablet-friendly screen the moment you turn your device into a tablet. Icons and buttons, as well as the spaces between them, increase, giving you a display that you can easily interact with using a finger or pen.

Another upcoming feature is the native support for Android apps, thanks to the presence of the Amazon Appstore inside the Microsoft Store. Formerly, you could only run Android apps on Windows 10 by using select Samsung smartphones or by running apps like BlueStacks or Nox. If your dental practice uses Android apps for processing appointments and payments, then this new development may spare you from having to use multiple apps and devices at once.

What are the cons of upgrading?

Here are a few drawbacks you should consider before upgrading:

Software compatibility

Dental-specific applications and software, such as Dentrix, Dexis, and Solution Reach have NOT yet been tested for Windows 11 compatibility, meaning the software may not work properly if Windows 11 is installed. Banking software, Quickbooks, and any other practice management software has also not been tested with Windows 11 at this time. Microsoft has been putting a strong emphasis on implementing rigid security and protocols in the last few years. With that being said, If you have older software (3+ years), hardware peripherals, printers, cameras, or scanners there is a high possibility that it won’t be compatible with Windows 11.

Be very wary about this con when deciding whether or not to upgrade your PCs to Windows 11, at the very least until your important practice software is tested and approved for optimal compatibility.

Hardware upgrades

If your computer doesn't meet Windows 11's system requirements, you may have to spend money on hardware upgrades or buy a new device altogether to make the most of the new OS. Unfortunately, computers with good specifications aren’t cheap at all.

Uneven experience

Despite its goal of providing a smooth experience to users, Windows 11 does have usability-related issues. For one, Microsoft removed the taskbar's drag-and-drop feature, which people use to pin shortcuts to the taskbar or open documents in certain apps.

Another example is how the taskbar used to be movable to different sides of the screen, but is now stuck to the bottom in Windows 11. It’s a minor setback, but can be annoying if you’re used to having the taskbar in a certain area of the screen.

Collection of user data

Are you concerned that big companies are collecting and storing your personal information? Unfortunately, Microsoft will likely do this to you when you upgrade to and use Windows 11. Your data, such as information about how you use the OS, will be used to iron out kinks in future updates and provide you with a tailored experience. If it brings you comfort, note that Microsoft isn’t the only company that does this and Microsoft assures users that the process will not compromise their privacy at all.

Windows 11 is a new product with lots to offer your dental practice. If you need help understanding its features and how they can bolster your practice’s operations, we at Healthy IT can help you out. Schedule a free consultation today.