Six years after Windows 10 remained largely unchanged, the world’s most popular desktop operating system is getting a major overhaul with the release of Windows 11. Although Microsoft claims that Window 10 is the last version of Windows. No matter: after a pair Years of tedious updates There is something exciting about using the world of Windows (at least part of it).
That said, when we first ran Windows 11, we were surprised that, despite its very new look, it still didn’t look too different from Windows 10. Not as much as we’d expect based on the screenshots we’ve seen. Of course, taskbar icons for all windows look better with rounded corners In the middle and more elegant settings dialog, but it doesn’t feel completely foreign or require a whole new process like Windows 8.
What are the requirements for Windows 11? How to get it?
The system requirements for Windows 11 have been done a lot, but they’re actually pretty low – 1GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, and 64GB storage. and of course a computer with a TPM security chip and secure boot. These are less of a problem than the internet makes them They’ve been standard on most PCs for the past six years or so. The real limiting factor will be the CPU model, which takes about the past four years.
If you’ve signed up for the Windows Insider program and have been receiving Dev channel builds of Windows 10, the requirements are less stringent: I’ve signed up for the program so I was able to install Windows 11 on a 7th Gen Intel Core i5 processor though The request says
you want the 8th generation model.
Anyone with one of the newer chips should be able to install Windows 11 through the Insider program. Outside of the Insider Program, the latest news is that the standard upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 won’t be available until 2022. My take is that Microsoft really doesn’t want to Users upgrade to Windows 11 – it wants them to buy new PCs.
Like Windows 10, Windows 11 comes in Home and Professional editions. The fact that you need to log into an online account to upgrade to Windows 11 Home just like installing Android iOS and macOS has drawn the ire of some commenters I really don’t think it’s A problem worth solving. If you really don’t want to log in with your operating system’s online account, I recommend Canonical’s Ubuntu – although Canonical wants you to log in too. 😅
A New Look for your Windows
By the way, let’s take a look at what’s new in Windows 11. Much of the work has been interface redesign rather than actual functionality, and as I mentioned above despite some rearranging and updating of furniture 😅, Windows 11 feels more familiar than you might expect. It borrows from While the desktop version of Chrome OS still offers app icons, Google’s lightweight desktop OS doesn’t. Windowing and multitasking are also more advanced in Windows. The interface gets macOS rounded corners for all windows, which isn’t really a breaking change, but it does provide The OS a softer look. Many of the new designs bring a welcome new level of fluidity and consistency to the Windows interface, but there are also some changes that I don’t like.
Now let’s talk about Taskbar, File Explorer and Start Menu
The Windows Start button has been sitting in the bottom left corner of the screen for decades, so while it may be a small detail to get used to, its placement on the left edge of centered icons could be one of the bigger adjustments you need to make. My problem is that the start menu had been in the exact same position before, but now if you run more programs it moves a bit more to the left. In all previous versions of Windows, it was an advantage to not have to think about the position of the Start button at all. Happily, the taskbar alignment option brings you back to the beginning button in the lower left corner.
I also don’t like the new taskbar, which has smaller buttons and less information. In Windows 10, it’s easy to see which programs are running because their taskbar buttons are much wider. You can still hover over the button to see a thumbnail of the application window, and right-click to open A jump list with recent documents or other common actions in the app.
At Microsoft’s Windows 11 unveil event, Teams was prominently centered on the taskbar by default, but the feature hasn’t arrived in pre-release builds yet, so I can’t comment on that. It’s a sensible move: As virtual meetings grow in importance Maybe Microsoft can grab some of the video conferencing market. However, adding a Skype meeting button to Windows 10’s notification area doesn’t seem to work yet in testing.
The Start menu has received a major change in Windows 11. Degenerate tiles sit at the top of its panel, with recent and frequently used apps and documents below it. Start’s new mini-tiles are still good for touch typing, but you lose some information that live tiles can be annoying at times.
File Explorer is a great example of Windows 11’s new look, especially its updated left-panel controls and folder icons. Note the simplified ribbon at the top, which is far less busy and distracting than the previous File Explorer. The New button on the top left is for new folders or documentation supported by your application, and the same file viewing options (listing details for icons of different sizes) are available. The overflow menu provides file compression selection properties and the old Folder Options dialog.
Touch support remains a big focus for Windows tablets. The on-screen keyboard has been updated and now allows custom backgrounds. Tablet mode looks similar to the desktop interface, but with more space between taskbar icons. Touch gestures are improved (as described elsewhere here) and There is a new pen menu for stylus users.
One of the few actual new features in Windows 11 is this widgets panel. It’s not entirely new either, as the News and Interest taskbar popups that recently appeared in Windows 10 do pretty much the same thing. I’m used to news and interest weather indicators are always on Taskbar: To see the same information, you have to click on the Windows 11 widget’s icon. In addition to news and weather tiles, third-party developers can also provide content through widgets in Windows 11. Touch screen users can easily open them by swiping from the left, and you can go full screen If you want a bigger view, use the widgets panel.
Notification and Quick Settings
Microsoft split the Windows 10 Action Center into two separate panels and click targets. This is similar to what Apple did with notifications for macOS, which used to be a clean and simple single panel, but is now a collection of smaller popups. The Windows 11 version is not as bad as macOS is, but I still prefer a single Action Center panel for notifications and quick settings. I appreciate the circled number (similar to the number on some mobile app icons) that shows how many notifications you have. Touch users can swipe in from the right to reveal Notification panel.
When you click or tap the speaker or Network icon, the Quick Settings panel will open. By default, it shows buttons for Wi-Fi Bluetooth Airplane Mode, Battery Saver Focus Assist and Accessibility, and sliders for speaker volume and screen brightness. Pencil icon allows you to customize content Buttons appear, options to connect (for external monitors and audio) keyboard layouts nearby sharing (like AirDrop for PC) night lights and projects. You can still hover over each of the three icons in the taskbar to see their status, but I prefer the sound settings pop up when I click When I click on the Wi-Fi icon the speaker and Wi-Fi options appear.
One of the most annoying things about Windows 10 is its inconsistent settings windows and dialogs: Sometimes you uninstall programs in the new Settings app, and sometimes you uninstall programs in the antiquated Control Panel. This inconsistency is
gone almost entirely in Windows 11. For some detailed control Sound devices for example, despite the new design of the window, you can still see the old style content.
Light and dark mode settings can still be found in the Personalization > Colors settings area, and the modes look much better than in Windows 10, especially the dark mode, which uses transparency effectively. Compared to macOS, Dark Mode can now proudly rear its head.
You can still change system sounds in Settings, but the new Windows 11 default set of sounds is fast and modern.
Layouts and Multitasking
Windows has long surpassed macOS in the way it allows you to arrange windows app on the screen, and with Windows 11’s new layout options, the gap becomes even wider. You can do this by hovering your cursor over the maximize button in the upper right corner of any window – it seems a bit hidden to me, I hope Microsoft reveals more features in the final release. When you do hover over the maximize button, you’ll see a choice of layouts two windows side by side, three windows side by side, one big and one small, and so on, as shown below.
The current application window goes to where you clicked on the layout (shown here in blue), and you can move it elsewhere in the same way at any time. Once you have a group of applications in a layout, you can hover over any of their icons in the taskbar to see the layout group to restore windows easily Microsoft calls the arrangement the Snap Group. You can also load these onto a second monitor you’ve connected your PC to.
Windows 11 also improves docking by remembering your layout on external displays, even if you don’t specify a snap group. Thankfully you can still Snaps a window aside so that it occupies exactly half of the screen.
Windows still offers multiple virtual desktops, which I find useful for separating work apps and websites from personal ones. I either press Ctrl-Windows key-arrow keys to move back and forth between them, or I press the Windows key-Tab keyboard shortcut to select one from task view. and In Windows 11, you can now use a four-finger swipe to move the long-time favorite of Mac users back and forth, albeit only via the trackpad rather than directly on the screen. Another new feature is setting a different desktop background (also known as wallpaper) for each desktop.
Let’s talk now about Android Apps and the new Store in windows 11
One big feature is that Windows 11 will be able to run Android apps, but there are some caveats. You have to install them through the Amazon Appstore running in Windows’ Microsoft Store or as a sideloaded APK. Like the rest of the interface, the Store is smartly designed Refresh, but in preview, the Android app is not yet available. Note that in addition to apps, the store also offers Movies & TV and games.
One app Microsoft says will be installed (front and center on the taskbar) is Microsoft Teams, the company’s video calling and business messaging service. Teams grew from 20 million active users to 145 million during the COVID pandemic, but it remains to be seen Whether it can become as ubiquitous as Microsoft hopes. Teams integration is not yet included in the Windows 11 preview builds we tested.
You also get all the standard apps like Photos, Groove Music Player, Voice Recorder, Paint 3D Mail Calendar and more. We expect the last two to be greatly improved as Windows 11 development progresses.
So what about Gaming On Windows 11 ?
PC gamers are never forgotten about a major new Windows update, and Windows 11 is no exception. Two areas benefit: game selection and technology. First, the Xbox app built into Windows 11 will provide access to the Xbox Game Pass collection of video games. This will include games like Halo Unlimited twelve minutes and Age of Empires IV. The app will also support Xbox Cloud Gaming, Microsoft’s streaming gaming platform.
As for new gaming technologies, Windows 11 will introduce Auto HDR and DirectStorage. The first expands the color space, showing excellent clarity even in non-HDR games. A second technology, DirectStorage (a subset of Xbox Velocity Architecture), will speed up game load times Bypasses the CPU and allows video memory to be loaded directly.
Other advancements in Windows 11 include Dynamic Refresh, which will save laptop battery by reducing the screen’s high refresh rate when it’s not needed. The OS will also support the faster Wi-Fi 6E standard. TPM and Secure Boot requirements are Microsoft’s security enhancements to the operating system are a topic worthy of a separate article.
What’s No Longer There Windows 11?
Some Windows convenience features that I personally like but apparently rarely use are disappearing. Aero Peek and Aero Shake are gone in the Windows 11 preview builds I tested. Cortana did come pre-installed on my test laptop because it was installed before, but Microsoft says AI voice Windows 11 doesn’t come with Assistant pre-installed. Live Tiles are also gone, with widgets now taking over their functionality. There will no doubt be more features on hold by the time Windows 11 ships.
Now it’s Time for a New Windows Upgrade
Minor complaints aside, it’s nice to see Microsoft getting serious about its big software: The company has been putting more effort into its Azure cloud computing service over the past few years and for good reason. Maybe Microsoft will lure some Chrome OS users away, or even— Dare we recommend it Mac users? In addition to the beautiful new look, there are useful new tools and features and performance improvements far more than can be discussed in this PCMag.com preview. Windows 11 is still in its early days, but even now, the next version The desktop software used on 1.3 billion PCs is impressive.