Windows 11 is available now to Windows Insiders and will be available to consumers later this year. Unlike Windows 10 feature updates, Windows 11 offers several new features and improvements.
New start menu
Windows 11 comes with a centered Start menu and taskbar, similar to Windows 10X.
The start menu does not contain traditional live tiles. It comes with a new user interface that uses static icons for Microsoft Store apps, Microsoft Edge-based Progressive Web Apps, and other programs, similar to Windows 10X and Chrome.
By default, the Start menu contains pinned apps and services such as Calculator, Microsoft Edge, and Settings. As with Windows 10, the Windows 11 Start menu only shows apps and websites. However, users cannot group apps to create a folder, a feature currently offered on Windows 10’s live tile interface.
You can still right-click any icon to access the app’s settings and pin it to the system tray
You can always restore the left-aligned taskbar and switch between three different sizes – small, medium, and large. The small size is aimed at desktops with mouse support and the medium or large size seems very touch-friendly.
At the moment, users need to modify their registry in order to resize the taskbar. It is likely that Windows settings will offer options to customize the taskbar to switch between different sizes of the Windows taskbar.
The same modern settings app is offered, which can be used to customize the start menu with additional shortcuts. You can also use it to customize the Action Center, desktop background, system accent and transparency effect for the taskbar, and more.
Some Windows features are now serviced outside of the usual Windows updates using Experience Packs.
Windows 11 still comes with the same file explorer but is getting some much-needed improvements. For example, Explorer now offers new icons, rounded corners, and improvements in dark mode.
Microsoft has optimized the explorer interface for both mouse and touch users. Since Windows 11 doesn’t include tablet mode, these changes help touchscreen users so they can easily interact to rename, select, or delete files.
At the moment it looks like the tablet experience is enabled by default, but users can always revert to the old layout by configuring the “Folder Options” in File Explorer.
As mentioned earlier, the File Explorer user interface doesn’t change dramatically, but Microsoft is replacing the Windows 8-era ribbon toolbar with a redesigned main menu called “Command Bar” that gives you quick access to commonly used actions like share, delete , Renaming, etc. allows.
There will also be some quality improvements. For example the Extract everything OneDrive files option is introduced. This option appears when you right-click on a zipped OneDrive file that was set to Online Only.
New snap experience
With Windows 11, Microsoft gives users access to four predefined snap layouts by hovering over the maximize button. As shown in the following screenshot, a new area with a snapping layout appears on the screen when you hover over the mouse pointer.
Windows 11 currently ships with four preconfigured snap layouts:
- Two windows of the same size next to each other.
- Two windows next to each other, but the left window has more space.
- A large left window and apps will be windows stacked vertically on the right.
- Apps are split evenly into four different windows.
Microsoft introduces Windows Widgets, which appear to be a successor to Windows 10 News and Interests.
Like the News and Interest Feed, Windows Widgets are supported by AI and Microsoft News Feed. It uses your browsing activity and location to provide a custom messaging experience on your desktop. It also comes with a weather widget.
Right now, Microsoft is working on entertainment widgets, esports widgets, weather widgets, to-do widgets, and more.
Windows 11 finally comes with a redesigned battery settings page. This contains detailed graphics to help anyone understand how their laptop / notebook is using the battery.
The graphics are displayed in the modern settings app and users can monitor their laptop’s battery level throughout the day. You can also open the bar graph view to better understand battery usage over the past seven days.
Device Manager has been updated with rounded corners and a new icon, but there are a few minor additions as well. The first new feature is a new “Devices by Driver” filter that is being introduced to help users get a list of devices that are using a particular driver.
The second option, ‘Drivers by Type’, allows you to view the .inf driver files by device type. And there is a third new option, “Driver by Device”, which will display the .inf files under the name of the device that is using them.
Users can also start and operate the Control Panel, Disk Management, and all other legacy tools. Microsoft is not modernizing the user interface of these legacy features and components, but there is one visible change: Microsoft has enabled rounded corners and shadow effects.
Icons in the control panel and other pages have been redesigned with a touch of Microsoft’s modern fluent design.
HDR support for color managed apps
Microsoft is enabling support for HDR mode in apps for creative and artistic apps that use International Color Consortium (ICC) color profiles.
Microsoft is redesigning the virtual desktop screen with some much-needed multitasking enhancements. In addition to the new design, Microsoft is introducing three new features – the ability to change the position of each virtual desktop. Customize the backgrounds for all of your virtual desktops and help set up multiple monitors.
To rearrange the desktops, do the following:
Create several new virtual desktops.
Drag and drop a virtual desktop to a different location.
In the task view, right-click a thumbnail of the virtual desktop and select “Move left” or “Move right” from the context menu. This changes the order of all virtual desktops.
If you want to change the background of the virtual desktops, do the following:
Open Settings> Personalization> Background.
Right click a background and apply it to a specific virtual desktop.
Once you’ve selected the background, the changes will take effect immediately and you’ll see your new background when you switch to the virtual desktop.
The clipboard history manager (Win + V) has been redesigned with rounded corners and some new features, including a new way to paste emojis and GIFs.
In addition to these changes, Microsoft has activated a new option “Paste as plain text” in addition to pinning and deleting. This allows you to paste the text content of the clipboard without its original formatting (font, color, size, etc.).
New function for DNS over HTTPS (DoH)
DNS over HTTPS (DoH) is a new feature that enables DNS resolution over encrypted HTTPS connections and aims to protect your browsing privacy from outsiders.
“If you haven’t waited for this and are wondering what DoH is all about, be aware that this feature will change your device’s connection to the Internet and is in an early testing phase, ready,” Microsoft stated DoH in one last year published blog post.
In the preview, you can test the functionality and configure DoH for Ethernet connections by following the steps below:
to open Settings> Network & Internet> Status.
Choose Edit IP assignment or Edit the DNS server assignment.
Activate DoH in the popup.
To configure DoH for Wi-Fi connections, do the following:
to open Settings> Network & Internet> WLAN.
Click the link for the adapter properties.
Choose Edit IP assignment or Edit the DNS server assignment.
Activate DoH in the popup.
Improved GPU control
Microsoft gives users more control over multiple GPUs when running apps in Windows.
On devices with two GPUs, Windows uses the integrated GPU as a power-saving GPU and the separate graphics card as a high-performance GPU. This setting is configured automatically based on your device.
You can also go to the graphics settings below the settings > display > Graphics settings and determine whether an app should use the high-performance or energy-saving GPU.
Improved settings for audio devices
You can now set default speakers by clicking to. navigate the settings > system > sound. The same page has been updated with a link to the pro app sound screen in the classic volume mixer.
Windows 11 release date
According to reports, Microsoft is currently planning to release the update in October 2021. However, the broader rollout of Windows 11 is not expected to begin until early 2022.
Latest news on Windows 11
- Microsoft officials recently confirmed that Windows 11 is moving from the current semi-annual rate to the annual feature update rate.
- As part of the updated cadence, Microsoft will support each version of Windows 11 Pro and Windows 10 Home for 24 months, while Windows 11 Enterprise, Windows 11 Education and IoT Enterprise will be supported for 36 months.
- During the Inspire event, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 11 commercial SKUs (Enterprise, Education, etc.) ship in dark mode by default, but users can switch to light mode at any time through Settings.
- In the preview builds, Microsoft has now started testing updated context menus with transparency / blurring effects.
Microsoft is still working on Windows 11 and we will learn more about the operating system in the coming months.