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Windows 11 review: The start of a new era

Microsoft is back with a new version of Windows that's designed to feel modern and easy to use.

W11 Start Searchbar
(Image: © Microsoft)

Windows 11

Source: Zac Bowden | Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Zac Bowden | Windows Central)

It's been six long years since the last mainline version of Windows shipped, and a lot has changed in the OS space since then. Microsoft is back with a roaring passion to create a modern version of the Windows user experience that's simple to use, beautifully designed, and well-connected, all in an effort to make you more productive in your professional or creative workflows.

In a world where more and more people are back using PCs in their day-to-day lives, Microsoft thought it was important to deliver a fresh OS designed from the ground up for working from home, while also catering to a new generation of people who have and are still growing up with smartphones and tablets as their primary "computer."

I've been using Windows 11 since it first went into preview back in June on all my PCs. I've loved my time with it, and I think it's the start of a great new era for the OS. That said, this is the first release of Windows 11, meaning there is certainly room for improvement in a number of areas. So, with all that in mind, let's dive in to the details.

As of Februrary 2022, Microsoft has updated Windows 11 with a handful of new features including improvements to the Taskbar such as weather info and muting your mic via the System Tray, support for Android apps, and updated Notepad and Media Player apps. We've updated this review to include those features.

Windows 11: Availability

Windows Update upgrade to Windows 11 notification

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Windows 11 is now generally available as an update for eligible Windows 10 PCs. Microsoft is taking a measured and phased approach to the rollout, however, meaning not everybody will be offered the update immediately. When your PC is ready, a big popup will appear in Windows Update that will allow you to initiate the download and install process, and Windows will do the rest.

Your PC must meet the following requirements to be eligible for the Windows 11 upgrade:

  • A compatible CPU
  • At least 4GB of RAM
  • At least 64GB of storage
  • UEFI, Secure Boot, & TPM 2.0 enabled

Windows 11 is also available on new PCs starting October 5, including on the new Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Pro 8, and Surface Go 3. More devices from other PC makers are expected to begin shipping from October 5 onwards as well, all with Windows 11 preloaded.

Be sure to check out our list of best Windows 11 PCs if you're interested in seeing what new PCs are ready for Windows 11.

Windows 11: What's new

Windows 11 focuses on three key areas: a fresh and modern UX designed to make using Windows simpler, new features and tweaks built around making you more productive, and a renewed focus on the Microsoft Store.

Most of the top-level user interfaces have been updated with a fresh look with new animations, iconography, and sounds. Everything from the Start menu and Taskbar right down to the context menus and in-box apps have been updated to look more consistent with the rest of the new Windows 11 design.

One of Microsoft's goals with Windows 11 has been to declutter and simplify the user experience (UX) where possible. Microsoft is trying to make the Windows UX easier to use for casual PC users who may be more familiar with modern OS experiences such as iOS and Android, but this comes at the cost of simplifying some common features or behaviors that some old-school Windows die-hards may struggle to adapt to.

The good news is, for those who prefer simplicity over complexity, Windows 11 is going to be a great release for you. It's an absolute joy to use, with a fluid UX that is almost perfect. Windows 11 is a breath of fresh air for those who enjoy the spectacle of software design, and a great release for those who value productivity enhancements and "getting to work" over everything else.

Windows 11: First things to do

Windows 11 Review Oobe

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Windows 11 has a brand new out-of-box experience, which walks you through setup. Gone is the old Cortana-driven installer, and in its place is a clean and simplistic design that takes you through setting up Windows 11 with ease. That said, Microsoft has made some policy changes here that you need to know about.

For the first time, Microsoft is making it mandatory for PCs with Windows 11 Home to be signed in with a Microsoft Account and connected to Wi-Fi during the out-of-box experience. I don't find this to be much of a big deal, as I actually like the integration and benefits you get with signing into a Microsoft Account. However, I know there are many people out there who refuse to use one, and this is going to be a problem for those people.

Once you're up and running on Windows 11, the first thing you need to do is head to the Microsoft Store app and check for updates to ensure that you have the latest versions of all the pre-installed Windows 11 apps. Once that's done, you should also head to Windows Update in the new Settings app and check for updates there to ensure you have the latest drivers designed for Windows 11.

The Review

Windows 11: Start menu

Windows 11 introduces new interfaces in almost every area of the desktop experience, and that includes the Start menu. Start has been a staple part of the Windows user experience for decades, so it's always a big deal when it changes significantly, as it has on Windows 11. Now, this isn't a "Windows 8-level" change, but it's still going to take some getting used to.

The new Start menu has taken the simplistic approach to doing an app launcher. No longer is the Start menu home to a completely customizable layout of app tiles; it's now a grid of icons that you can pin, unpin, and reorganize, and that's pretty much it. Live tiles are gone, with apps now displaying a static app icon and its name beneath it. This is basically exactly how other modern OSes do things these days, so it's no surprise to see Windows joining the fray.

The Start menu offers three rows of six icons that you can have pinned, with the ability to scroll through "pages" if you have more apps that you need to pin. There's also a full apps list that shows you all your installed apps that can be accessed via the "all apps" button located just above your pinned apps.

Along the top of the Start menu is a search bar, which really only acts as a shortcut to the dedicated Search function you can access via the search icon on your Taskbar. Search and Start are still split up on Windows 11, which is fine, but not my favorite way of doing things. There's a very clear disjointed experience when opening Start and beginning to type, as there's no animation involved when switching between the two interfaces.

Windows 11 Review Search

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Below your pinned apps is a new "Recommended" area that acts as a recents menu for things like documents and installed apps. Whenever you install a new app or open an Office document, it will appear directly in this Recommended area for quick access. It's very handy, but I've found it becomes cluttered very quickly as it has no filter controls at all. That means any documents, whether they be photos, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, or even random files in some cases, can show up there.

I'd love to see filter options become available in the future. For example, I'd love to be able to set how long certain file types actually show up in the Recommended area as a recent file, or filter out certain file types altogether. I rarely, if ever, use Excel, so if I'm opening an Excel spreadsheet, I already know I'm probably not going to need to access it again. Being able to hide Excel file types from the Recommended feed, in this case, would be good, too.

Additionally, you can't disable the Recommended area if it's something you know you're not going to use. Even if you clear it and turn the feature "off," a big empty space that cannot be collapsed or hidden will remain. This makes the whole UX look a little silly, as you can't use that extra space to show more pinned apps if that's something you'd want to do.

Windows 11: Taskbar and Action Center

Windows 11 Review Action Center

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

A big area of change on Windows 11 is with the new Taskbar, which has essentially been rebuilt from the ground up with simplicity at its core. You'll immediately notice that Microsoft has changed the layout of the Taskbar so system buttons and pinned or running apps are centered. This is a big change to the Taskbar, which has always been left-aligned.

I would've thought this change would take a long time to get used to, but I adjusted to it almost instantly. In fact, I really like the new Taskbar layout, and after just a few hours of using Windows 11, came to prefer my icons being centered. They feel more immediately accessible, and I no longer have to turn my head all the way into the corner on my massive ultrawide monitor. Things just look cleaner, which is a big deal for me personally.

All of the system icons (those being Start, Task View, Search, Teams Chat, and Widgets) have cute little animations that play when you click on them. And your pinned or running apps also have subtle pulse animations that play when you click on them. These small animations go a really long way to making Windows 11 feel like a fluid experience, which is leaps and bounds over the user experience on Windows 10.

As of February 2022, Microsoft has updated the entry-point for the Widgets feature. Once setup, the Widgets button will shift over to the far left of the Taskbar where the old Start button used to be, and will present up to date weather information directly on the Taskbar. This is a really nice feature, even if you don't use the Widgets panel much. Being able to see the weather as glancable info directly on the Taskbar is a nice addition.

There's also a couple of new behaviors for Microsoft Teams users. When in a call, you can now present an app window directly when hovering over an open app icon on the Taskbar, and you can also mute and unmute your microphone directly from the Taskbar. Microsoft says these features are available to other communication apps, as long as developers update their apps to support these additional Taskbar features.

Windows 11 Review Taskbar Animations

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Microsoft has done everything it can to simplify the Taskbar UX to the point in which it might be somewhat problematic for long-time Windows users. For example, you can no longer configure the Taskbar to appear on the left, right, or top of your display. There are also no additional Taskbar options in the right-click menu, with everything now moving into the new Settings app.

Microsoft has also removed common functions that even I've struggled with in my daily workflow. On every version of Windows prior, you've been able to drag a file into an app icon on the taskbar to drop it into that app, but that feature is gone on Windows 11. Without it, multitasking becomes a little trickier. The Taskbar is also worse if you use multiple monitors, too, as things like the date and time no longer show up on your other displays, only the main one.

While I really like the new design of the Taskbar, the functionality of it has certainly taken a step back on Windows 11. If you're the kind of person who never really touched the Taskbar outside of clicking it to launch apps, you won't have any problems here. However, if you're used to utilizing some of the Taskbar's more advanced features on Windows 10, such as toolbars, multitasking shortcuts, and more, most of those are gone now on Windows 11.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Elsewhere, the System Tray has been re-done on Windows 11 in an attempt to simplify it as much as possible. Microsoft has split up the Action Center into two separate flyouts: one for notifications and the other for quick settings. Clicking on the date and time button will open up your calendar view and notifications, and clicking on either Wi-Fi, Volume, or Battery will open the new Quick Settings panel.

I really like this new Quick Settings panel, as you can now configure things like Wi-Fi without being sent into the Settings app first. Some of the toggles have additional menus that let you configure them directly within the Quick Settings panel, which keeps you in your flow and doesn't get in the way of your currently open app. That said, not all of the toggles can be configured directly from the Quick Settings panel, such as Bluetooth, which still takes you to the main Settings app.

I do like how this implementation reduces the amount of flyouts that come straight from the Taskbar. Having all these options in one panel makes the UX feel much less cluttered and convoluted, which is the whole point of Windows 11.

Windows 11: Widgets

Windows 11 Widgets Weather Button

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

A new feature that Microsoft is trying to push on Windows 11 is "Widgets," which exists as a hidden panel that flies out above your desktop from the left side of the screen. There's a dedicated button for it on the Taskbar, or you can access it by swiping in from the left edge of your display. The panel consists of a widgets area at the top that has a handful of customizable widgets to choose from, and your Microsoft Start news feed below it.

As of February 2022, Microsoft has updated this feature with a new entry point on the Taskbar. As mentioned above, It's now accessible via a "weather" button placed in the far left of the Taskbar where the Start button used to be. This button will present you with the current weather condition, and clicking it will open up the full Widgets panel for access to all of the Widgets that are available to you.

I've not found this Widgets panel itself to be all that useful in my day-to-day workflow. The idea is that the Widget panel is always available to you for at a glance info, but I often forget it even exists, partly because I have no use for most of the widgets, and because the panel itself often has to first reload after not being opened for a few hours. Here's a full list of the available widgets in this first release of Windows 11:

  • Weather
  • Photos
  • To Do
  • Calendar
  • Sports
  • Family Safety
  • Watchlist (Stocks)
  • Tips

Of all the widgets present, the Weather widget is the one I've found most useful. The Photos widget is nice, but it's not something that makes me want to open the widgets panel to begin with. I'm also not a huge fan of how the widgets panel will force you into Microsoft Edge at any given opportunity.

Clicking on a widget or news article doesn't open that content inside the widget panel. It instead closes the widget panel and opens Microsoft Edge. This makes the UX feel really disjointed and jarring, as it throws you out of one UI and into another just to bring you an extended weather view. What's worse is that you can't even configure the widgets panel to open in a browser of your choice; it's Edge and that's it. This is a really lame choice on Microsoft's part.

Overall, I am not a fan of Widgets on Windows 11. This is one of those things I think you'll check out for five minutes, and then never use again. The introduction of the weather button in the far left of the Taskbar is a nice addition, but it's not going to make me use the Widgets panel itself any more. Weather on the Taskbar is the most I need, and I'll never need to click on it unless the Widgets feature as a whole improves.

Windows 11: Snap Assist and Task View

Windows 11 Review Taskview

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

One area that Microsoft has focused a lot of effort on is the multitasking and productivity aspect of Windows 11, which has seen lots of great improvements that almost make upgrading to Windows 11 worth it on their own. We'll begin with improvements to Snap Assist, which builds upon the classic Aero Snap feature first introduced with Windows 7.

In addition to being able to drag an app to the left or right of your display to snap it side-by-side, you can now hover over the maximize button with your cursor to see a drop down of all the different snap layouts available to you. This makes it super easy to snap two or more apps without needing to move your mouse to the very edge of your display, which is great if you're using a large display such as an ultrawide.

Windows 11 Review Snapmenu

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Speaking of big displays, Microsoft has also added new snap layouts that take advantage of bigger screens. There are now new snapping grids for three apps in a row, which makes much better use of that extra screen real estate. All of the fluid animations present here make using Snap Assist on Windows 11 a complete joy to use. This entire UX feels excellent, and I think it's one of Windows 11's highlight features.

For tablet users, Snap Assist will now intelligently snap apps above and below when using a device in portrait mode, a behavior that was missing in prior versions of Windows. Microsoft has also updated the switching orientation animation so that it's much more fluid, and also remembers where your apps were positioned when switching between landscape and portrait mode.

Windows 11 Snapping UX

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

There are also made several key changes and improvements to the Task View UI, which is where many go to see an overview of all their running apps. On Windows 11, Microsoft has removed the old Timeline feature, instead prioritizing your open apps and Virtual Desktops, which now appear along the bottom of your display. Virtual Desktops are much more customizable now, with abilities such as renaming and even setting custom wallpapers for each desktop.

You can also reorganize your desktops by clicking and dragging, and they'll even persist across reboots meaning you can really set up your PC so that you have a different virtual desktop for each of your workflows. For example, I have one for working and one for gaming. I still think there's room for improvement here, however. I'd like to be able to customize pinned apps on the Taskbar and in Start separately across virtual desktops. Right now, that's not possible.

Windows 11: Teams Chat

Windows 11 Review Teamschat

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Windows 11 has a new chat function that ties itself directly with the consumer-facing version of Microsoft Teams. Yes, Microsoft has a version of Teams that it intends for you to use with your friends and family outside of work. This chat service is still in its infancy, which explains why Microsoft is building it into Windows 11 in an attempt to kickstart the network and get people chatting.

Unfortunately, its integration with Windows 11 feels a little rough around the edges. The flyout on the Taskbar feels native enough, but chat windows pop out into their own window in the corner of your display, not where the chat flyout is. This also places a secondary Teams app icon on your Taskbar, so now I have two Teams icons for the same service. The actual chat button the Taskbar is clearly only a launcher for chats inside the actual Microsoft Teams app, which is not my favorite implementation.

Windows 11 Review Teamschat Window

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If it were up to me, I'd have those chats open up within the Teams Chat flyout on the Taskbar so that I don't have to mouse around my entire display to find the chat window that just opened up. The good news is that this new Microsoft Teams client is much lighter than the Microsoft Teams client you use for work. The bad news is that this only works with Microsoft Teams for consumer, meaning you cannot use it for your Teams work chat.

The chatting and audio call functionality is simple enough. It works as expected, and is cross-platform compatible with Windows, iOS, Android, and Mac, assuming you have the Teams app installed and logged in with a consumer account. That said, this Teams Chat integration as a whole feels like a waste of time; why isn't this just Skype?

Skype just announced that it's getting a whole bunch of new features and is fully cementing itself as Microsoft's flagship consumer chat and video calling service. So, why is Microsoft Teams for consumers even a thing? I would much prefer if this Chat integration on Windows 11 was for Skype instead. Hopefully they give us the option down the line to change it.

As an aside, I also did not appreciate how Windows automatically set Teams to auto-start in the background without asking me first. Just clicking on the Teams Chat icon will boot up the full client and then place it into your auto-start list. No thank you.

Windows 11: Touch and Pen

Windows 11 Review Gestures Gif

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Microsoft has made several key improvements, and one notable regression, to the touch-first experience on Windows 11. Overall, I'd say Windows 11 is a much better experience when used on tablets and with a pen, but it comes at the cost of a dedicated "tablet mode" that automatically opens apps full screen like you'd expect on an 11-inch tablet.

Windows 10's tablet mode is gone, and in its place are a number of improvements to the desktop UX designed to make using Windows with touch a more pleasant experience. I still wouldn't recommend a Windows tablet, but Windows on a 2-in-1 is in a much better position today. For example, Microsoft has added new gestures that can be initiated with either three or four finger swipes.

  • Three or four finger swipe down to minimize an app
  • Three or four finger swipe left or right to switch apps
  • Three or four finger swipe up to access Task View
  • Four finger tap, hold, and swipe left or right to switch virtual desktops

There are also improvements to window management, with new subtle animations in place that make it easier to determine when you've successfully grabbed an app window with your finger to manipulate it. Microsoft has also increased the size of hitboxes around app windows so that they are easier to resize with touch as well. Windows will also automatically increase the spacing of touch targets on the Taskbar and place a button for the touch keyboard in the System Tray too.

Windows 11 Review Touchkeyboard

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

On that subject, a new touch keyboard experience is present on Windows 11, and I think it's the star of the show for tablet users. It's a fantastic touch keyboard, complete with satisfying sounds, subtle animations, and accurate spelling correction thanks to SwiftKey being what powers it behind the scenes.

There's a number of different sizes for it, including split view, a one-handed mode, a simplified full width layout, and a more advanced full width layout for devices with larger display sizes. You can also swipe type, and there's a new emoji panel along the top that you can access for quick entering of your favorite emojis, gifs, and other media content.

Windows 11 Review Ink Panel

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

For pen users, there's much to enjoy as well. Microsoft has finally updated the Windows Ink Workspace, now called the "Pen menu" that gives you quick access to pinned apps that are designed with inking in mind. What's great is that it's finally customizable, so you can put any app of your choice in there. I've got OneNote, Paint, and Adobe Photoshop in mine. It's accessible via a button shortcut on a physical pen, or via the System Tray as a shortcut for it pops up when you begin interacting with your device with a pen.

You can now ink directly into text boxes, another great feature if you primarily use your device with a pen. No longer do you have to switch between inking and tapping on the screen to insert some text into a search field, as Windows will now automatically pop up a handwriting panel for you to use when tapping on that text field with a pen.

Much of these improvements are really nice and put the Windows touch UX more in line with other modern touch-first OSes, but it's still not perfect. Not being able to have apps automatically open full screen is killer for a tablet UX, especially on smaller displays like the Surface Go. It's annoying having to manually full screen every app you open for the first time.

Windows 11: Microsoft Store

Windows 11 Review Storeapp

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

I think it's very fair to say that the Microsoft Store on Windows 10 has been a disappointment at best, given that it's missing many apps that people actually use on their PCs. That was because Microsoft had strict rules around the kind of apps that could be submitted to the Store by developers, which essentially ruled out many of the most popular apps on the Windows platform.

With Windows 11, that all changes. Microsoft is opening the floodgates and allowing developers to submit most Windows apps to the storefront now. Microsoft wants the Microsoft Store to be a place to discover the best Windows apps, no matter the type. That includes apps like Visual Studio 2019, Adobe Creative Cloud, and much more.

Windows 11 Review

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Essentially, Microsoft has made it so that if an app you use isn't in the Microsoft Store, it's because the developer is just too lazy to submit it for listing. They no longer have to do any work on the development side to make their app "store-compliant," as pretty much all Windows apps can now be listed.

It's still early days for the new Store, so not all the apps you'd expect to see are in there. But Microsoft is confident that many more app developers will be in the Store very soon, and that's a great thing. Being able to find all of your apps from one place is convenient, and being able to discover new apps you'd have never throught about using is even better.

Windows 11: Android Apps

As of February 2022, Microsoft has started rolling out Android app support on Windows 11, albeit in "preview" and in the United States only. Android apps on Windows 11 are an interesting idea, more so thanks to how Microsoft has decided to go about providing Android apps to users. Instead of allowing app developers to submit Android apps to the Microsoft Store, Microsoft has partnered with Amazon to deliver the "Amazon Appstore" on Windows 11 instead.

That, frankly, kind of sucks. The Amazon Appstore is probably the worst Android app store out there as it has no apps, yet it's now the default storefront for Android apps on Windows 11. The Microsoft Store will display Android apps, but attempting to install them will first require the Amazon Appstore to be downloaded and installed. It's a real shame, and creates a disjointed user experience.

In my time using Android apps on Windows 11, I've come across one or two apps that people might actually want to use. Kindle is the standout, as it's the only good Kindle reading experience now, but everything else is either a rubbish mobile game or something that you can already do on Windows without requiring an Android app.

All of the Android apps I would want to use, including things like controlling my smart lights and appliances, checking my bank statements, unlocking my car, all aren't available on the Amazon Appstore. Now, it's worth noting that you can sideload Android apps, which will bypass the Amazon Appstore and let you install basically any Android app you like, but this isn't a trivial task and I don't expect most consumers to do this.

Regardless of the app situation, the actual emulation of Android apps works surprisingly well. I've tested a few games and apps, and all run as if they were performing natively on my device without having to run Android in the background. There's a short load time of about 5-10 seconds when loading up your first Android app, but once that's done, launching subsequent Android apps will launch basically instantly.

That said, the ability to run Android apps does require a but of power under the hood. Not every PC will be able to run these apps, as the overhead required is significant. Microsoft recommends 8GB RAM at least, but says you'll have a better experience with 16GB RAM, which I agree with. The Android subsystem is heavy, frequently eating up 2GB+ of RAM, more if you have multiple Android apps running at a time.

Overall, I don't think I'm the target demographic for Android apps on Windows 11. It's great that it's here as an option, and it works surprisingly well for what it is, but I really wish Microsoft had just gone on its own and allowed developers to submit their Android apps directly to the Microsoft Store, instead of relying on the Amazon Appstore to handle it for them.

Windows 11: File Explorer

Windows 11 Review File Explorer

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Windows File Explorer hasn't had a major UI update since the launch of Windows 8, so it's refreshing to see that Microsoft finally decided to update it for Windows 11. Microsoft has given the File Explorer a modern and simplistic navigation header while maintaining all the legacy File Explorer features you'd expect to find on Windows.

Instead of a bunch of convoluted buttons, the top of the UI now features clean and spaced-out selection of File Explorer's most common tasks. This includes things like creating a new file or folder, as well as buttons for copying, pasting, renaming, sharing, and deleting files.

It's fair to say that Microsoft took the whole "making Windows simpler" to heart when it comes to the File Explorer. That said, all the legacy File Explorer functions are still there if you need them. Microsoft hasn't removed any functionality in that regard. It's simply cleaned up the top-level UI so that it's easier to use for average users.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

There's even a new, simplified context menu design which buries all the older legacy context menu options into a secondary menu for those who may still need access to it. This can actually become quite annoying if you're using apps that put their options into that secondary menu, such as 7-Zip.

Developers can update their apps to put their options into the new modern context menu, but I've not come across any third-party app that has updated to do this yet. Hopefully we'll see that show up over time. For now, it's a minor inconvenience having to click through to a secondary menu.

The new context menus looks great, but it can take some getting used to. Microsoft has opted to use both X and Y axes for different options. The most common tasks such as copy, paste, cut, and delete, are represented as icons that flow horizontally along the top of the menu. Then, all the other options are presented as a vertical list. This is really confusing at first, and is the one thing that I've really struggled to get used to.

I also wanted to briefly mention that Windows 11 does nothing to really fix the unfinished dark mode theme that Windows has had for a number of years, and it's most notable inside the File Explorer. Thing like the copy, run, and file property windows are still glaringly white, which really stand out and make the whole UX feel incomplete when dark mode is enabled. If you use light mode, this is a non-issue, and everything feels much more coherent.

Windows 11: Apps

Windows 11 Review Mspaint

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Many of the in-box apps on Windows 11 have been updated with new designs, and in some cases, new features too. Apps like Photos and Microsoft Paint have been updated with designs that keep them aligned with the rest of the new Windows 11 design, with additions such as rounded corners around buttons and blur effects in context menus and headers.

There's also the new Notepad, which has also been updated with a brand new modern design that matches the rest of Windows 11. I really like the new Notepad. It's clean and modern, and like Microsoft Paint, is functionally exactly the same as the old version. The introduction of dark mode in Notepad is going to please many developers and dark theme users out there too.

Notepad Windows 11 Dark

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Alarms & Clock app has been updated with a new "focus sessions" feature which integrates with Microsoft To Do and Spotify to provide a one-stop shop for setting up a workflow and completing tasks. You can set a timer of 30 minutes, select a playlist, and sync with Microsoft To do and tick off all of your tasks as you go. It's a neat idea, though it's not something I've personally found use for.

Microsoft Edge is also getting an update that supports the new Windows 11 design, though this will arrive in an update shortly after launch. The new design buts the same blur effect in the header, as well as modernizes the context menus with the same design language found in File Explorer.

Finally, the Groove Music app has been updated with a new name and new features. It's now called Media Player, and is doing double duty as a music and video player now. It'll play local video and audio files, just like the classic Windows Media Player app used to do. Previously, "Groove Music" was just for audio files, with local video files being delagated to the Movies & TV app. The Movies & TV app still exists, but that's now just for streamed DRM content from the MIcrosoft Store.

Windows 11 Review Msword

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Microsoft Office is getting updated with a new design too, again to better align itself with Windows 11, though to a much lesser extent than other apps. Office still has its own distinct design language, but it's nice to see the new Office app adhering to Windows 11's rounded corners.

It's really nice to see all of Microsoft's product teams coming together to ship updates that align their apps with the new Windows 11 look and feel. This is one problem Windows 10 had, where different teams at Microsoft would just do their own thing, regardless of whether it fit in on Windows. That appears to no longer be the case with Windows 11.

More of Microsoft's in-box apps are expected to be updated with new designs and features over time, and will ship on Windows 11 as updates through the Microsoft Store when ready.

Windows 11: Settings

Windows 11 Review Settings App

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There are a whole bunch of new settings and options to rummage through on Windows 11, and it starts with a brand new Settings app itself. Gone is the old, somewhat confusing Settings app from Windows 10, and in its place is a much prettier and better organized Settings app that does a greater job at categorizing the most common settings that people actually go into the Settings app for.

Highlighting some of the new settings, Microsoft has finally added detailed battery statistics into the Settings app for you break down. You get an insightful graph that displays power usage over 24 hours or 7 days, and can see which apps are using the most power at any given time of the day. It's a great little feature that Windows has been missing for many years.

Windows 11 Review Battery Settings

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The Personalization category now places your themes are the very top for easy switching between, and top-level user interfaces are now accessible via their own areas, such as Taskbar, Start menu, and Lock screen.

The Bluetooth and devices area has also been redone, now showing connected devices at the very top of the page, with easy access to device info, settings, pairing a new device, and much more. You've also got your access to things like Touchpad controls, Pen settings, and even Your Phone set up.

Windows 11 Review Bluetooth Settings

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Interestingly, Microsoft has also added a feature that allows you to fully customize the gestures you can perform on the your Touchpad, which I've absolutely loved. You can set your Trackpad to do things like a three finger swipe up to maximize an app window, or a four finger swipe to the left to snap an app in snap assist. It's really cool, and all the different options gives it the flexibility to fit almost anyone's workflow.

The new Settings app isn't all great, however. Microsoft has made it unnecessarily hard to set your own browser defaults, with it now requiring you to manually set each web-related file type with the browser of your choice. It's no longer able to be done with one click, unless you're trying to switch it to Edge of course, which feels really anti-competitive.

Microsoft tries to disguise this change as being "consumer friendly" as technically it gives the user unlimited options in how your browser of choice responds to defaults, but that's a really weak excuse. The old way of setting browser defaults was more convenient for almost everybody.

Windows 11: Miscellaneous

Windows 11 Logo

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

There's a few things new to Windows 11 that I've not been able to dive into for this review, though I did want to give them a mention. First up, Windows 11 brings improvements to Windows on ARM-powered PCs, including the ability to finally run 64-bit Intel apps. This opens the floodgates to most apps now being usable on Windows on ARM, though performance will depend on what ARM chip you're using.

Microsoft has also introduced ARM64EC, a new application binary interface that increases the performance of apps to native speed while being interoperable with x64 apps. Essentially, this allows developers to compile bits of their app for ARM, increasing performance while still emulating the rest of it. This is good for developers who can't completely recompile their app for ARM natively.

Another new feature on Windows 11 is support for graphical interfaces powered by the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) which will be a great tool for developers who move between Windows and Linux apps on a regular basis.

There's also lots of security and performance improvements, and there's even new features for gamers including support for DirectStorage, DirectX12 Ultimate, and more.

Windows 11: Should you wait?

Office 2021 Windows11

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Windows 11 is what you'd call a "version 1.0" product, which means it's just getting started, and while there's lots of great things here, there's also a lot missing (especially around the Taskbar) that long-time Windows users may struggle with. Microsoft has achieved its goal of trying to simplify the top-level Windows UX, but at the cost of functionality which many consider essential to their workflows.

If you've read this review and not considered any of the problems mentioned to be a deal-breaker, I think Windows 11 is going to be great for you. It's not slow, unstable, or buggy in my usage. It feels ready for production use, and I've enjoyed every minute of using this OS. I'm never going back to Windows 10.

However, if you usually have your Taskbar at the top of your display, or don't like the sound of having to click a few extra times to access a function that was previously available in a single click, then Windows 11 is not going to be for you at this moment. Windows 11 prioritizes simplicity, sometimes at the cost of burying functionality behind menus or inside the Settings app.

Windows 11: The bottom line

Windows 11 Hero Surfaces

Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

I really like Windows 11. It's a breath of fresh air for Windows that attempts to throw out much of the old UX in favor of a more modern, fluid, and simplistic interface. I think it does a good job at achieving this goal, though it's not perfect. Power users and long-time Windows users will need to relearn some habits and get used to missing functionality in some areas.

I'm sure Microsoft will add back some of the missing features and behaviors in future releases, but I don't think it'll add back everything. I have a feeling that the vision for Windows 11 going forward is simplicity and ease of use, catering more to the average user who is more familiar with how things are done on their phone, and less to the die-hard Windows power users who want everything to be accessible in a single-click.

If you are okay with that, Windows 11 is great. If you aren't, then hanging onto Windows 10 for another year is going to be your best bet. Windows 10 is supported until 2025, so there's no immediate rush to upgrade. In a year, or even two years, Windows 11 will be in a much more "complete" state, and that's when it might be worth giving another try.

Windows 11 has the potential to be the best version of Windows yet, but some of the choices Microsoft has made around Teams Chat, Widgets, setting browser defaults, the incomplete dark mode, and functionality of the taskbar really hold it back from being that. Hopefully the next release of Windows 11 fixes these issues.

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • That ****** taskbar means I won't be upgrading (or if I do, I'll immediately be downloading something so I can customize it and both enable app groups and app labels again). Don't care at all about the UI elements, but I know Zac is happy with them. Feels Apple-y, but whatever.
  • It's more fair to compare Windows 11 to Chrome OS.
  • Nobody is forcing you to upgrade. Windows 10 will continue to be fully supported until 2025, and if you are REALLY upset about it, there is always Linux waiting in the wings for you to install. Get over it Snowflake. You have choices. Quit whinging and make one.
  • Dang, I think you are a bit triggered by that person. Grow up.
  • Maybe they are just tired of complaining?
  • You're calling me a snowflake when you're the one reduced to name-calling? Brilliant. Keep racking up those internet points.
  • No ability to group icons in my start menu... MS I still don't use my computer like my phone! Will wait for MS to fix this. Terrible reduction in functionality at the moment. (both task bar and start menu)
  • Totally agree! "upgrade" is a step backwards
  • Even mobile OS has an option to folder up icons, and on Android, some 3rd-party launcher and OEM skins will have that feature as well.
  • Yeah the lack of such a simple but essential feature being able to group apps is baffling.
  • I just installed Windows 11.
    What you say is true. It is a reduction in functionality. I suppose they will fix it sooner or later.
    In the start menu you can add very few icons. In windows 10 I had many programs, arranged by groups.
  • Hope it's fixed by 2025.
  • Well, if you wanted this sort of "breath of fresh air", you should just have bought an iMac.
    You'd get these dumb designs and horrible UI and UX experiences. Windows 11 looks like what a Chinese company wanting to copy MacOS would do. That's it. Functionally it doesn't simplify anything.
    It makes the Start Menu useless, it takes away customisation from users, it renders the UI unusable for people like me who can't read white text on grey backgrounds and doesn't want to be blinded by the Light Theme, and it doesn't really address any of the privacy concerns users have, with the Widgets bar being a potential backdoor for Microsoft to spam users with ads and propaganda.
    The grouping of the quick settings in a single button might make sense for touch users, but it's dumb for anyone with a mouse who is now forced to open a large menu to take care of one simple setting.
    Then there's the overall design. I'm sure a blind dog could design a better looking OS than this. Windows 11 might be just the beginning. But it needs to be the end as well.
    Microsoft needs to ditch this garbage ASAP and start working on Windows 12, to make the necessary 180º turn that I'm pretty sure users will demand them to. Windows 11 is not the worst version of Windows ever. Windows Vista still holds that trophy. But it's pretty darn close to it. I'll advise anyone who asks me to skip Windows 11. And if they buy a computer with it pre-installed, I'll probably offer my services to replace it with Windows 10.
  • Oh you... Lol =p
  • It does feel like Microsoft wants to go the route of Apple, but are hamstrung by legacy. They can't go all the way, because people will dislike (Windows 8 went further than 10 does), so they are stuck riding the fence. This just keeps their UX design in a state of mediocrity, as a result. Also, it's been over 6 years since Windows 10 was released, and we still have to use the Control Panel for quite a few things. It's amazing the level of "redesign" that Apple is able to pull off in a year, but Microsoft cannot accomplish in 5. Maybe Windows is being retarded by corporate beaurocracy?
  • Do you even use MacOS? This start UI is ChromeOS. Nothing like Mac.
  • Making Windows more like Android is not how to make a desktop OS
  • says who? the maker of so many worldwide popular desktop OSes xsonwong?
  • "If you aren't, then hanging onto Windows 10 for another year is going to be your best bet. Windows 10 is supported until 2025, so there's no immediate rush to upgrade. In a year, or even two years, Windows 11 will be in a much more "complete" state, and that's when it might be worth giving another try." I guarantee that Windows 10 will be supported for FAR longer than 2025. Unless Windows 12 comes out by then and businesses are interested in that, Windows 10 will be supported for 10 years as the standard for business. Personally, I am not interested in 11 at all. It offers nothing that I need or want right now, as I already have a Mac, iPads and iPhones. I am certainly not going to buy a new laptop for it, as my lightly-used, 4 year old Lenovo laptop with 17" screen, 8 thread i7 CPU, 16 GB/1 TB SSD runs 10 just fine. I have the feeling 11 is going crash and burn as badly as 8 did.
  • I've already told my mom not to take the upgrade and buy a Mac if she gets a new computer. If she goes to Windows 11, I'm going to block her phone number for about 5-6 solid months because the flurry of support calls caused by things like the oversimplification of the File Explorer toolbars is going to drive me mad. I'm not dealing with that. Microsoft doesn't have great support for consumers, and I'm no longer willing to play the part. That chapter of my life has concluded. There is almost nothing major in this "upgrade." It is just a mish mash of illogical UI changes that do nothing but give a facade of new. This is not a good strategy, IMHO.
  • You better block her number if she buys a Mac as well. Anyone coming from Windows to MacOS is going to encounter 'how the heck do I' and 'where the heck is' on a daily basis for quite some time.
  • I'm going to miss Windows 10's full screen Start. I don't care for the Live Tiles, but the ability to see 50+ app icons/shortcuts in one screen seems to be a faster way to open an app than Windows 11's Start Menu. Another concern for me is the possible loss of the ability to have a fully customizable touch sscreen gestures that I get from TouchMe Gesture Studio. Can W11 simulate pressing the Start button with 3 finger pinch?
  • Honestly, two small things are keeping me from upgrading:
    1. No ability to group apps/programs on the Start Menu. This feels like too much of a step backwards; I use a lot of different programs in my life, centred around various forms of photography (and then lots of games to de-stress with)
    2. That big empty space when disabling "recommended". What a bizarre omission. If this had been fixed, and we could get that empty space back, it might have made my first point more palatable, if I could fit more apps in. How did Microsoft let this one through? Fix those two points, and I'll upgrade most of my machines. The only one I'm doing is my home server because I don't need multiple apps. Everything else is sticking with Windows 10 for now. edit: I just checked. I have 26 apps on my desktop I use a LOT. With Windows 10, they are all accessible via a full screen Start Menu.
    On my Surface Book 2, I have 19. That's one more than the current W11 Start Menu allows. Give me back that wasted Recommended space and it will fix everything, and I'll upgrade!
  • I'm pretty happy with this update. Granted, I might wait a little while to make sure any bugs are ironed out and some new features are added, but overall, I like it. The UI looks a lot better than 10, and I really like the look of Snap Assist. The start menu would actually work really well for me, I have mine filled up with stuff I don't use very often (if at all), and this will let me get rid of the junk without worrying about how all my tile groups look. I do have some gripes though, particularly with the inconsistent dark mode, and the apparent refusal to put all the control panel settings in the settings app. I just want one settings app that can manage all the stuff that I want to manage.
  • Yeah, same here.
  • when you have 32win app support inconsistent dock mode there's not much you can do about it it's just a limitation.
  • I'm not as concerned with the task bar and start menu, I'm sure they'll continue to make improvements or if it really bothers me then I'll use the start app from Stardock or something like that. I'm eager to try it.
  • Yay 😁😁😁 yay cant wait
  • I guess the interesting thing here is that, I was privileged to all the comments here before mine. From what I have read thus far, some did not like the start menu for various reasons (Looks like Chrome, iMac etc., Icons can not be foldered, Start Menu too centered and not configurable, Why is widgets not merged with start menu). For practical purposes, looks like the start menu is what annoyed most people from the comments I have read. I respect these folks' opinions and believe some of their beef were justified (Their should have been a good level of configurability for folks to tweak to some of their taste, I do believe these will come in short order). but for me I see more than the start menu which I believe will keep evolving as such is the least of what I was that were interesting in this new Os
    I see a new UI and design with potential for use in any form factor (and that is saying a lot) My Old PC (HP a 600xxx) came to life and definitely faster, they performed well, stable enough that I refuse to roll them back to win10 for not meeting the minimum requirement which included our "HP Pro Table 608" with Intel Atom 2GB RAM 64GB SSD formerly with win10 Pro, Our Surface 3 with former win 10 pro as well abandoned by my wife now love it and truly useable to her. Programs, Apps and MSFT Edge are snappy in under Win11. It now more improved security wise than win10, it sheds boatload of garbage that were in win7 all the way to Win10. It did away with craps that had to come with Win7--> win10 in the name of compatibility thus forcing codes with vulnerability into the Os.
    It uses a different driver system for stability and security. I see potential for a truly new windows Os capable of charting a new territory, adaptability and flexibility, God forbid, might be a conduit to mobile devices of any formfactor capable of TRULY being a phone and desktop device (NOT Desktop adaptation) Just using the preview shows huge potentials and thus far and I am on board.
    Note, I did not say it is a perfect Os or without any flaw, I like it because of what I see and use right now, but most important what I believe it will be capable of if MSFT put good old fashion good hard work into it and folks give the Os a chance.
  • RE: Store "it's because the developer is just too lazy to submit it for listing. " This has always been the case
  • Often, it's not laziness, it's that they want to drive more traffic to their website, not the Windows store. Also, Stores can damage developers when people bombard it with low reviews - which often happens maliciously.
  • I will be skipping a new version of windows for the first time ever. They completely broke my workflow. Start menu is complete joke. I use tens of programs that are roughly of five completely separate categories. You can't fit them now, you can't categorize. You can't pin remote desktop connections anymore. Why icon descriptions can't be turned off? Why they moved widgets to a separate area? Their whole use case revolves around glanceabilty and they have effectively hidden them. Why you can't use UWP widgets - aka live tiles - they are just differently skinned widgets. And why they force feed news is beyond me - and you can't even turn them off. Separation of notifications and toggles is horrible, especially when using touch - same issue - they just added another cognitive load. Before, just a swipe was everything what was needed. Now you have to thing where everything is and what icons are grouped and what not. Multimonitor taskbar behaviour is also dumbed down....
  • Wait, you can’t pin remote desktops? Damnit :(
  • None of swiping gestures (swipe left/right to change app, swipe up/down to minimize or maximize app, etc) mentioned in this article as "new" are actually new. Very surprised to find out the experts at Windows Central did not know that these are all present in Windows 10 right now. I've been using these gestures on my Surface Books for years.
  • Those gestures are available on the trackpad on Windows 10... not the touchscreen. That is new to Windows 11.
  • I installed and rolled back within an hour: 1. Widgets only work if you use a Microsoft Account Log-in. If you aren't willing to do that, then yu mind as well just remove the icon from the Taskbar, and disable it, if possible. 2. I thought Chat would have been more of an iMessage/FaceTime User Experience. Nah. It's just Microsoft Teams preloaded on the machine. 3. This upgrade installs a ton of bloatware on your PC. Going to have to uninstall about 10+ applications after boot. 4. I see no point in the Start menu change. Like, they have basically taken the Start + Tiles layout, changed Tiles to Icons and Recommendations, and now Require you to click an additional button to go See the All Apps list. Unnecessary workflow complication. They should have just left the Start menu alone. 5. File Explorer losing the ribbon is absolutely abohorrent. A lot of useful functions are now hidden behind keyboard shortcuts (though, maybe they removed some of those as well) or more clicks ten before. Create New Folder -> 1 Click on Windows 10, at least 2 Clicks on Windows 11. I'm sure having people who are disabled or with RSI click MORE to get basic functions accomplished is the epititome of "Accessible" over at Microsoft. Some context menus area unfinished, to the point that they had to insert a "See More Options" item in them, which brings up the Windows 10 Context Menu! Lol, what? Where the shortcuts in the context menu display changes depending on how close you are to the bottom or top of the screen. Sometimes, they're at the top of the context menu. Other times, they're at the bottom. Who thought this was a good idea. I know the thought was to keep them close to the mouse cursor, but randomly flipping them is stupid. 6. I don't really have an issue with the task bar. I like the new system tray. I think the Notification Center update is good. I just don't find a lot of these changes to be productive. The file explorer feels like the iPad Files App, for example, and will on its own accelerate your progression to Carpal Tunnel. The Microsoft Account requirements are unnecessary and overbearing. The Start Menu changes are non-sensical. Literally "change for the sake of change." NOTHING about the Start Menu changes make sense, in the grand scheme of things. It's basically the OpenSuSE 10 Slab Menu, ported to Windows - http s:// This has been tried before, like a decade ago - or longer. Didn't work out to well there, either. By the time my gaming desktop is ready for upgrade, I severely doubt I'll be gaming much... So, I'll likely replace that with a Mac. I'm definitely not going to buy a laptop that ships with Windows 11, unless they give option to downgrade. I just got a new laptop < a year ago, so that's good for a while. But I may buy a MacBook Air and sell it or give it to a relative. I think it's time to just move my productivity PC use to Apple. Windows 10 for gaming only, while I (decreasingly) care about that.
  • Other things I noticed: 1. Switching Audio Outputs isn't as easy on Windows 11. On Windows 10, you click on the volume icon and then there is a drop-down to select the input. It's very similar to macOS. On Windows 11, this is more of a hidden feature. 2. The Slider to choose power mode (Clicking on the Battery Icon) on Laptops in Windows 11 is gone? Maybe I just missed this one, though. 3. The new Windows Store is nice, but not worth the upgrade on its own. 4. Going back to Windows 10 seemed simple enough. Only took a few minutes, and I didn't have to reinstall anything. I did have to remove the hidden $GetCurrent directory as it is the entire Windows 11 Installation Media and wastes 4GB+ of space if you leave it there. If you aren't going to upgrade again, then there is no point keeping it. Windows is supposed to remove this after a month, but my experience has shown it to persist much longer.
  • Addendum: Almost forgot. The new Photos app has a way to use external editors for advanced editing. Apps like Affinity Photo are supported. Unfortunately, unless you have purchased these from the Windows Store, good luck! If you purchased directly from Affinity, it's not going to function that way. And it seems Serif has raised the price by $10 (on the Windows Store, at least) to take advantage of this limitation!
  • The have a higher price in the store because they still pay a commission to MS. They chose to have the customer fund that.
  • wow have to disagree with you windows 11 is quite useful
  • I pretty much agree with everything you said here. As a power user I'm not a fan. One specific feature I'm going to miss is right clicking on pinned apps like Word or Excel in the Win10 start menu and having a sub menu of pinned documents available right there to open. I think the new start menu sucks. Though I will definitely not be switching to a Mac.
  • Control Panel looks the same, I thought they were going all in? If I recall this was something they wanted to merge since Windows 10.
  • UI designers removed functionality and customizability to make appearance nice in Windows 11.
  • Embrace the Appleness.
  • I just installed Windows 11 today and found out that if you like you can align your Taskbar icons to the Left!
    Just right-click the Taskbar and select "Taskbar Settings" Then scroll down to Taskbar behaviors and change Taskbar alignment to "Left"! Although I must say the new central Taskbar setting is rather nice at least Microsoft gives us the option to change back to the old style if we want to.
  • Yea, but if you left align the icons, the start menu still pops up in the center. That's just visually annoying.
  • No it doesn't. Have mine left aligned and start menu pops up on left. Still don't like it though.
  • That might be a new fix. There have been a few surrounding the Start behavior.
  • My idea may seem real out-of-place, but in order to solve two issues at the same time, them being the uninteresting widgets panel, and the limitation in the start menu regarding app groups.
    Why not creating the option of app grouping in the widgets panel area? That way it would be a compromise in functionality.
    It would be as easy as swipping right, or hitting the widgets button.
    I agree that it would make more sense to group apps on the start menu, but the widgets panel would be a viable candidate for that.
    Kind of like a power user area.
    Or just get rid of the recommended section of the start menu giving it more real estate, although the issue of too many app icons would end up making it a lot harder to navigate without app groups. Imagine a multitude of icons occupying the all of the start menu without the possibility of grouping them... Jesus, it would be chaos.
  • I think I'll just keep it 10, thanks.
  • All I want to know is whether Windows 11 will break eGPU support. I don't want any incompatibility issues to happen with my Thunderbolt-supported notebook that was originally shipped with Windows 10 out of the box. P.S I'll wait until Windows 11 is mature enough before I download it. We saw how the early version of Windows 10 was not truly stable enough until the v1607 Anniversary Update came in.
  • The pre-pinned Chat icon only supporting personal chat is ridiculous. I guess I get the belief that it might drive more TEAMS personal use, but my Win 11 build is on a domain joined PC. I don't have, and don't need my personal email on it. I don't need to chat with friends and family on it. I do need to chat with colleagues. That icon will be removed and forgotten about.
  • You can just turn that off
  • Sure, but why not have it useful for TEAMS users if you are going to have it be one of the front and center pinned apps.
  • Probably because Microsoft have no need or desire to drive corporate Teams use through Windows while they do for the personal version.
  • You know what really p*sses me off? You can run Windows 11 on a Surface Go but you can’t upgrade a £4500 Surface Studio from 2016 with 32GB of ram and a quad core i7. Can you imagine Apple abandoning their Mac Pro customers like this? It’s beyond shocking. Microsoft has no longevity. They keep switching and changing. They want to be Apple but without the support. I regret moving away from Apple and will probably go back soon. The big screen and pen are lovely but it’s not enough. Scrapping the book for the laptop studio is a prime example. They can’t make up their mind. They just want to make nice stuff with a high price. They need to do more if they want to compete with Apple. It never gets there. Always flirt from premium design and products and then fail fully implementing, whether it’s the UI, services etc. Still can’t get my head around them not supporting one of their flagship products. It’s not THAT old.
  • Yeah, I have a first gen Studio and it's a bummer it can't get the update. However, for me, my Studio is very much a work machine, so I'd probably keep it on Win 10 anyways. Last thing I want is conflicts with any tools I use.
  • Well, the original Go isn't supported anyway, and it came out 2 years after your Surface Studio. Keep in mind the Studio is a £4000 monitor with a £500 PC.
  • I'm happy with the taskbar icons moved to the centre, the start bar means absolutely nothing to me so, eh on that front. More snapping options are nice, but it still doesn't cater to the main one I use (two rows, one column as I need a lot of horizontal space for the work I do but not so much vertical, especially if I'm on a 3:2 display) so I will be switching off snapping yet again.
  • I always fill the task bar, so the start button would end up aligned to the left anyway.
  • It's not bad. I'm no fan of the blurring or the start menu. It's not what I'd fashion for use. Running it on three machines of which two do not meet the processor minimum requirement, the only issues have been on the machine that does meet all the requirements.
  • Windows 11 is a half baked pile of crap. After a day I rolled my system back to Windows 10. If nothing better comes along by 2025, then I'll be switching to Linux.
  • must be sad........ being you!
  • I will not update due to the spyware, adware, monetization, and the fact you cannot have a local account on Home edition so you are forced to pay extra. I'll just use Linux Mint instead. Plus out of 10 computers in my house two (2)!!!! will run it. All are pretty new, but none have their new requirements but the two newest. Linux runs just great on all of them. More Spyware, More Adware, More bloatware, More control, no thanks.
  • Good to hear so why are you on windows central she'd be like on linux central
  • We won't miss you.
  • Windows 11 is not completely different from Windows 10, yes it is good to use a new start menu or taskbar.
  • It was going to become windows 10.5 right next to Windows 10 X now they just changed the numbers separated the launch.
  • W11 is actually good.
  • Something I've discovered is that the change in the context menu is a bit of fresh air when you stop to think. My experience has been that, over time, right clicking has delivered a menu that had become so long and inconsistent, that it often took me a few seconds just to find common actions. They moved all over the place. Now, they're logically assembled, and even if I have to click a second or third time, it's *still* faster than before.
  • Running W11 on my pc, it's not that big of an update but it's nice. Shame about the ridiculous compatibility requirements. Amber lake in the Surface Go 2 is a lower power version of Kaby lake in my SP5, yet for some reason the Go 2 is supported despite it being weaker. W11 would be great on a tablet computer like a surface but they had to be ridiculous with the requirements.
  • Windows 11 has been a joy to use, though I somewhat hate the new taskbar, it's messing a lot of features that I used all the time in my workflow, though i'm pretty sure Microsoft will add at least the important ones back as a lot of people want it too File Explorer looks better and all, but still no tabs, also for some reason file selection via the mouse has weird lag / delay, it's just really unsmooth I also didn't want the start menu to be over simplistic like it is now, I hate how I should click "All apps" instead of just having it in a side panel, basically I like the Windows 10 one far more
  • Interesting review. Only, I am not convinced that a modern and simple UI necessarily contrast to the more advanced functions we were accustomed to.
  • As with a lot of people, I find Windows 11 a joy to use however there are various shortcomings. The main issue for me is the lack of options for the taskbar - I just hope that future versions bring some of the features back. As far as widgets - really? Awful. I assumed clicking on the calendar or weather widget they would take me to the relevant app - not an MSN page. To me, they need to get widgets that connect to apps on the computer, would be far more useful. So for now, I won't be using them, and I doubt most will. Also not liking the fact that even though I use a different default browser, certain links within the OS will ONLY open Edge. Apparently there is an app that stops that, so going to find it and use it. Along with the app that helps configure a better privacy profile. I use macOS and Linux and jump between them all quite happily. Looking forward to trying out some Andorid apps when they release that, but probably not something I'll use all the time. But you never know! All in all, enjoying it. Lets see how it goes.
  • I am loving new icons and animations in windows 11 :3
  • An epitaph to Cortana: So farewell then Cortana
    You died so very young
    You were birthed by a cretin
    And you're missed by no-one
  • I just wish the power buttom (Restart/Shut Down/Sleep) was a bit closer to the Windows start button like it was in Windows 10. Otherwise enjoying the experience.
    Also it seems more stable than my Windows 10 after upgrading.
  • It's hot when Windows Central repost old articles!
  • And again. No thanks, I don't have a need to downgrade.
  • It's okay. I have it on two machines that fall just outside its processor minimums and both work fine with it. The one machine that was eligible has had a couple of issues with it along the way. I dislike how they've tucked changing the time to sleep or shut down the screen takes several clicks to get to. Otherwise, no issuses.
  • I really do like how snapping has become more powerful and intuitive. I hope at some point we can customize the zones like with PowerToys (FancyZones). I don't want my main screen to be split exactly in thirds, but I want the middle third to be a bit wider. And I have to disagree about the software keyboard. It looks like the current W10 keyboard in terms of functionality and that's not a great thing. Prediction, layouts and swiping are good, but typing secondary characters is a chore, unlike in previous W10 keyboards. Looks like this isn't completely up to date but even so, I'm definitely willing to wait. I can see that good things are coming, but also that lots of things are still missing.
  • Being able to select snapped windows as a group is a nice addition.
  • The biggest issue why I won't upgrade yet to WIN 11 is the missing "Never Combine" on the Taskbar. Productivity is just greatly reduced because of this.
  • I totally get this, but I have faith these basics from W10 will all trickle back into W11.
  • I do like the look of Windows 11, but it still has some problems, the file explorer still freezes when copying or moving a lot or large files, or it did a couple of weeks ago. There is still the problem with the large gap in the start menu when the recommended feature is turned off, dragging a dropping in the taskbar, but that is being sorted, the hassle in changing a different browser to default.
    Then there is this pushing of using an MS account and the hardware spec problem and Ms trying to make it even more difficult or annoying to use Windows 11 on unsupported machines. I have decided to go backwards, I thought I would try Windows 8.1 on this Ryzen 7 1700 based machine again, and it works, the last time I used Windows 8 on this machine was when I first built it, which was 5 years ago more or less and the machine would not stay table, crashing with memory management errors and the reminder that Ms shoved up in a large dialogue box now and again that Windows 8.1 was not supported on my processor. So sadly I had to update to Windows 10, which I still not a fan off, not that I am a fan of any MS operating system to be honest
    I thought for a laugh I would try it again, and I found a way to block the reminder and Windows 8.1 is running fine and to be honest it runs far better than Windows 10, it is smooth and fast and get a decent start menu on and this machine feels like a new machine. I may keep it on here if it carries on being stable, I was surprised that my Windows 8 key worked fine. Easy enough to go back to Windows 10 as I have it backed up as an image, I will do the same to this as well. Still have to decide which why to go, Stay with PC or go for a Mac
    took forever to even open the regular Windows Calculator.
    Mail, Edge, etc. were very slow to open after a reboot. I'm thinking I might even have to do a clean install as the Uninstall went suspiciously quick with no progress indications and hardly any CPU or Disk activity. steps ... uninstalled each of the Android Apps. uninstalled the Amazon Appstore which also uninstalled Windows Subsystem for Android. I recommend you DO NOT install this crap.
    The Android apps crashed, the Amazon Appstore crashed, even the WSA crashed. It's all ****, like Alpha code quality.
  • Don't blame the windows. Blame your potato PC!!!!
  • Just to clarify my other comment which I cannot edit because I used a bad word.
    the Windows Apps are slow to launch even with the Windows Subsystem for Android shut down and set to not start automatically, then rebooting. The Windows Apps were still slow to launch after every reboot. I have now removed all of it... Android Apps, Amazon Appstore, Windows Subsystem for Android.
  • I may keep it on here if it carries on being stable, I was surprised that my Windows 8 key worked fine. Easy enough to go back to Windows 10 as I have it backed up as an image, I will do the same to this as well. -freefonto-
  • I have Found downloading the great value Stardocks "Start 11" program worth downloading as it fills in most gaps in the poor Windows 11 Taskbar/Start menu. Running this lightweight program has been the reason i am staying with Win 11 and not reverting back to 10.Why didn't Microsoft design it this way??