After 6 years, Microsoft has finally revealed the brand new version of Windows that will be arriving soon, although the exact date hasn’t been disclosed yet. Windows 11 comes with massive design changes and a drastic new user interface. The operating system features rounded corners, more shadows, faster performance, blur effects across the entire platform, bolder fonts and is overall much nicer, although this is subjective. Let’s see what some of the changes are between Windows 11 and Windows 10.
Windows 11 vs Windows 10: Start Menu
The start menu has received a major design overhaul in Windows 11. It no longer includes widgets or the live tiles we’ve got used to on Windows 10 and on previous versions. Instead, Windows 11 will have a simple grid of app icons at the top, where the pinned apps will also be located, as well as a search bar and recommended files at the bottom. If you want to sign out or check your account details, these will be placed at the bottom of the start menu.
Windows 11 vs Windows 10: New Taskbar
Alongside the new start menu, the taskbar has also received a number of changes. The most significant one is the center placement, which will also be the default setting. But it has been reported you’ll be able to set it back to the left side, just like on Windows 10.
Programs will also look slightly different on the taskbar. For starters, applications can no longer customize areas of the taskbar. The taskbar can no longer be moved from the bottom of the monitor display, meaning it can no longer be placed at either side, or at the top.
Some icons may no longer appear in the System Tray for upgraded devices including previous customizations. If you’re one of the few people that used the “People” option in the Windows 10 taskbar, we’ve some bad news for you — it’ll no longer be present on the taskbar.
Windows 11 vs Windows 10: Widgets and News Feed
The taskbar will now feature a Widgets button. This is similar to the newly added “News & Interests” section that was added to Windows 10 not that long ago. However, it comes with a lot of new improvements and a design update. Instead of having Live Tiles on the Start Menu, Widgets will now be placed here, alongside the News Feed.
Android App Support
It was a little unsurprising – at least to me, personally – to see that Android support is now finally coming to the PC. Microsoft has announced that it will support Android applications on Windows 11. They’ll be uploaded to the Microsoft Store and provided by Amazon’s App Store, thanks to a partnership between the two companies. Microsoft says it’s using “Intel Bridge Technology” to enable fast and smooth performance for Android apps to run on Windows 11.
If you wanted to run Android apps on Windows 10, you had to download third party apps such as BlueStacks. But these apps are known to be resource-hungry and a lot of mobile-optimised apps didn’t run as efficiently as many expected. Even though keyboard and mouse support was present, it often wasn’t a great experience overall. Android apps will also run on AMD machines.
New Settings Menu
It seems like we’ll finally get a brand new design interface for the settings, with a clear new modern look. No more solid white or black background — instead it’ll have some blur effect and a clear new layout.
New Snap Layouts and Multi-Monitor features
Once you hover over the maximise button on Windows, the brand new “Snap Layout” will pop-up, helping you manage the app and move it to a certain section on your display. This’ll be a much easier way to manage multiple open windows and lets you snap them effortlessly without the need to drag the tiny arrow.
If that wasn’t enough, it seems like Microsoft has finally listened and has added some new, great multi-monitor management features. The “New docking and undocking experience” will automatically minimize, and when you connect it back, it’ll save the state and position of each single window and put them back where they were originally were. No more need to wonder where a certain application is gone after unplugging and plugging back in.
PC Gaming Improvements
Microsoft has confirmed that DirectX 12 Ultimate will be supported. Auto-HDR will also help over 1,000 previous generation games look better by automatically-enabled HDR. DirectStorage will also be supported on new Windows 11 gaming PCs, which means games will be able to be loaded from system storage directly to the graphics card, without overloading the CPU. As a result, loading times should be a lot quicker and smoother.
Microsoft promises Windows 11 updates will be much better, although it didn’t talk about whether it’ll still force people to update every once in a while. They did however mention they’ll now focus on including one massive update every year, kind of like how Apple updates macOS, or how Android updates itself every year. Windows 10 focused on two big updates a year, and smaller ones sent between that mainly dealt with fixing bugs. It’s said the new updates will be 40% smaller and will happen in the background. In theory, this should be similar to how Android handles updates.
Hopefully the new update scheme will give more time to the Windows teams to better finalise and test each update. Accidents do happen, but hopefully no huge bugs will go unnoticed that’ll delete personal files or corrupt the system. Hopefully the new update program will restore some trust back to the company. I for one am excited, but still skeptical.
As for when to expect to receive Windows 11, unfortunately we don’t know exactly. Microsoft hasn’t revealed when it’ll become available, but it has been mentioned it’ll be free. An app will also be available to tell you whether your current system can be upgraded to Windows 11 from Windows 10.