Microsoft’s worst-kept secret was made public when a near-final version of the next-gen Windows 11 operating system update was recently leaked online. Naturally, we’re taking this opportunity to test things out before what we hope will be an official reveal on June 24 “What’s next for the Windows event?”
After spending a day using what we call the Windows 11 “preview” as our primary operating system instead of Windows 10, there is a lot that was worth the many months of hype and buzz. From a radically new start menu, new rounded corners, a new dark mode, and more, here are 11 things in Windows 11 that we’re excited about.
The first thing that caught our attention in Windows 11 is the new Start menu. Although controversial, this is one of the most exciting changes for us. The design ushers in a new era of Windows for Microsoft and takes Windows 10 back in time.
Instead of being on the left like since Windows 95 (except Windows 8), Microsoft now pushes the Start menu to the center, although you can still move it to the left if you want. And, hey, float!
That alone is a big change, but the design is also different. Instead of presenting Live Tiles and a long list of apps, the Windows 11 Start menu shows you “pinned” apps and their most recent files. It makes it easy to get to the things you want to use with minimal distraction, and it’s pretty refreshing.
Even the taskbar is centered so apps appear in the middle of the screen, where your eyes naturally go. And this is then combined with a new search icon, showing a floating search bar, rather than an off-center area like in current versions of Windows. Again, this helps bring the things that matter most to you to the fore, much like macOS or Chrome OS, and that’s pretty neat.
Now there are a ton of different animations in Windows 11. When you move Windows around the screen to multitask, a glass-like blur effect appears in front of your wallpaper. And when you touch the top of a window with your finger, a new window outline will appear, helping you understand where you are going.
But that’s not all. Open and close apps, maximize and minimize windows – all have new animations. Applications are now minimized when accessing the taskbar. They also have an effect when they open from the inside if you click the Maximize button. It’s a new sensation for aging Windows.
One of the most common things people use in Windows are split screen apps. In Windows 11, Microsoft seems to have added a “groups” feature. If you hover over the Maximize button, you’ll see six ways to pair your active windows with all other open windows. You can then click the button and create a group, and Windows 11 will remember the combination.
It’s good. This feature was actually part of Fancy Zones, which is part of Power Toys. The software is made by Microsoft and allows you to tile windows with custom designs. It looks like Microsoft has finally integrated this software into Windows without the need for an additional download. And it’s really intuitive to use without needing a learning curve.
A big issue with Windows 10 was the way it handled touch. Compared to Chrome OS, iPad OS, and other operating systems, it lagged behind due to clunky interface. Well, Windows 11 makes some much-needed changes by removing tablet mode entirely in favor of a few smaller tweaks.
Windows 11 causes that when you touch a window with your finger, you see a larger representation of where it is moving. This makes it easier to use Windows if you have a tablet. Windows 11 also introduces a new keyboard. It supports inserting GIF images and also displays sharper rendering and better sound response when playing the keys.
Microsoft has even thought about those who use accessories like the Surface Pen. There is a new menu in the Windows Ink workspace where you can customize your applications. Now you can naturally add your own apps to the Windows Ink Workspace, so you don’t have to visit the Start menu every time you want to start writing.
When Windows 10 was introduced in 2015, the sounds didn’t change much. We were stuck with the same audio feedback for common tasks like inserting USB drives, error messages, notifications, etc. Windows 11 is finally changing things up with a new set of sounds. The sounds cover a lot of common tasks and it’s really refreshing after spending five years with the same system noises. We show you the sounds above.
Dark mode was where Windows 10 always suffered. Switching to dark mode may not always change the appearance of some system apps and setup pages. Well, in Windows 11 Microsoft tried to change that. There are still areas that are not fully compatible with Dark Mode, but its appearance in title bars, taskbar, and action center is truly rejuvenating on the eyes.
Last on our list are widgets. These are coming back from Windows Vista, and it couldn’t be more timely. You can invoke widgets with the click of a taskbar button and you’ll be launched into a new user interface that features the time and “tiles” with specific information. As Microsoft intended with News & Interests in Windows 10, these widgets make it easy to get information at a glance. You don’t need to pick up the phone for tasks like checking the news, weather, or traffic. Everything is now at your fingertips.
Windows 10 had a lot of flat edges, but that changes in Windows 11. To align with Microsoft’s Fluent Design language, Windows 11 changes sharp corners to rounded. This is one of the most remarkable things about the operating system and it looks amazing too. Window and app borders now look a bit like what Apple did in MacOS Big Sur. It’s so much easier on the eyes when paired with the right wallpaper, and a big change after five years of square corners in Windows 10.
Microsoft has added some consistency to the overall interface. You’ll see that the Action Center now also has rounded corners and larger sliders, making it much easier to press buttons. The way pimples are formed in Action Center naturally adapts to your fingertips. It’s an exhilarating update that makes you want to touch your screen.
Do you remember “aero” in Windows Vista and Windows 7? Windows had a glass effect behind them, and you could see a whimsical image while tiling your apps and programs. It was also present in Windows 10, but Microsoft had toned it down a bit to make it more subtle. Well, it’s back in Windows 11, and it never looked better.
Windows 10 has struggled with icons, many of which have stuck from Windows 8, Windows Vista, and even Windows 98. Microsoft has released new icons across its product line, and now Windows 11 is following that change as well. The version brings new icons for documents, downloads and images. As you navigate the operating system, you’ll see new icons, all of which help propel Windows beyond 2015.
Virtual desktops are also undergoing an exciting change in Windows 11. Now the management of virtual desktops is moved to a dedicated area at the bottom of the screen. You can even individually change the wallpaper on each virtual desktop and drag them left and right with your mouse and finger. It’s a more natural and consistent way of dealing with things.
Watch the livestream. 06.24.21 at 11 a.m. Eastern Time | #MicrosoftEvent
If you want to use Windows 11 Dev Build 21996 leaked version you can download.