Windows 11, the latest version of Microsoft’s long-running operating system, is here — at least for those with supported PCs. If you take the leap, you’ll notice a smooth redesign, with a Chrome OS-like centered taskbar and rounded corners on apps. It’s essentially the same operating system, but there are some new features that you should know how to use. These tips will make the transition from Windows 10 to Windows 11.
Realign the Start button
The first thing that will pop you out is the location of the Start button. Spanning the bottom left corner of the screen, it’s now centered with the rest of the taskbar icons. But don’t worry, you can change it back. Right click on the taskbar and open Taskbar settings. Choose Actions on the taskbar drop down and change Taskbar Alignment arrive Left side. This will move all your taskbar icons to the left and put the Start button back in its place. For more on how to personalize the Windows 11 taskbar, check out our guide.
The right-click menu currently focuses only on the most important settings. For example, if you need more settings — print, set a new background, or see the full file location — select Show more options to open the overflow menu.
Customize the Quicks Settings Panel
Windows 11 separates the Quick Settings that appear in the Action Center in Windows 10 with that panel’s message. Click on the area of the taskbar with the Wi-Fi, speaker, and battery icons to open a settings menu that allows you to control Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, airplane mode, battery saver mode, etc. To add or remove the settings buttons here, click the pencil image Edit Quick Settings button. Unpin what you don’t want or click add to make new features accessible from the Quick Settings menu.
Easier desktop management
Microsoft replaced the old Task View button with a redesigned icon on the taskbar, making it easier to create and manage multiple desktops. Simply hover over the icon to view any open virtual desktops or create a new one. These screens can then be rearranged as needed, and applications located on one screen can be dragged to another.
Although Windows 10 has built-in widgets, Windows 11 still works well. If you want to check the weather, look up sports scores, track stock prices, see nearby traffic, manage your Outlook calendar, remove tasks from your to-do list, or read the news. Latest news, a new Widgets icon on the taskbar is included for you. You can customize the widgets to suit your needs, rearrange them on the page, and manage your newsfeed preferences through Microsoft News.
More multitasking layouts
Microsoft has supported snapping and resizing since Windows 7, but it’s enhanced in Windows 11 with Snap Layouts. You can still drag and drop windows to the correct positions, but in Windows 11, you can also hover over the Maximize button on supported apps to see a menu of layout options — a single window. large on the left and two overlapping windows on the right, or three in a row, for example. Click to select your preferred form and then move your applications into place.
Chat with the group
Microsoft Teams — the company’s free messaging, calling, and video conferencing application — is included in Windows 11. Launch a video call and start a chat from the new Chat icon on the taskbar; no need to open the Microsoft Teams app. You can sync your contacts through the Teams mobile app, but if your contacts don’t use Teams, send an invitation via email or text. You can also chat via SMS with contacts even if they are not registered to Groups and they can join video chat from a web link.
Get things done with focused sessions
With messages and video chats popping up throughout the workday, it’s easy to get distracted as work piles up. Focus Sessions in Windows 11 encourages you to spend time on work that requires deep and uninterrupted concentration. It’s now available in the new Alarms & Clocks app and provides a quick way to get at least 30 minutes of distraction-free work time. If you exceed 45 minutes, the app will automatically schedule a five-minute break between your session. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to set it up for your PC.
With Windows 11, Microsoft streamlined the ribbon at the top of the File Explorer menu. Now only crop, copy, share, sort and view options are displayed; no need to scroll through many tabs and settings that you will never use. Windows 11 also adds a New to create new folders and shortcuts, and documents based on the programs you have installed.
Input/output device pairing
Windows 11 has a full-featured Audio menu with the ability to pair new input and output devices. Open Settings > System > Sound and click Add device in the Output section to link external speakers or other devices. Or click Add device below Input to connect an external microphone. You will then be given the option to connect via Bluetooth, wireless dock, etc. Scroll down to the Advanced section and click All audio devices to see a complete list of all input and output devices connected to your PC.
New sound mode
You get more control over your audio output in Windows 11, including mono audio and advanced audio modes. To go mono, open Settings > System > Sound, then turn on Mono audio to mix the left and right audio channels. For enhanced sound — including bass boost, virtual surround, room correction, and volume equalization — click All audio devices in the Advanced section of the Sound menu, select a device to access the Properties menu and enable Sound Enhancement.
See list of apps
Windows 11 adds an extra step to view your complete list of installed apps. Instead of opening the Start menu and immediately seeing the Apps List next to your live tile, you have to click All Apps in the Pinned section of the Start menu. You will then be able to browse the list or search for a specific app.
Speaking of live tiles, they’ve finally arrived in Windows 11. Instead, there’s a simpler Start menu where you can pin apps for easy access. Open the Application List, right click on the application and select Pin to get started to move it to the Pinned section. You can then drag the app to your preferred location. To remove an application, right-click and select Unpin from Start.
In Windows 10, the Settings button appears above the Start button when you tap it. Not so in Windows 11, but you can add it back(Opens in a new window) through the Settings > Personalization > Start > Folder. Here you can also add File Explorer, other popular folders, and a Network icon.
Get better recommendations
The new Start menu has a Recommended section for recent files and frequently used apps. To customize what appears here, open Settings > Personalization > Get Started so you can tell Windows to stop showing recently installed apps, frequently used apps, or recently opened items in the Start menu, App List, and elsewhere.
Change default apps
In Windows 10, it’s easy to choose a default app, but with Windows 11, the process is more complicated, as you need to specify a default app for every file type. Open the Settings app and tap the Apps section in the menu on the left. Select Default Apps, click on the app you want to set as the default for a file type, and you’ll see a list of all the file types it’s capable of handling. Click the file type you want and choose an app from the pop-up menu. For a full rundown of the process, check out our guide.
Choose your theme
Themes reappear in Windows 11, but this time they work in tandem with dark mode. Open Settings > Personalization and choose one of the default themes to change the background, sound, cursor, accent color, and color theme all at once. Open Themes to edit an existing theme, add a new theme from the Microsoft Store, or create your own.
Better battery visualization
Windows 11 does a better job than its predecessor of helping you visualize your battery usage data. Go Settings > System > Power & batterythen open Battery usage navigation. Here you’ll find a graph showing how much power you’ve used over the past few days or hours. The list of apps below shows the power usage of each app. If you see a program that might be using too much power, you can turn off background usage and put it to sleep, just like iPhones and Android devices allow you to do that.
Get used to the new touch gestures
If you’re using a touchscreen convertible tablet or tablet, such as the stunning new Surface Pro 8, you must be familiar with a whole new range of touch gestures, many of which are related. to the use of multiple fingers. Swiping in from the left side will no longer open the task switching mode, but instead a Widgets panel of news and information. To bring up the Actions View, you now have to swipe up on the screen (anywhere) with four fingers. Swiping in from the right still luckily opens notifications. Swiping down from the top no longer closes the app, but you can swipe down in the app window with three fingers to minimize the app and bring up the screen. A three-finger swipe up opens all running windows.
Run Android apps (in Beta)
If you’re a Windows Insider, you get early access to Android apps in the Microsoft Store. It’s currently limited to 50 Amazon Appstore apps, but more are on the way. Here’s how to download Windows Subsystem for Android, install the Appstore, and play with Android apps on your Windows 11 PC.
Michael Manymore contributed to this story.
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