Windows 11: Biggest changes and new features

    The drastic redesigns of Windows have proven disastrous for Microsoft in the past, with Windows 8 being the worst case scenario. But after testing Windows 11 myself, I’ve noticed that, while the interface looks quite different, it doesn’t take long to figure out how things work. At the launch event, Microsoft’s product manager, Panos Panay, expressed his desire not to alienate longtime Windows fans, and that’s a good thing (albeit almost impossible, given the way many response to change). While that goal is to keep it familiar, there’s a lot of innovation in Windows 11.

    The new operating system will begin rolling out as an upgrade to PCs on October 4, 2021. Before embarking on an upgrade, you should first determine if your PC can run Windows 11. Deployment The rollout will last until mid-2022, according to Microsoft, as numerous PC hardware and software configurations are confirmed for compatibility. Follow PCMag’s Windows 11 page for related news and tips. Now, let’s start with our look at the biggest changes and new features.

    Windows 11 has a new look

    Taskbar icons are now centered and smaller like they are in Chrome OS, but the Start button is still to the left of other app icons. Windows has tightly rounded corners, similar to macOS. I’m still not a fan of the always-shrinking Taskbar buttons. In Windows 10, you get wide taskbar buttons for running apps as opposed to narrow icons for pinned apps. However, the focused interface might appeal to me more because it doesn’t require you to move the mouse pointer across the entire screen to launch apps from the Start Menu.

    More subtle is the transparency, animation and icon design that clearly represent the evolution of the Smart Design System(Opens in a new window)though promised, never fully took over in Windows 10. A few new features material join an opaque type called Acrylic: Mica is opaque, tinted slightly based on the background color; and Smoke, which darkens other areas to keep you focused on an important input area. Dark mode also looks more consistent, and the materials change to reflect that mode.

    Widgets in Windows 11

    Widgets are back! Apple has supported widgets in iOS 14 and iPadOS 15, and Microsoft has tried to bring widgets to the desktop with the News and Interests panel in Windows 10. But Windows 11 widgets are another idea. . New widgets provide personalized news, weather, traffic, sports and stock market feeds, powered by AI for customization and Edge for visibility. Later updates will allow you to expand the Widgets panel to fill the entire screen, and third-party content providers will be able to take advantage of this new feature.

    Windows 11 Snap Layout

    Snap Layout in Windows 11

    To me, Windows has long been unrivaled in its ability to position, size, open and close windows on the desktop according to your preferences. (I’m still a fan of Aero Shake(Opens in a new window) to show the desktop.) Apple’s MacOS recently added the ability to set the window to take up exactly half of the screen, something Windows users have had for years.

    Now the newest window opener is here: Snap Layouts. Snap Layouts let you choose from a range of window layouts (see above), easily bringing them into application windows of your choice. Possibly even more important than the additional layout choices are that these are saved and accessible from the app’s taskbar icons, so you don’t have to recreate them after performing the operation. other work on PC.

    Default apps updated in Windows 11

    Centralized session in Windows 11 Clock app

    Many older versions of Windows — Paint, Photos, Notepad, Media Player, Mail, etc. — have been or will be updated to include a new look and feel and in some cases add new features. A great case in point is the humble Clock app, powered by Windows 11 with a super-productive feature: Focus Sessions. With Focus Sessions, you set boundaries for when you want unallocated time to get work done.

    Photos app in Windows 11

    The Photos app in Windows 11 is a good sleeper in that it has remarkable capabilities not only for organizing and editing photos, but also for editing videos with titles, transitions, effects, and more. The Photos app includes face recognition, auto-generated albums, and built-in maps for photos with location data — features that even some paid photo apps lack. New to Photos is an edge-to-edge photo view, a multi-photo view, and an improved crop interface, plus Smart Design updates.

    The new Media Player app handles both music and video, and replaces Windows 10’s Groove app. With that, the new player can handle FLAC audio and 4K video.

    A redesigned settings app

    New Settings app for Windows 11

    The redesigned Settings app now has a persistent left-side menu. It saves you from having to go back to nested settings to quickly get into another group. Otherwise, you’ll get most of what’s found in Windows 10’s Settings.

    Multiple Desktops in Windows 11

    Multiple Desktops in Windows 11

    Now in Windows 11, you can set a different background color or image for each virtual desktop you have, which makes a lot of sense if you have one monitor for work and another for personal use. multiply for example. Note that you can only set the background to be an image or solid color. If you want a background or Slideshow Theme, it will apply to all screens. The Snap Layouts mentioned above can also be used separately on each desktop. For more, read How to Manage Virtual Desktops in Windows 11.

    Team is Integral in Windows 11

    Microsoft Teams in Windows 11

    One of Microsoft’s biggest successes over the past few years has been Teams, its messaging and video conferencing tool. Microsoft Teams has grown from 20 million users in 2019 to more than 250 million monthly active users by the end of 2021. However, the company wants it to go beyond the workplace and a new taskbar button allows Easy access to Teams in Windows 11.

    Teams is cross-platform, running on Android, iOS and macOS as well as Windows. It also works with SMS for those who don’t have the mobile app installed, which means you can text anyone’s phone number for free from your PC, a much-appreciated perk.

    This feature has two parts: Group Chat and Group Video Conferencing, which opens a separate window. When you start messaging someone who doesn’t have an account, they’ll receive an invitation to sign up for the free service.

    Windows 11 tablet mode and dock

    Attaches to Windows 11

    With Windows 11, when you dock or plug your laptop into a monitor, it remembers the last app layout you were using (see above).

    Tablet mode in Windows 11

    Microsoft no longer uses the term Tablet Mode in Windows 11, because using the Operating System on a device like Surface is more like desktop mode than in Windows 10. When you remove the machine’s keyboard tablet or flip its screen for touch interaction, subtlety changes appear, such as more space between taskbar icons. A new three-finger swipe lets you open Task View and minimize or recall running apps. The new Surface Slim Pen 2 provides haptic and acoustic feedback, and voice input continues to get better.

    Recommended by our editors

    Better App Store in Windows 11

    App Store in Windows 11

    Yes, you can run Android apps on your PC—but only through the Amazon AppStore or by casting them. Currently, the feature is in Preview, and it offers a limited selection of games for kids. What remains is seen as how Good The Android app will run on the desktop. We’ve seen the performance and appearance of Android apps running in Chrome OS (both owned by Google), so I don’t expect perfection in this Amazon-Microsoft partnership. . Note that the Phone Link app provides another (and superior, for my pocket) way to run apps on PC — you can use any app installed on your phone its compatible Android.

    Other important updates to the store are that developers can now include progressive web apps and legacy Win32 apps, as well as UWP (Universal Windows Platform) apps that are typically available in the store. Even better for developers, they can bypass any fee cuts from Microsoft by using their own commercial tools. Commercial use of Microsoft resulted in a 15% cut which is still low in the market.

    The store also offers current TV shows and movies that you can stream wirelessly to your TV.

    New Sound in Windows 11

    The sound scene of Windows startup, warnings, notifications, etc. has become softer, softer and shorter in Windows 11. When using this operating system for a few weeks, I noticed that the sounds The new bar actually makes for more enjoyable computer sessions.

    Gaming is enhanced in Windows 11

    Play games in Windows 11

    You can run Xbox Game Pass games on Windows 11 and Xbox Cloud Gaming is supported in the Xbox app on Windows 11. That means every PC is now an Xbox as well as a PC, according to the app analyst. and the Jordan Minor game. In terms of performance and picture quality, the update also adds DirectStorage and Auto HDR. The former is the upload speed for games from memory to the graphics card. The latter produces richer image quality with more color range and depth. In terms of raw game performance comparison between Windows 10 and Windows 11, our hardware analysts found very little difference between the two operating system versions.

    Windows 11 Performance and Security

    PCMag’s hardware team also ran Windows 10 and Windows 11 performance comparison tests for productivity apps and found that, as with gaming, there was little difference, with 11 performing better. 10 in more areas. Speed ​​improvements also come to browsing in Edge, signing in with Windows Hello, and waking up from sleep. Windows updates are 40% smaller and more efficient, and they happen in the background. More energy efficient means longer battery life.

    The head of Windows Panos Panay has predicted that Windows 11 will be the most secure version. One sign of increased security is that the new operating system requires PCs to have a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 (TPM) security chip and Secure Boot capability. Our security expert Neil Rubenking thinks that Windows 11 includes some good security-enhancing features, although unfortunate users can override them to make the operating system less secure.

    For all the latest news, tips, and features, be sure to check out PCMag’s Windows 11 home page often.

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