Windows 11: What Lies Ahead! A Quick Overview of what has changed

The news of Microsoft’s long-overdue release of a new Operating System (OS) is finally out. And it is taking the world by storm! Windows 10, the last OS released by the tech giant was 6 years ago. Ever since a new update to the Windows series has long been awaited, and a little Insider Preview of the promising new Windows 11 was made available last week. Naturally, there are a few questions. Is the hype real? Will the new Windows 11 live up to its hype? Have significant changes been made and what are they? So without further ado, let’s all your questions!

For starters, the new Microsoft Windows 11 is estimated to be ready for the digital market in October of this year. It is yet to be made clear whether Microsoft will allow the latest generation of Windows to be made available as an update to Windows 10, or Windows 7 and 8 for that matter. However, the company did hint that Windows 11 will be made available to the newest and advanced laptops as a software update. The Windows 11 Preview that Microsoft recently released is available for download online. A few changes to the Windows 11 interface and layout designs are outward and obvious whereas others are a little subtle to observe. Regardless of the subtlety or prominence of the new features, Microsoft has incorporated into Windows 11; the experience will be a pleasant one!

Interface

Windows 11 comes with a completely renovated interface. The renovation comes with a bit of makeover and redesigning of Windows 10’s features. Right off the bat, Microsoft’s new design for Windows 11 seems to be centrally arranged. For instance, the Start menu is no longer peripherally located and is one of the most obvious features of the new OS. To the delight of many PC users, the Start button is now centrally aligned on the desktop and offers more easy access than its predecessor. This design is similar to the ChromeOS launcher, featuring a central app tray and simplified icons instead of Live Tiles. Similar to Windows 10, The Start Menu contains custom pinned applications, in addition to a recommended section of recently opened files and programs. However, the Search bar is placed within the centrally aligned App Tray which is another feature that resembles the ChromeOS or macOS interface. All menus, windows, and applications now open in a rounded window which is a recent adaptation by Microsoft. A surprising finding is the absence of built-in apps like Skype and Cortana, which had recently been integrated into Windows 10. This makes the desktop and App Tray look less littered and more organized than the previous Windows.

The freshest tool Microsoft offered in Windows 11 shed is, however, the Snap Layout. Snap Layout will allow the user to choose the layout of the windows he opens into customized options. By hovering the cursor over the maximize button, a set of screen layouts are offered to adjust multiple windows on the screen once. Snap Layout will definitely be an aid while multitasking and the feature will likely evolve into a better version soon. Fingers crossed!

Android compatibility

Apart from the multitasking-friendly Snap Layout, Windows 11 is expected to support android apps. These apps, from Appstore to Amazon, will likely be made part of the Microsoft Store in the near future. To make the OS more android compatible, the Intel Bridge runtime compiler is to be made part of Windows 1, courtesy of the Microsoft-Intel partnership, to support built-in APK files and android apps. Consequently, APK files would be able to be downloaded to install android apps on Windows 11. However, the exact mechanics of the process haven’t yet been made public. Unfortunately, Google Play Services will likely not be made available to the apps installed on Windows 11, which will certainly render Android apps less functional than they would be without it.

A gift for the gamers

Microsoft appears to finally recognize and bridge the gap between PC and XBOX. This is evident from the fact that Xbox Game Pass will be directly accessible by gamers from all Windows 11 running PCs. Unlike Windows 10, however, the gaming integration is expected to be way smoother as Xbox and Game Pass will be built directly into Operating System. Windows 11 is equipped with DirectX 12 Ultimate, Auto HDR, and DirectStorage, a sort of mid-year gift from Microsoft to all PC gamers.

A finer File Explorer and smoother Settings

Much like the entire interface, Microsoft has remade the File Explorer and Settings application with remarkable changes and options made available for customization.

The new File Explorer has features a clean and organized interface. The “Header” bar has replaced the ribbon-like interface that was introduced in Windows 8. The new icons have been arranged in a single row to grant easy access to basic command features like cut, copy, rename, paste, share, and delete. Additionally, a simplified “new” button allows creating a new folder, a far efficient option compared to its contemporary windows counterpart. The context menu can be accessed by right-clicking anywhere within the File explorer and even the Desktop, owing to enhanced Explorer integration. The context menus look absolutely brand new but simple, with a more organized but simplified interface.

Microsoft has outdone itself when it comes to the new OS Settings app. Apart from the enhanced and visually appealing background and themes available within Settings, the app allows more convenient navigation and configuration of your PC. The app offers a completely new sidebar, submenu buttons, and breadcrumbs for navigation- just in case you get lost. The PC is shown at the top, on top of its info, name, and model, and alongside Windows update and OneDrive sign-in status. The personalization page allows access to a total of 6 Windows themes, not counting some of the darker themes automatically turned on night mode. Surprisingly, the touch keyboard not only supports themes but also boasts a wide range of themes to choose from- 13 to be exact!

Apart from these and a few other changes, a lot of expectations from Windows 11 are, unfortunately, conjecture at this point. However, one thing for sure is that the long-awaited Windows does appear to be carrying a lot of changes in its programming.

Author

Hamza Javed

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