Microsoft announces Windows 11

Microsoft announces Windows 11. Here’s what you need to know
Software and Tech giant Microsoft announced the latest version of their Windows operating system, Windows 11, via a dedicated YouTube livestream event on June 24th. We’ve detailed all the important updates, specs and new features to look out for.

Microsoft announces Windows 11
Windows 11 Logo 

Microsoft says that Windows 11 is “the most significant update to the Windows operating system since windows 10”, offering many innovations that focus on enhancing user productivity in a fresh, flexible and fluid experience. It is intended to be best performing Windows ever; More reliable, connected and secure.

What’s new?

Visual changes– Windows 11 has a refreshed look, adding rounded corners to windows and a translucent effect to system flyouts that gives a ‘glassy’ feel to the interface. Four new themes have been added; Glow, Captured Motion, Sunrise and Flow, as well as improvements to Light/Dark Mode, volume flyouts and the notification center. Widgets have been added for quick access to app functions and there’s a new set of system sounds.

Task Bar- The task bar is now located at the bottom-centre of the display by default, similar to Mac OS and Chrome OS, but you can choose to move it back to the left like in Windows 10. However, you won’t be able to place the taskbar on the right or left of the display anymore.

Start menu- The start menu is located centrally alongside the task bar and opens to a static list of apps (of your choosing) followed by your most frequently opened documents. This replaces the live tiles feature from Windows 10. The search box has been hidden behind a new magnifying glass icon and does not come with Cortana support pre-installed, which can still be downloaded from the app store. The ‘Timeline’ feature is replaced by Microsoft Edge’s sync function.

Multitasking- The Snap feature which allows for multiple app windows to be opened simultaneously has been updated. Snap Layouts now shows you possible grid layouts of your apps when you hover over the maximise button of an open window. When one is selected, it then saves that layout to the taskbar using the extension feature, Snap Groups.

Snap Groups remembers the apps you’ve been using and allows you to group them together. This way, if you use a particular set of apps together for a task, you’ll be able to quickly access the saved layout from Snap Groups, instead of having to reset them manually each time.

Gaming- Gamers who play on Windows also have new features to look forward to. On Windows 11, Microsoft have added the Auto HDR and DirectStorage features from their Xbox consoles to significantly enhance gameplay. Now your PC games will look better, load faster and perform smoother due to less stress on your system’s CPU.

Xbox’s game pass app is now built in, allowing subscribers to download and stream over 100 high quality games via xbox cloud gaming. The addition of cloud gaming also allows for cross play between PCs and consoles.

Tablet Mode- Windows 11 brings a redesigned Tablet mode to 2 in 1 touchscreen laptops. The traditional PC-like interface that included a full screen start menu will be replaced by a more typical tablet experience. The interface is now more touch friendly with visual effects accompanying touches, new windows ink workspace options and gestures for opening and closing windows & desktop switching.

Microsoft store- While the overall functionality of the Microsoft store is not changed, Windows 11 brings a new, unique feature; Android app support.

Likely in response to Apple’s addition of iPhone and iPad app functionality in their M1 powered devices last year, the Microsoft store will now support Android app functionality via the Amazon app store. You can now download all your favourite mobile apps on your windows PC, once you have an Amazon app store account.

This feature will not be available on Windows 10 as it does not have the necessary subsystems built in. However, All Win32, UWP and Progressive Web Apps will still be available on both Windows 10 and 11.

Removed features- There have been a few features removed from the new Windows update:

  • Wallpaper sync: The wallpaper sync feature has been removed from the Microsoft cloud
  • Internet explorer: The default windows browser has been replaced by Microsoft Edge
  • Math input panel: This handy feature that incorporated external devices was removed from Windows 11
  • Apps: 3D Viewer, OneNote for Windows 10, Paint 3D & Skype no longer ship with Windows 11, but can be downloaded from the store.

Microsoft announces Windows 11. Here’s what you need to know
Will I get Windows 11 on my PC?

Windows 11 will be available for installation on all compatible devices. Microsoft has detailed the required device specifications here.

When will I get the update?

Windows 11 will be delivered as an upgrade to eligible devices already running Windows 10, starting in late 2021 and continuing into 2022. The specific time will vary by device. Windows 11 will also be available on eligible new devices after release.

Administrators that manage devices for an organisation will be able to update to Windows 11 via the same familiar channels that used today for Windows 10 feature updates.

For developers, a beta version of Windows 11 is available now through the Windows Insider Program.

Microsoft says that feature updates for Windows 11 will now be once per year instead of twice, while the monthly quality updates will continue as normal. They also confirmed that Windows 10 will continue to be supported through 2025, although they didn’t officially specify how many updates there will be moving forward.

What are your thoughts about Windows 11? Are you excited for the update? Tell us in the comments below!

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