Updated: October 5, 2021 1:03:49 pm
Microsoft is back with a new operating system, and this time it feels different. Windows 11 is officially rolling out starting October 5, and if you have purchased a new Windows PC recently, chances are it will be compatible with the new operating system. Windows 11 isn’t an iterative update; it’s an overhaul of the most popular desktop operating system in years. The shift from Windows 10 to Windows 11 may look subtle but there’s a lot to like about what Microsoft has achieved with the new OS.
The fact that Microsoft is giving Windows 11 as a free update to all Windows 10 users shows that Redmond wants new users to jump into PCs for work and play. In a way, Windows 11 is an introduction to a new generation of PC users who have mostly grown on using smartphones all their lives. We have been running Windows 11 beta on various PCs since June, and recently switched to the Acer Aspire 3 running the final software version. This is the first release of Windows 11, so expect a lot of improvements in months to come.
Here’s everything you wanted to know about Windows 11 and whether or not you update it to the latest desktop operating system.
Who can download Windows 11?
Windows 11 is here, and the big question many users must be asking is: Will my PC be compatible with the new OS? Upon the announcement of Windows 11 earlier this year, there was a lot of confusion over device compatibility running the updated OS. Well, Windows 11 should run on most Windows 11 PCs. The basic requirements to run Windows 11 include: a 64-bit processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, UEFI secure boot and TPM (trusted platform module) 2.0, though the latter one could be an issue for some. In case, you are still not clear about the requirements, we encourage you to use the Microsoft PC Health Check app. Windows 11 is available on new PCs from Asus, Lenovo, HP, and more OEMs.
Is Windows 11 visually different from Windows 10?
Yes, Windows 11 introduces a new user interface including a redesigned Start menu and Taskbar which are now centered on the bottom of the screen. It’s more like a Mac-like interface. The Start menu has been revamped completely. Gone are the live tiles of Windows 10. Instead, the Start menu shows only pinned and recommended apps. The top portion of the menu shows a search bar and pinned apps and the lower part has recommended files, folders, and apps based on your usage habits. The taskbar is too getting a major redesign in Windows 11. The UI changes include windows with rounded corners and buttons in the middle of the taskbar. You can’t move the taskbar to the top or side of the screen. Also, there’s also no way to resize the taskbar.
What about Widgets?
In Windows 11, you can now access widgets directly from the Taskbar and personalize them. You will see weather, stocks, sports, photos, and news widgets by default, as in Windows 10. They almost look identical with each widget appearing in a color-coordinated, rounded rectangle.
I heard the System Tray is also getting a makeover
Another big change in Windows 11 is the combined Action and Notification Center. The idea is to simply System Tray and makes it look less cluttered. The System Tray is still on the far right of the Taskbar. Action Center has two layouts: one for notifications and the other for quick settings. The Quick Settings menu opens when you click on or tap the Wi-Fi, or battery icon. By default, it shows buttons for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode, Battery Saver, Focus Assist, and Accessibility, along with sliders for audio volume and screen brightness.
Has multitasking being improved in Windows 11?
Multitasking is given a special focus in Windows 11, and the new Snap Layouts feature demonstrates what the OS is capable of. This is essentially a new productivity tool, and with a simple hovering the mouse over the Maximize icon in a program window’s upper-right corner, you will see a choice of different layouts. A choice of layouts will depend on the width of your display. A standard 16:9 screen will show four layout choices. But if use an ultrawide screen, you will see six layout choices. It is particularly a useful tool, which lets people quickly choose a windows layout to maximize productivity.
Can I download Android apps on my Windows 11 PC?
Perhaps the biggest update in Windows 11 is the arrival of Android apps. The Microsoft Store has been completely refreshed and for the first time, Microsoft will let you download Android apps vis the Amazon Appstore which will be baked into the Windows Store. The while approach of bringing Android apps is to better compete with Chrome OS. Right now, the feature is not live in the launch version of Windows 11 but expect it to be made available next year.
Several new features in Windows 11
These are a few of the many features coming to Windows 11. You will find a lot of small tweaks in the new operating system that is useful like Microsoft Teams will be integrated directly into the Windows 11 Taskbar, the Edge browser now has a safe Kids Mode, a redesigned Explorer and an improved Settings app, and introduction of new gaming technologies: Auto HDR and DirectStorage.
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