One of the most anticipated tech launches of 2021 was Windows 11 which is finally here! Yes, you heard that right, Microsoft released Windows 11 on June 24th at 8:30 PM IST at their launch event. The good thing about the Windows 11 update is that- according to XDA developers those who are running Windows 7,8, or 10 with an officially licensed key from Microsoft are going to be able to upgrade to Windows 11 for absolutely free. In this article, we’re going to look at the new features and changes in Windows 11 from Windows 10, and we’ll also be going over how you can download the Windows 11 preview on your system, so let’s get straight into it.
Windows 11 Features
Microsoft has taken Windows 11 to the next level. In one word they have made a lot of improvements to the system UI, let’s start with the taskbar and start menu.
Taskbar & Start Menu
Now one of the biggest changes on Windows 11, is the brand-new taskbar and start menu. By default, the taskbar items are moved to the center and there is an option in the settings to customize the taskbar alignment. We also noticed a new start menu for the Windows logo that looks more sophisticated and modern. Tapping on the Windows icon shows the start menu, on the top right of the start menu we can see an option called ‘all apps’ to view all the installed applications.
The start menu is further divided into three sections- the top section shows the pinned section which is user-customizable, the center section which is the recommended section, which provides suggestions about the recent changes that happen in the system, and then in the bottom section, we can see the user ID and the power button. Overall, the start menu is quite easier to use as compared to Windows 10.
Let’s talk about search, just like Spotlight in macOS, Microsoft has tweaked a lot of things to the new search feature in Windows 11 to improve your capabilities beyond your imagination. You can almost search anything on the system like contacts, ask about the weather, perform some calculations, search for a file, and much more.
There is a new icon next to the search bar that Microsoft is calling a task view aka Workspaces. With Windows 11, the workspaces are getting an overhaul. Thanks to the brand-new horizontal Workspaces that are very easy to navigate across the system. Tapping on the Workspaces icon reveals the apps from that workspace and you can quickly glance through all the opened apps. You can also create a new workspace by clicking on the new desktop. The Workspaces feature is super fancy and gives the true power to an end-user to organize the apps according to their workflow. There’s also a keyboard shortcut: holding CTRL + Win + Arrow Keys to switch between the spaces.
You might have seen something similar in the latest build of Windows 10, Windows 11 is calling it ‘Widgets’. This section shows you all the information and cards related to your interests, very similar to the Google card feed on android. There is no option on this build to add any app widgets like clock, screen time which kind off a bummer.
In Windows 11, many new applications have got a new look. Apps like settings, Microsoft store, and many other applications are getting a new design language. If you take a look at the file explorer, many new icons have been added to the frequent folder, we also noticed rounded corners added to the edges of each window, making it look super cool.
Improved Action Center
With Windows 11, the Action center also got a few design changes. The new system toggles look more organic and notice that there are rounded corners at the edges of each toggle and bigger slider buttons in addition.
Awesome Dark Theme & Blur
Thanks to the improved blur effect, the dark mode in Windows 11 is simply magnificent. This was one of the major things that were missing in Windows 10 but thankfully it’s added to the new Windows 11 and it’s here to stay. Things like the start menu, settings, taskbar, action center, and default apps look super fancy.
All-New App Snapping UI
It allows the user to snap applications on the screen side-by-side. With Windows 11 Microsoft has taken the all-new snapping experience to the next level. Inside any application, hovering over the maximized application shows a way to snap or align the app on the desktop.
There is also a blur effect you get to see while snapping the apps manually. With the all-new snapping tools, you can tell the system how you want to snap the applications and the system does it for you.
Auto HDR Gaming
This feature should be exciting for all the gamers out there as the new Windows 11 will now automatically update any normal or non-HDR game to meet the HDR specs by levitating its quality, color, and lighting. Microsoft Windows is said to bring this feature to more than 1000 games.
If there’s one thing that Windows did not change over all these years it was the sound, we have been putting up with the same annoying sounds for 5 years now but Windows 11 has finally changed that too now. You no longer have to listen to the same sound you heard while inserting a USB or when getting an error message, Windows 11 has introduced a whole new collection of fresh and new sounds that are literally music to the ears after listening to the old sounds for such a long time.
Windows 11 is not a treat just for your laptop or system but also for your tablets. The new Windows 11 has an extravagant UI for tablet users as well. As soon as you switch to your tablet the UI customizes noticeably by introducing more spacing between the icons and increasing the touch targets. Windows 11 has also introduced new touchscreen gestures like the three-finger sideswipe to snap a window or three-finger down swipe to minimize it, there’s not really much we can complain about.
The animations in Windows 11 are dream-like and have never been better. Windows 11 has introduced a wide range of animations like moving the windows around your screen to multitask and the blurred effect over your wallpaper, it looks magical! Everything is animated, from closing to maximizing the screen, and even while opening the taskbar, it definitely adds a new and different feel to it.
Multitask with Windows 11
Windows 11 comes with a new feature called ‘groups’ which lets you hover over the maximize button and allows you to see different ways in which you can pair up your current in-use window with other tabs, you can click on the button and create a group and the best part is that Windows 11 remembers the combination! This feature is really intuitive and easy to get a grasp of.
Microsoft Store Now Includes Android Apps
One of the amazing things about Windows 11 is that you can now run android apps on it, even though as of now Windows 11 hasn’t been able to fully integrate the apps but you can run them through the Amazon Appstore. You can launch them from the taskbar or the start menu. In addition, you will also be able to snap them like other applications on your windows. Intel’s bridge technology was able to make this cohesion possible, and we absolutely love it!
Use Multiple Screens Easily
Users who use multiple screens to work know the struggle behind docking them together and how the windows disappear if the system is disconnected as the windows on that system get resized and mixed up, it is quite frustrating. Struggle no more, as the new Windows 11 has put an end to this misery. Even if you unplug your laptop from the second system, the windows will not disappear but just minimize and will remember their place when you plug the screen back in, are we in heaven or what?
These were the top features of the new Windows 11, and we know you absolutely love them because so do we. In the next section, we’re going to take a look at how you can download the Windows 11 preview.
How To Download The Windows 11 Preview
We’re sure that you can’t wait anymore to download Windows 11 on your system but you and I will have to wait for now as the Windows 11 website mentions: “Windows 11 isn’t here yet, but will be coming later this year. If you’re excited, there are some things you can do in the meantime to get ready.”
So for the meanwhile there a few things you need to do to get your system ready for the all-new Windows 11(Check out their insider program here: Windows 11 Insider Preview)
On the Windows 11 page, you’ll find a link to download the Windows PC Health Check App, click on the link, and download the file to check system compatibility. Open the file after it’s downloaded and click on ‘Install’.
The file installs
Next click on ‘finish’
Open the Health Check App and click on ‘Check now’
The app shows the following message depending on whether your system is compatible or not with the Windows 11 Operating System
And that was about it for this article, we hope you now have a clear idea about the features of the new Windows 11 and how you can download the preview on your system. We’re sure you’re very excited about the launch of Windows 11 which is yet to be released this year, until then hold tight!