Taking Microsoft’s Windows 11 for a Test Drive


For tech critics, criticizing a new operating system is a ridiculous ritual.

It’s like being a professional home inspector presenting a report that’s always the case: Here’s what you need to know about the house you’re about to move into. Some parts are great, but there are big problems. You’re moving though, so you’ll have to learn to live with it.

This is because operating systems are essentially where your digital life happens. If you have a PC built to run Windows, you will probably continue to use the next version of Windows, no matter how good or bad it is.

This is how I felt when I tried Windows 11Microsoft’s first major operating system update six years. The company marketed it as a fresh start to Windows with a modern, human-centered design. (It’s not new that tech companies constantly remind us that their products are designed for users, not my Labrador retriever.) The software will be a free update to many Windows PCs this holiday season.

New Windows productivity tools, such as the ability to instantly minimize and rearrange windows, and support for mobile Android apps. Yet Windows 11 is ultimately an evolution. While there are improvements, parts of it feel frustratingly familiar.

I tested an early, unfinished version of Windows 11 for a week. There are some high points, such as a design that makes the software behave similarly to mobile devices, and some low points, such as the old concept of widgets, which are miniature apps that live in a dashboard on your screen.

Here is my inspection report summarizing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Microsoft administrators called Windows 11 a new beginning for personal computing focused on people. The outdated pun was intended to highlight the biggest design change to Windows: the iconic Start button, traditionally tucked into the bottom-left corner, has been slid towards the bottom-center. And the Start button no longer loads a list of settings and apps; shows a folder of your apps.

This is the same interface we use apple and Android Smartphones and tablets displaying a tray of essential apps at the bottom center of the screen. Still, it’s a nice change. The Start button in previous versions of Windows opened up a laundry list of apps and settings that felt tedious to navigate.

The most interesting new design change is a feature called Snap Layouts, which I love. In the upper-right corner of an app, hovering your mouse cursor over the maximize window button opens a grid showing different arrangements that automatically shrink or reposition the app.

So, if you want to reposition an application window to occupy only the left side of the screen, click the corresponding icon to place it in that position. This is much faster than moving a window and dragging a corner to the appropriate size.

Microsoft executive Yusuf Mehdi said that many additions to Windows 11, including support for Android apps, are designed to keep people streaming on their machines. when you place an order Uber, For example, you no longer need to buy an Android phone to call the car, and you can do it directly from the Uber app on the Windows machine.

Most of the new features didn’t keep me in the flow, though.

One of them is the ability to create multiple desktop spaces, which Microsoft calls Task Views. The idea is that you can have a desktop display for every aspect of your life. A desktop can be reserved for working and showing shortcuts to your email and calendar applications. Another can be devoted to your personal life and show shortcuts to all your games.

This all sounds good, but splitting my life up into separate desktop screens quickly got boring. Searching for the right app to navigate to and launch a specific screen took much more time than using the search tool to quickly find and open an app.

Windows 11 also reintroduces the widget, a concept that Apple and Google operating systems have used for a long time. Widgets are basically a lightweight app that stays open all the time, like a weather app, calendar, or stock ticker so you can instantly browse important information. To view the widgets, click a button that shows a drawer where they all work side by side.

I’ve never been in the habit of using widgets on my smartphones or computers as they felt unnecessary – and it was the same in Windows 11. current date and your next appointment. But every time I checked my calendar widget, I wanted to open my full calendar app to see all my events for the month.

Microsoft plans to allow Windows 11 users to access Amazon’s app store to download Android apps. This hasn’t been tested yet, but I’m guessing it might break your flow with widgets. Let’s say you like a great Android to-do list app and add all your tasks here. If the same app is not available as a widget, you cannot view your to-do list in the widgets panel. Why bother with widgets?

These are still early days, as Windows 11 will be officially released during the holiday season and a lot of software-related things may change. But one issue that is unlikely to change is that, for security reasons, personal computers should at least Includes fairly new chips from Intel and AMD To install Windows 11.

This means that millions of computers running Windows 10 on older hardware, including those a few years old, cannot run Windows 11. So, at some point, these users get stronger security benefits and new features in the operating system.

In other words, unlike past updates that were free, Windows 11 might mean you have to pay for a truck to move into a house that looks pretty familiar with the new storefronts.


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