Microsoft has just realized Windows should be a powerful desktop operating system. From improved multi-window multitasking and better support for multiple monitors to PC gaming improvements and a Store featuring traditional Win32 desktop apps, Microsoft is embracing the reality of the PC and making it really a better one

Release Candidate

Windows 11 will begin to arrive at end of 2021 holiday season as per Microsoft. Will continue throughout 2022 and machines that are eligible will get the upgrade. But not all Window 10 wil get an upgrade. UEFI firmware (Secure Boot) with TPM 2.0 chip is a must. PC Health check option will tell if eligible or not. Preview copy of Windows 11 will be available from this month end.

Start Menu

Windows 11 has a new, simplified Start menu. Live tiles are gone, replaced with a list of app icons and recent files. Documents you edit in Office apps on other devices even devices that aren’t running Windows will appear as recent files here. Taskbar icons such as Start Menu moved to the center of the task bar and it’s dynamic

Windows 11's new Start menu.

Multi-Window

Snap Layouts feature for quickly arranging apps on your screen. Just mouse over a window’s “Maximize” button and you can easily choose a screen region for it. Snap Groups, single click on taskbar icon pulls up a group of snapped apps. In tablet mode the orientation will be automatically stacked based on device orientation

Multiple monitors comes with a “new docking and undocking experience.” When you unplug a monitor, the windows on the monitor will minimize themselves. When you reconnect the monitor, Windows will automatically restore the windows to their original positions on that monitor.

Update Window

Microsoft says Windows 11 will be better about updates. Updates will be 40% smaller, and happen in background. Major change is instead of two major exisiting feature updates in a year.One single major update will be pushed.

Microsoft is now aligning its schedule with other operating systems like Google’s Android, Apple’s macOS, and Apple’s iOS and iPadOS

Desktop App Store

Microsoft is finally doing what it should have done when it launched Windows 8 with the first Windows Store.

Windows 11's new Store app.

The new Store will be “your single trusted location for apps.” Developers can offer traditional Win32 desktop applications in the Store alongside Univeral Windows Platform (UWP) apps and Progress Web App (PWA) apps. Apps can be in any other app framework that works on Windows. Developers can make revenue from it. The Store has been redesigned, It also has TV shows and movies.Microsoft says it’s been rebuilt for speed.

Android App Store

Microsoft was working on Android app support before the release of Windows 10, but the company axed the project. Now, Android app support will come to Windows 11 enabling Android apps through the Microsoft Store and run them on your PC. Microsoft is in talk with Amazon App Store for bridging the Store.

Android apps from the Amazon Appstore in the Microsoft Store

Widgets

The Microsoft Teams Chat popup on Windows 11.

Microsoft is also integrating Microsoft Teams into the taskbar. A Chat feature to have text conversations and video calls with people. Microsoft Teams is widely known as a business communication tool, but Microsoft wants to expand it to everyone likely because Skype is not doing very well under Microsoft’s ownership. The taskbar also features a Widgets button and making it customizable interface

Gaming Improvements

Microsoft already has  DirectX 12 Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass, offering unlimited access to a library of PC games for a monthly fee. Two features from the Xbox Series X.

Comparing standard SDR vs. Auto HDR in Skyrim on a Windows 11 PC.

The first is Auto HDR, which will help “over 1000” previous-generation games look better by automatically enabling HDR. Without this feature, only games built to support HDR would use HDR on an HDR-compatible display. More Vivid and dynamic

The second is DirectStorage. Few Windows 11 PCs will be “DirectStorage Optimized” they will need a high-performance NVMe SSD and appropriate drivers which will speed up the game loading and processing

Final Thoughts

Windows 11 seems pretty good so far! It’s full of other smart changes. First impression is good to have this OS. Need to wait to comment further.