Windows 11: What Are Some Big Features, Upgrades & Changes

Windows 11 brings many new visual changes and refinements to windows overall. We thought we’d go over all the significant changes and features. Windows 11 will be available as a free update to Windows 10 users later this year as long as you meet the system requirements.

Windows 11’s Requirements

These requirements could change, as quite a few people have been upset about them since they don’t necessarily have all of these requirements, but windows 10 runs just fine. 

  • Processor: One gigahertz (GHz) or faster with two or more cores on a compatible 64-bit processor or System on a Chip (SoC)
  • RAM: 4 gigabyte (GB)
  • Storage: 64 GB or larger storage device
  • System firmware: UEFI, Secure Boot capable
  • TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0
  • Graphics card: Compatible with DirectX 12 or later with WDDM 2.0 driver
  • Display: High definition (720p) display that is greater than 9″ diagonally, 8 bits per color channel

 If you meet those requirements, you should be good to go. 

Windows 11’s Start Menu

Windows 11's Start Menu

 

One significant change is the “start menu” or “start bar,” which is now in the middle of the display. This can be customized or changed back to the left-hand side if you prefer that, but this works great if you have an ultra-wide monitor, so that’s been updated in Windows 11. they’ve also added rounded edges to everything, so if we click on start, you’ll see the corners are rounded. 

There’s some nice shadow going on behind to give some depth, which looks more like an android app launcher. You have your pinned apps with some new icon designs as well, and then also if you want to see all of your apps, you click on all apps. You can scroll through all of your apps alphabetically, so that’s an updated change and something they’ve updated with the start menu itself. There are no more live tiles below that recommend things you may have opened recently. But, again, you can click on more and see more of that information or more different recommended applications or documents you might have opened. You also have your power menu here, where you can restart or shut down.

Windows 11’s Desktop

Windows 11's Desktop

now on the desktop, you can see that we have an excellent background. There are some new themes, but if we right-click on one of the icons, such as Microsoft teams, which is also new and installed on every Windows 11 pc. So if you will right-click, and you’ll see it’s updated just a little bit. You have “cut,” you have a “copy,” you also have “renamed,” and then “delete.” 

So this is updated with the theming to match the rounded corners and your different prominent properties and specific applications. That hasn’t changed much; it’s just a visual overhaul.

Windows 11’s Search

Windows 11's Search

As you would see, the following icon is “search” if you click on search, you’ll see that you have type to search, and then you have your top apps and recents and things like that. So like before, your recent searches or items you’ve opened. And then you would see, we have a control panel of the old ways to manage a Windows computer. 

They’re still here; they’re in the background running. So if you want to change from small icons to categories, you can do that. They haven’t removed any of these, yet they’re still here if you prefer that. Still, they’ve just visually overhauled everything to make it a little bit easier to use. 

The next thing is multiple desktops; we can create a new desktop with a different background and theme or different applications. We can close that out and switch between them very quickly, so you have that option as well. To switch between multiple desktops if you prefer to use your computer that way.

The following icon is widgets; they’re bringing widgets back to windows. For example, let’s take the weather widget, calendar, and esports. Then you can customize the size of these with small, medium, or large or remove them altogether. 

Windows 11’s Snap layouts

Windows 11's Snap layouts

Now, if you have a touch screen, you can slide in from the left and use that also. So they’ve updated this to make it lovely, and all the transitions and movements are very smooth, even for an early build. Something that they’ve been talking about quite a lot is called “snap layouts,” so if we go into Microsoft edge. Within the edge, we’ll go home; if you hover over the maximize bar, you will see snap layouts that are the most commonly used layouts now. 

Like before, we can drag the window up to the top to make it full screen. We can drag it back, drag it to the left to snap it to the left or right all of those things are still here, but the most commonly used layouts are available here. So maybe we want to go to the far left with this one. We’ll open up chrome and maybe hover over this, put it in the top right, and then maybe open up the Microsoft store, and we’ll put this one in the bottom right so you can snap things wherever you’d like. 

Also, the layout is remembered if you connect an external monitor, so maybe you have an external monitor connected to a surface laptop. When you plug it in, it will remember this when you leave; it will go back to your primary device. and it won’t just rearrange everything for you and have windows all over the place, so it’s nice that they’ve added that. If we close these and go back in, you’ll see that it goes back to where it was, so it remembers those layouts.

Windows 11’s Explorer

Windows 11's Explorer

The next thing you can see down here is the file explorer updated just a little bit. It’s just been updated to match what we had before with rounded corners and the newer icons. Everything you would expect is still here, though, of course, so there are those new icons. 

Windows 11’s Settings

Windows 11's Settings

settings have been dramatically changed and much more accessible, we think. So instead of the control center, we now have settings, and you would see all of your settings here. You can access anything the old way if you’re used to that. Still, on the left, you have everything organized by Bluetooth, devices network, internet, personalization, gaming apps, accessibility privacy, security, and windows update. 

Windows update has been updated as well to be faster but has smaller installs. They said they’d be updating this on a yearly cycle as far as new features, so not twice a year anymore. So that’s a positive change. We think everyone would like this sort of consistency they’re showing throughout the OS. 

Windows 11’s Display 

If you go into the display, everything’s very consistent. Scaling and resolution have been updated as well. For personalization, it follows themes as we had before, so maybe if we switch to a light theme, everything shifts over like before. If you want to change the theme, you have more options to add your wallpaper and sounds. 

Of course, there are new sounds; there are different colors, everything is customizable. So you have all of these different backgrounds you glow you can see that’s glow. Then you have this one here, which is called “captured motion,” then also you have what they call flow; it’s just sort of a variation on the light and dark theme you had before.

Windows 11’s Notifications

Windows 11's Notifications

then finally, you have this one called sunrise, so sunrise looks like this, so they’re all charming again with matching themes. You’ll see some minor changes and glitches here as I have to mouse over some of these options. Still, for an early build, it’s working quite well now. Of course, if we click on our clock and date here in the bottom right, we have our notifications. 

Then there’s a bit updated volume icon if we click on that. Next, we have some larger buttons for wi-fi and Bluetooth, all updated with rounded corners to match the overall theme. Nice animations throughout, so you have those options. Also, you have a security panel that shows security at a glance, which is very much like we had in windows ten. If you had a virus and threat protection, it looks the same as we had before, so this hasn’t changed too much, just with rounded corners updated.

Windows 11’s Microsoft and App Store

Windows 11's Microsoft and App Store

as well now they’ve updated the Microsoft Store, and this one’s reasonably significant. So not only do we have our gaming with Xbox game pass, but we also have auto hdr as we have on the Xbox series x. It will take the different graphics from the games that are not by default, set up for her, and enhance those areas to make them look nicer. 

That’s built into Windows 11, but the most significant change, we think, is that you can use android apps within windows 11. google play could bring this later on; that’s up to google, but when you click on tick-tock, you have that available, and you can install it on windows 11 and use it here by default. 

It doesn’t matter what processor you have; AMD, intel, or even an arm processor on a surface x, so this should work on all the different platforms natively. You’ll be able to use all these android apps as they’re released for the device, so hopefully, we see a lot more of those. your regular apps are here as well, so they’re encouraging different companies to add their apps here, like adobe, and not charging a bunch to add them here so they can put their app stores here as well 

Windows 11’s Device manager and management

Windows 11's Device manager and management

They’ve also enhanced touchscreen support, voice, and pen support with different haptics, and as I said, there are all of the older features here. So if you go to the Start menu right-click on it, you’ll see that we have a device manager. You’ve got disk management just like we had before; the only difference is rounded corners, and it fades in and out. 

So all of the things are here that you’re used to using, maybe windows terminal or computer management. It’s all here just like you’re familiar with. So it’s a charming update, primarily visual with some nice changes just for usability. We think people have been using this at home quite a bit and realizing that it has some downfalls; with windows 10. they wanted to update it to make it a little bit nicer and easier to use with things like teams built right in, so those are all significant changes within Windows 11. Of course, there are other minor changes throughout, and they’ll continue to update this as it gets closer to its final release  

 

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