Windows 11 evaluation

 Windows 11 is simpler and less complex, although it is still in development.

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While keeping the best features of Windows 10 intact, Windows 11 makes minor improvements to Microsoft's operating system. When used correctly, many new features can increase your productivity.

Udemy costs $99.99.

On Amazon Pros, $139


Improved focus and screen space management tools

Simpler and more understandable menus

Cortana is no longer included by default


System specification requirements

Widgets don't offer much value

And other features missing at launch.

Integration with Teams is useless unless you love Teams.

Microsoft's vision for the future of personal computing is embedded in Windows 11, which has just been released. This version of Windows is softer and more rounded, with an emphasis on the Start menu while removing some of the clutter from Windows 10.

Windows 11 brings some welcome changes, but many of them are so small that you probably won't see them unless you're looking for them. The withdrawal of Internet Explorer, which was officially shut down by Microsoft in June, is one change that most users won't even notice. Other tweaks that catch your eye—like the newly centered Start button—tend to fade into the background.

But maybe this is part of the strategy. Microsoft promotes Windows 11 as a simpler, more secure, and more efficient operating system with a welcoming interface that will make using your PC for work and play more convenient than ever. Moving to Windows 11 is an improvement, if upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 10 is a small revolution. After the important Windows 11 2022 Update, useful features such as Tabs in File Explorer, Folders in the Start Menu, and Voice Access, which enable voice control of your Windows 11 PC, are now available. Switching to Windows 11 might be worth it.

And since all Windows 10 users with a qualifying system have the chance to upgrade for free, the majority of us just need to decide if Windows 11's updated design and additional features are worth the upgrade effort. Keep reading for our comprehensive Windows 11 review, which will help you make this decision.

Check out our guides on the best hidden Windows 11 features and how to speed up Windows 11 if you've already updated or are thinking of doing so.

Amazon Microsoft Windows 11 sells for $139.

Windows 11 review sheet

For the workplace, the new Voice Access feature in Windows 11 is revolutionary.

Windows 11 has received its first major update. Here's what's new as of September 20 and how to get it.

We expect a significant Windows 11 2022 upgrade in late September, followed by at least one other significant update before the end of the year.

Next month (September 2022), Windows 11 will receive an important update that will bring its first significant feature cut since its launch in 2021.

A much-needed feature that will simplify your life will be included in Windows 11 in May 2022: an easy app restore system.

With rounded corners and a new Start menu front and center, Windows 11 has a more streamlined and welcoming look. Microsoft continues to improve and simplify; For example, the latest Windows 11 update finally got rid of the hideous user interface.

You can set up additional desktop computers to work with and enjoy the functionality of your new desktops.

Managing multiple windows on your screen is now easier with Snap Assist and new layouts.

If all you want from your Windows 11 widgets is your news, weather, and calendar, that's fine, but at launch there aren't many additional options and what's here is fairly basic.

If you have the right hardware, Auto HDR and DirectStorage will increase game performance.

Most computers built before 2018 are not eligible due to high system requirements.

In 2022, Google released the Google Play Games app for PC for Windows 10 and 11, which makes all Android games playable on Windows 11.

Windows 11 review: Cost and availability

Windows 11 launch day was October 5, 2021.

Upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11 costs nothing.

Windows 11 release date is October 5, 2021. Similar to Windows 10, if you're buying a new copy, the upgrade will be offered in Home and Pro editions on the Microsoft website (opens in a new tab) and in a few select third-party stores. It is important to note that Windows 11 Pro can be activated without a Microsoft account or internet connection, unlike Windows 11 Home.

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It will be free to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11 if your PC qualifies. Microsoft began releasing Windows 11 upgrades to Windows 10 devices gradually after the introduction of the operating system. Microsoft still prioritizes PCs based on characteristics such as their age and compatibility with Windows 11. By mid-2022, all compatible devices should have the option to upgrade.

However, if you want to do a fresh install of Windows 11 using the ISO file, you can install it right away on your computer if you download a file. You have to mount the ISO file as a bootable device.

The most important thing to understand about the launch of Windows 11 is that we should expect big changes over the next few years. During the month I spent using Windows 11 betas in preparation for writing this review, it seemed like there was always a little new feature or updated app to check out. Since the launch of the product, updates have been less frequent, but important updates have continued to be released, such as Android support for Windows 11.

So, if you're in the know about upgrading, there's no harm in waiting since Windows 11 is not yet complete with being, in my opinion, a perfectly decent and usable version of Windows in a sleek new style. Plus, most of us won't have the chance to get promoted for quite some time. Moreover, Microsoft has promised to continue supporting Windows 10 until 2025, so there is little risk of delay.

Windows 11 review: Requirements

Most computers produced before 2018 cannot run modern software due to high system requirements.

Windows 11 can still be installed on computers that are not compatible at this time.

Prerequisites To put it mildly, Microsoft's claims that you should install Windows 11 on your computer have generated some controversy. As of this writing, your PC must have the following in order to meet the Windows 11 system requirements:

CPU: A 64-bit compatible system on a chip or processor running at 1 GHz or faster with two or more cores (SoC)


64 GB or more of storage

System firmware that supports UEFI Secure Boot

TPM: Trusted Platform Module (TPM) version 2.0.

Graphics Card: WDDM 2.0 driver and compatible with DirectX 12 or later

Screen: High-resolution (720p) screen with a diagonal size of at least 9 inches and 8 bits per color channel.

Internet: To complete device setup on initial use, Windows 11 Home edition requires an active Microsoft account and access to the Internet. The Pro version of Windows 11 does not.

These prerequisites are so stringent that even installing Windows 11 on relatively new PCs can be challenging. Being mainly made up of CPUs released after 2018, Microsoft's list of CPUs compatible with Windows 11 (opens in a new tab) is surprisingly long and very short. And since the majority of us have no idea what a trusted platform module is or how to determine if we have one in our computer, the requirement of an active TPM 2.0 has proven even more troublesome. Here are some details on what a TPM is, why it's important to Windows 11, and how to determine if your computer has one.

Windows 10 does not require you to have TPM 2.0 enabled and has a much wider range of supported CPUs. It's hard to take Microsoft's assertion seriously when it seems simple enough to get around Windows 11 system requirements. Microsoft claims that the stricter system requirements for Windows 11 aim to create a more secure ecosystem by making Windows 11 PCs more resilient In the face of electronic attacks. It was possible to install Windows 11 from an ISO file on computers that did not meet the minimum system requirements during the Windows 11 beta time frame. Instead of upgrading immediately, use the ISO file.

Windows 11 will let you continue on your fun way after alerting you that your PC is not up to par. Even after Windows 11 is officially released, you should be able to get around the system requirements this (or other) way, but Microsoft has frequently warned us that systems running Windows 11 without meeting the minimum system requirements may not receive updates via Windows Update, Including important security updates.

Windows 11 review: Design

Updated and friendlier icons and menus.

Out of the box, Windows 11 looks nicer than Windows 10.

When you upgrade to Windows 11, the new design is what you'll see the biggest change. The taskbar and desktop are still present when Windows starts, but there are now many additional buttons, all grouped in the center of the taskbar instead of in the left corner.

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I've often heard terms like "calm," "focused," and "freedom" used to describe how the new look of Windows is intended to make users feel throughout the run-up to launch. Microsoft is touting Windows 11 as an operating system that can help you do more with your PC in a warmer and more engaging way, whether you use it for work or play. Microsoft seems acutely aware that the majority of us have spent the past several years enduring various forms of COVID-19 lockdown.

It's a good idea, and after using Windows 11 (in a variety of beta models) for over a month, I can attest to the effectiveness of many of the new features built into the program's design. They provide me with additional tools to control when and what I care about on my computer.

Windows 11 review: Desktops help you have more control over where you put your attention

Like many Windows 11 features, it is optional and can be easily ignored.

Notably, there is a new desktop feature that makes it easier to set up and manage multiple desktop configurations. In fact, it is much simpler than it seems. There's a new Task View button that looks like two contrasting windows overlapping one another next to the Start button. You can create a new desktop by hovering the cursor over it; You'll see a small preview of each desktop you've opened as well as the option to do so.

In fact, setting up a new desktop makes little difference. Each desktop can have a distinct name, but they all access the same computer data and use the same Microsoft account. In my testing, I also discovered that desktop icons are shared across computers; As a result, if you remove the Microsoft Edge shortcut from one desktop, it will also disappear from all other desktops. Although each desktop may have a unique set of customizations, including a unique wallpaper and themes, applications and windows open on one desktop are not replicated on others.

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In real life, this translates to being able to organize your tasks using desktops. You might have one desktop labeled "Work" set up with your work apps open and another labeled "Play" with Steam and the Xbox app ready to go if, like many of us, you use your Windows PC for both work and home. and personal activities.

This is how I've been using Windows 11 for a while, and it feels like a logical progression from the way I already divide my time between business and personal matters. When I use two screens, I'll set up one to show my personal email, Twitter, and other personal apps, and the other to show my work apps (Slack, email, our content management system). I often use the browser's side-by-side window functionality in Windows 10, even when I'm only using one screen, to focus on my work while keeping an eye on my personal social media feeds.

Once you've taken some time to get used to the extended desktop groups functionality in Windows 11, I think you'll find them handy if you're working in a similar fashion. However, if you don't want to, that's okay too. These desktop groups are optional and can be ignored, just like many other new features in Windows 11. Even if you remove the button completely from the taskbar, you can still access the task view by pressing the Windows key and Tab.

Windows 11 review: Teams

Now that Teams is integrated into Windows, experienced Teams users will benefit.

Those who don't use Teams can safely ignore it.

The small purple Microsoft Teams icon is another easily overlooked new button on the Windows 11 taskbar. Teams saw a huge surge in users during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Microsoft has since made it an integral part of Windows.

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But if you've never used Teams, there's no need to get started now; You can remove the icon from the taskbar and deactivate Teams completely without losing any useful functionality.

Snap Assist review, layouts, and groups in Windows 11

Layouts give you more granular control over the available screen space.

You can group control groups from similar windows using groups.

Snap Assist, which makes organizing open programs on your desktop into layouts and groups more simple, is an even more important new feature in Windows 11. It's a more refined version of Windows 10 capabilities, similar to how Windows 10 already allows you to "snap" windows into layouts pre-designed.

In Windows 11, you can just hover your cursor over the minimize/maximize button in the top-right corner of any app window to move it into place without having to drag it (or pay attention to keyboard shortcuts). It won't take long for a small popup to appear with different layout capabilities shown in the pictograms, such as splitting the screen evenly between two apps, 50/25/25 between three, or even giving one program two-thirds of the screen while the second app takes up the remaining third.

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Once you've chosen a layout (by moving your cursor over the layout you'd like to use and pointing to where the current program should go), Windows will help fill it in by offering you a list of all your open applications and letting you choose where you want to place each one on the screen.

In addition, Windows 11 will try to remember your layout as a group, so if you minimize everything, you can quickly open all the same programs in the same order by hovering your mouse pointer over the taskbar icons and choosing the group option that appears. It performs a similar role and works very similar to how Spaces works on macOS.

These are great additions that improve the existing screen real estate management options in Windows 10. During testing, I have to admit that I rarely use Snap Assist or Groups; Instead, I've consistently used the same 50/50 side-by-side view I've been using with Windows 10 for years. But if you're a power user like me, these new tools should make Windows 11 more productive for you.

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Too many to list here, the design of Windows 11 features many small tweaks that, in my opinion, are all fairly minor to get used to after spending a few hours getting to know Windows 11.

For example, there are new, more detailed options for selecting which alerts you see and when, as well as a tiered notification menu that slides in from the right side of the screen. Although you can still get it from the Microsoft Store, Cortana is completely gone.

In many areas of Windows there are also newer, more streamlined context menus, so when you, for example, right-click a file in File Explorer, you'll now see a smaller menu with fewer items topped with icons for usual operations like cut or Rename or share.

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However, if you scratch a little below the surface of Windows 11, you will discover the distinct face of the previous Windows waiting to greet you. For example, these new, shorter context menus generally have a "Show additional options" option at the bottom; If you select it, the context menus appear longer and messier than Windows 10. For new users, integrating historical Windows components into Windows 11 can be quite confusing, but seasoned Windows users may find comfort in the fact that the traditional methods still work (generally). .

Review the redesigned Start menu in Windows 11

You can turn it back to the left now that it's in the middle.

The new design is easier to use and more practical.

Let's focus on the Start button, which has been moved from its long position in the lower left corner of the taskbar and slid over the center, because it's one of the most controversial changes to arrive with Windows 11. The previously moved row of pinned apps near the Start button; All of them are now centered in the taskbar. A small rectangular menu that looks like the Android app drawer appears above it when you hit the start button.

All of the features of the Microsoft Fluent Design language are present in the redesigned Start menu, including rounded corners, centered text, and large, vibrant icons. Plus, it has a prominently visible search bar at the top, which I think is great because one of the quickest ways to navigate Windows is to click the Start button and type in the name of the program, file, or menu you're searching for.

The catch is that the previous Windows Start menus don't say you can do this; You either have to read about it or run into it. There's a clear search bar at the top of the Start menu now, so perhaps more users will find using Windows to be simpler.

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The majority of the Start menu below the search bar is taken up by a scrollable 3" x 18" grid of installed programs. By default, this grid is populated with essential Microsoft tools such as Edge, Excel, Notepad, Word, the Microsoft Store, and of course, Solitaire. The All Apps button in the upper right corner of the menu also opens an alphabetical list of all installed programs and program directories.

The Recommended area appears below the scrollable grid of apps and displays a 2 by 3 grid of apps, files, or folders that Windows thinks you might find useful. As far as I can tell, the algorithm that chooses what appears at that bottom of the Start menu is mainly concerned with what you've used recently, and in my experience the Recommended section mainly shows the most recent apps and files you've been using or downloaded.

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It's a more condensed and streamlined menu that basically improves on the existing Windows 10 menu. The Live Tiles that used to populate the right side of the Win 10 Start Menu are no longer random. The quick links to Settings, Pictures, and Documents are also gone, although you can still quickly access all of them in Windows 11 by typing the necessary phrase while the Start menu is open. The same method used to access the "hidden" Start button context menu on Windows 10 also works on Windows 11: just right-click the Start button to reveal a shortcut menu of useful shortcuts to the Task Manager, a menu Settings, your power options, and more.

That aside, one of the best things about the new Start menu is that after using it for over a month, I haven't seen a single "suggested" Microsoft ad added without my knowledge. This is a welcome improvement over Windows 10, which frequently adds links to ads in the Start menu (in my example, the Bing Weekly News Quiz) unless you manually right-click the ad and instruct Windows to disable all suggestions.

Widgets in Windows 11 review

The widgets offered at launch are boring and useless.

More control over which titles are displayed in the Tools menu is required.

Widgets are one of the important new features that Microsoft is promoting for Windows 11. If you spend a lot of time staring at a mobile phone, the idea of ​​these automatically changing tiles showing information like news headlines, weather, and your calendar shouldn't be foreign to you.

Another similarity between Windows 11 widgets and Windows 8 desktop widgets is that they both live in a hidden drawer that pulls out from the left side of the screen when you click the Widgets button instead of the desktop. Speaking of which, this button is now part of the taskbar, right next to the Start button.

It's a great concept, and maybe in the future I'll start using Windows 11 Widgets in my regular activities. Currently, the gadgets in Windows 11 are relatively limited and easy to overlook. We showed examples of a customizable, expandable, and rearrangeable Widgets panel when Microsoft initially revealed that it would support Windows 11.

But in my experimentation with widgets in the run-up to Windows 11's official release, I've found them to be incredibly rigid: there aren't many of them yet, and I can't change much of what they show me, and as of the time I'm writing this review, I wasn't even able to resize the widgets panel.

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Of course, if Microsoft changed the functionality of Widgets at the time you're reading this, your experience could be very different. However, when I press the widget key in Windows 11 for the first time, a portion slides to the left. Widgets that display information such as the local weather, some current stock prices, and my to-do list are at the top of this pane. By selecting the Tools menu in the upper-right corner, I can move them, change their sizes, get rid of them, or add new ones. However, there are currently only 9 accessible.

The Top Items module is located below the widgets and displays six headlines from important media outlets that I had no say in choosing. I can choose to show more or less stories from those outlets using the three little dot options in each title. An infinitely scrollable list of rectangular tiles, each displaying a title and an image from a curated list of media outlets that I had nothing to do with choosing, is located below this Top Stories module. By clicking on the little "X" icon in the corner of each story, you can delete it. Each story also has a small three-dot menu button that lets you choose to view more or fewer stories from that outlet.

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Your interests, which Microsoft revealed earlier this year as part of Windows 10, are linked to this news feed. When you first install Windows 11, you are prompted to choose a few interests, and it seems that the main way to control what appears in your widgets menu's News Feed is to edit your interests on the My Interests page on the Microsoft website.

Maybe some people will find it useful, but in my opinion the tools and news articles in the tools menu are completely unnecessary and difficult to set up. Since I don't understand why anyone would use Windows 11 Widgets as they are, I hope Microsoft will make some important tweaks to them soon. The Widgets menu looks, at best, way too hard to customize to keep up with news, weather, and sports scores. All of these tasks can be completed with equal ease in a browser or on your phone.

Review new gaming features in Windows 11

If you have an HDR-enabled display, Auto HDR is great.

Similar to DirectStorage, it is useful to have an NVMe SSD that supports it.

Gamers will be interested in two new features in Windows 11: Auto HDR and DirectStorage. Simply put, the former can greatly improve lighting in games, while the latter helps speed up game loading. However, both of them need certain hardware to work.

In DirectX 11/2012 games without HDR lighting, Auto HDR uses machine learning to simulate its effect. If you haven't experienced HDR yourself, it's hard to explain the difference it creates, but in general, the lighting appears better due to the increased contrast between the lightest and darkest areas of the image. On Xbox Series X/S consoles it works great, but it's a little less performant on Windows 10.

Windows 11 has a nice feature that really brings out lighting in games, but in order to use it, you need to have a top-tier monitor that can display HDR content. With HDR-capable monitors and laptop panels still fairly uncommon, it's likely that the majority of Windows users don't currently have monitors that can take advantage of Auto HDR.

DirectStorage, by contrast, is entirely focused on reducing load times by bypassing CPU and game data directly to the graphics card. This should speed up game loading, but in order to take advantage of this feature, you must be using a PC with an NVMe SSD and a DirectX12 Ultimate-enabled GPU while playing a game that uses the DirectStorage API.

As long as your computer is not too old, you should notice faster loading times for games on Windows 11. Fortunately, these two components are very common on new computers these days. Anecdotally, I noticed that Windows 11 loaded games like Forza Horizon 4, Control, and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind very quickly.

Review of native Android apps for Windows 11

Installing native Android apps on Windows 11 is now possible.

One of Windows 11's most interesting features, which eliminated the need for third-party software, was the ability to install and run Android apps natively. Additionally, although the feature was not made available when the OS was first released, if you live in the US, you can now install Android apps on your PC.

Thanks to the partnership between Microsoft and Amazon, you can run Android apps on Windows 11 with apps coming from Amazon's own app store. Since the Amazon Appstore is still in preview, the selection is not very impressive at the moment. However, Windows 11 has you covered if you want to play some Subway Surfers games without having to take out your phone. How to install Android apps on Windows 11 is given below.

Anti-aliasing is now blocked by Windows 11

Previously, Microsoft's plan to block users from using the Edge browser for specific tasks was previewed by Windows 11 Insider users. All Windows 11 users are now receiving the update at build 22000.376.

While changing default browser settings has become easier with Windows 11, some operating system features, such as news and weather widgets, are hard-coded to open in Microsoft Edge via "microsoft-edge:/" connections. This used to be redirected to the browser of your choice by programs like EdgeDeflector, but this security flaw has been patched.

Fortunately, a fix is ​​available via MSEdgeRedirect, which can be downloaded from GitHub here (opens in a new tab). The app "filters and passes command-line arguments for Microsoft Edge operations to your default browser," according to the app's description.

The biggest drawback of this solution is that it requires constant running in the background for it to work. There is a good chance that Microsoft will also prevent this app from working. But for now, this is an option if you don't like Edge.

Windows 11 review: issues

Windows 11 has some documented runtime flaws as well as lacking some touted capabilities, which you should at least be aware of before attempting to update.

For example, VBS (Virtualization Based Security) is activated by default in Windows 11, which is bad news for gaming PCs (at least those built earlier) because VBS consumes resources in a way that can impair game performance.

In addition, Windows 11 cannot now be installed in China because it requires TPM 2.0, and the country currently prohibits the use of TPM chips built elsewhere.

While not a problem in and of itself, Microsoft's constant promotion of its Edge browser in its latest operating system can be annoying.

Updates to Windows 11

A number of significant improvements to the Notepad app (opens in a new tab), which will be available to all users as part of the Windows 11 upgrade, are now available to Windows Insiders. Notepad now includes a dark option, which reverses the usual black writing on a white background for an aesthetically pleasing and perhaps less cumbersome look.

In addition, the text finder and Find and Replace tool have been combined into a single floating bar, and multi-level undo is now supported. As additional Windows 11 updates become available, we'll update this review to reflect them.

A more recent update shows that Microsoft appears to be moving quickly to move Control Panel capabilities to the Windows 11 Settings app.

The Alt + Tab shortcut will be easier to use and boost productivity with the impending Sun Valley 2 update, the first major Windows 11 release of 2022. A small window showing your open windows appears when you press Alt + Tab. The background around the window is now blurred, which is the biggest change since when this first happened. The shortcut still works exactly as before, but the background is much more aesthetically pleasing now.

Verdict on Windows 11 review

With so much Windows 11 still in development ahead of us, it's hard to pass a judgment on it. Native Android app support access was very slow, Widgets didn't have all the functionality available, and during testing, I ran into unpleasant (but not life-threatening) issues with apps like the Snipping Tool and Cortana. By the time many of us receive an offer to upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, I expect Microsoft to have fixed all of these issues.

When you sign into Windows 11 on your new PC, it won't look like the Windows 11 you used in the weeks before it was released, and it won't look like Windows 10 users who upgrade in the future.

However, what is actually here is very good. Windows 11 improves on the positive aspects of Windows 10 without detracting from them significantly, and once you figure out how everything works, using the new operating system rarely becomes more difficult. It's more adaptable, and modern features like Snap Assist and Desktops give you better control over how you divide your time and screen.

With larger touch areas and simpler, rounded menus, Windows 11 is more streamlined and easier to use on a touch screen. Windows 11 looks more like it than ever before to competing operating systems like macOS, Android, and Chrome, and I think that's usually a good thing.

The start button can be dragged back to the bottom left corner by clicking a button in the taskbar settings, so even if you don't like the tweaks, most of them can be safely ignored or changed back to the way you want them. What's more, you can keep using Windows 10 for years if you don't like the way it looks, though Microsoft will eventually want you to update.

However, even though I'm enjoying Windows 11, I don't suggest upgrading unless you're really excited about the new features and redesigned interface. There is simply no good reason for this, and you would be better off giving Microsoft some time to fix some bugs and expand functionality.

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