The new Start Menu is only the beginning...
As you learned in our last email, Windows 11 is coming later this year (if you missed that email you can read it here). While you could have watched Microsoft's cringe-worthy 45 minute presentation, we've shortened that down to 11 new features (in no particular order) that stood out to us.
The new Start Menu
As you can see in the image above, the Start Menu has changed quite a bit. The most obvious change is the location of the Start button/menu. Instead of living at the bottom left of your screen it and the taskbar icons are now centered. However, there is no need to panic! Microsoft has a new setting that will allow you to move the Start button, menu, and taskbar buttons back to the left (where they belong 😉). The Start Menu will now focus on recently used files and your frequently used apps that you can pin to the top half of the Start Menu. There is still an 'All Apps' list, but the focus of the Start Menu has definitely moved away from being a list of all of the apps on your computer. Of course, the easiest way to find an app is still to do a search, and this feature is still front and center on the new Start Menu.
Snap Layouts & Groups
One of the new Windows 11 features that has us most excited at StarNet is Snap Layouts & Groups. Being able to 'snap' a window to fill the left or right of the screen by dragging it to the left or right edge was a feature in Windows 10 - but with Windows 11 they have taken this to a whole new level. As you can see in the image above, when you hover your mouse cursor the over the maximize button, you now have many more choices on where you can automatically 'snap' that window to on your screen. For laptop users who dock and undock frequently Windows will also 'remember' the layout of your currently open Windows on your external display when you undock, and redock later.
As crazy as it sounds Android apps will now be available natively on Windows 11! The Android apps will actually be served via the Amazon Appstore, so the selection will be limited to the apps Amazon has, however with nearly 500,000 apps currently available in the Amazon Appstore there is bound to be something for everyone.
Windows 11 will now include Widgets - but this is a much different implementation than the 'gadgets' from back in the Windows Vista days. Widgets is an AI-powered customizable feed as seen in the image above. On touch powered devices you can swipe from the left to see it, and on standard laptops and PCs you can click on the new widgets button located on the taskbar.
With the past year of so many people working from home Microsoft has decided to integrate Teams right into Windows. In Windows 11 you will no longer have to download a separate app, there will be an icon right in the taskbar - and the entire app will be getting a facelift as well.
New Action Center
The action center also has a whole new look. It seems to look a lot more like what we've seen on mobile operating systems like Android and iOS for years.
Gamers will be excited to learn that Microsoft is bringing their "auto HDR" feature from the XBOX to games in Windows 11. This will be available to games built on DirectX 11 or higher, and Microsoft states over 1000 games will support auto HDR.
All new Microsoft Store
In addition to the Microsoft Store now getting Android apps, the entire store is getting a refresh and will have more content than ever. The biggest reason for this that while previously Microsoft only allowed its Universal Windows Apps on the store, they will now also allow any traditional desktop apps as well. Already some of the popular well-known apps like Zoom and WinRAR have started showing up in the new store - and with Microsoft also allowing developers to keep 100% of app revenue on non-game apps we except to see the Microsoft Store finally be a useful place to find & download apps & content.
While it is possible to have multiple 'virtual desktops' (or workspaces) in Windows 10, the entire feature is getting a big revamp. The most notable improvements are in the area of personalization. You will now be able to personalize each virtual desktop with things like it's own wallpaper. This will make it easier and more intuitive to quickly switch between desktops and keep track of which one you are on. For example, you could have one setup for personal use, and one for business.
Microsoft is finally giving tablet mode in Windows some much needed love. When Windows detects that you have switched a two-in-one device to a tablet form factor it will now automatically space things like icons on the taskbar slightly further apart to give the user bigger touch targets. When the tablet is in vertical mode windows that were side-by-side will automatically switch to vertical stacks. Additionally, tablet mode will now get haptic feedback and a new touch keyboard with support for swipe typing and emojis 😎
BSOD changes to BSOD
Beginning with Windows 1.0 all the way back in 1985, the BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) has been...well....blue. In Windows 11 it will now be a Black Screen of Death. Will you love this feature? Probably not. This also likely indicates that as with past versions, Windows 11 will not be perfect. The good news is that StarNet Technologies will still just be a phone call or email away...