Tomorrow, Microsoft will officially unveil Windows 11, the next sequel to their operating system that supports most computers in use today. Windows 10 has an installation base of over a billion devices, and Windows 11 originates in a much different place than its predecessor. After so much malicious Windows 8, there was a sense of urgency and necessity that introduced Windows 10 to the world. Windows 11, on the other hand, is coming to a market where most people are happy with Windows 10. So the question arises: Why now?
When Windows 10 started, it was said to be the final version of Windows, and future updates would be an add-on to Windows 10, not a new version number. But that was six years ago and times have changed, as has the management and ownership of the Windows development team at Microsoft. For better or worse, the company felt that now was a good time to take a clean break again, with all the hostility and anxiety that would provoke a good portion of their customers, especially businesses that may still be in the process of migrating to Windows 10.
The question is why now? What’s new? Why is Microsoft choosing this moment to move from the highly successful Windows 10 and implement a second upgrade cycle? You can answer some of these questions, but others will take time.
Updated user interface
The immediate change that everyone will notice is that Microsoft has completely revamped the user interface for Windows 11. Apparently they are tired of their obsession with flat, sharp interfaces and have moved on to a much more colorful and expressive theme.
There are also major changes to the Start menu and taskbar. The Start menu rejected the idea of live tiles. While a good idea on the now-defunct Windows Phone platform, live tiles never worked well on your desktop and could make it harder to find the app you were looking for because the icon would change. Instead, the Start menu returns to the basic application icons, but now with the Start menu, by default, centered in the middle of the screen.
Live tiles have been replaced by Widgets and can be accessed via the Widget icon on the taskbar. Currently, the choice of widgets is Microsoft only and it will be interesting to see if this expands over time.
Now Tablet Mode is gone too, so if you loved using Windows 10 in its customized touch mode, you’ll probably be disappointed.
The taskbar also moves from the left-aligned layout to the centered one, and when multiple apps open, the icons already on the taskbar will move to the left to make things centered. Applications can also no longer customize taskbar areas.
The taskbar also can no longer be moved from the bottom of the screen if you are someone who liked to drag to one of the other sides of the screen, which is likely to disappoint many people. When your user base exceeds one billion, even if only 1% of users have used the feature, it is still 10 million people who have used that feature.
All in all, the new user interface is clean, colorful and breathes new life into what has become a bit stale in Windows 10. Functionally, it does not differ drastically from Windows 10, although it moves the Start menu from the lower left corner where it has been since is Windows for the first time Windows is a bold change. The loss of Live Tiles seems like a reduction in functionality, but it makes the interface more consistent and easier to access the apps you’re looking for, and widgets hope to fill a weakness. But there is a surprising amount of customization and features that are omitted.
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