Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 11, promises to bring a host of new features and improvements. While there are certainly some exciting things to look forward to, there are also some drawbacks to consider. We'll take a closer look at 5 of the best things about Windows 11, as well as 5 things that might give you pause. Whether you're a long-time Windows user or just curious about the new OS, this post will give you a good idea of what to expect.
Number 1: Overall Look - Windows 11 looks quite clean and crisp, and includes the taskbar and Start menu in the middle of the screen. The Start menu can also be customized with the icons you use the most which allows you to quickly access the apps you use most frequently. To me, Windows 10 menu was quite busy, where as Windows 11 is simplified and easy to look at. It also clearly shows you the last few documents you have worked on underneath all your pinned apps, which makes it easy to open documents that you use on a regular basis.
Number 2: Speed! Windows 11 is considerably faster, updates are 40% smaller and they download in the background without affecting your productivity. Windows 10 was pretty good at this as well, but Windows 11 is even better.
Number 3: Snap layouts – Windows 11 allows you to setup up to 4 different apps in the same window so that you see all of them at the same time. Just hover over the maximize button on any window, and the Snap Assist will kick into gear by showing you layout choices to choose from. Once you click on the option you want, you can select the rest of the windows to fill out the rest of the layout. This feature is great for multitasking or if you are copying and pasting from document to document. However, this requires a large monitor. The larger the monitor the better you will like this feature.
Number 4: File explorer - right click menu context is clean and easy to use. The icons on the top make it easier to do the most common commands, copy, cut, paste, rename, share
The overall look of File Explorer in Windows 11 is simplified and more attractive.
Number 5: Multiple Desktops with different backgrounds - although this feature is available in Windows 10, Windows 11 added the ability to change the background in the different desktops. This is great if you are using desktops to differentiate between for example personal and work desktops. Windows Key+Tab will allow you to add a desktop and Windows Key-Ctrl-Right Arrow and Windows Key-Ctrl-Left Arrow to go between desktops.
Number 1: Task Manager - where did it go? When I first started writing this blog, the task manager was not available when right clicking on the taskbar. It just was not there. As of January 20th, Task Manager has come back! I guess enough people complained that Microsoft brought Task Manager back, and rightfully so! It makes it much easier to access task manager this way. I’m glad Microsoft listened to the feedback of its users on this one!
Number 2: File explorer right click menu context - Windows 11 right click context is completely different from Windows 10. If you don’t like this change and want to see the old menu context, you can get to the old context by selecting Show More Options at the bottom of the menu options which adds an extra click or two to your daily processes. There is a way to change Windows 11 to use the old context menu but it involves making changes to your registry, which as a user, is never a comfortable feeling. However, luckily Ctrl-C for copy and Ctrl-V for Paste still work as before.
Number 3: Display Settings – one of the more used system settings one can use especially with a laptop and external monitors, is the display setting. In windows 11, the display setting may seem a bit foreign. Access is as it was previously, right click anywhere on the blank desktop and go to properties, or type display in the search bar, but that’s where the similarities end. Windows 10 takes you right to personalization where as Windows 11 takes you to the System Display settings. I don’t particularly like the way Windows 11 shows things, I find it too busy, but it does the job. It will take some getting used to, especially if you use it a lot.
Number 4: Upgrade process is cumbersome, as many of the computers out there are not compatible… For example, when I went to upgrade my surface, the Windows update process told me that my surface ( 1 year old) didn't have the proper requirements. However, I ended up reinstalling Windows from scratch which allowed me to install Windows 11 with no issues. There is a hack to setup Windows 11 on whatever machine you want, but you will have to work for it. Even after the installation, you might not be able to do the necessary updates going forward. This is a pain for the average user.
Number 5: The last and probably most important feature I found very disappointing in windows 11 is that it is not backwards compatible with a lot of older software or hardware. Some of us like to hang on to that one piece of software that does just the thing for us in this certain instance, and it is a specific program that was used many moons ago, but we can’t live without it. In this case, you will probably not be able to run it on Windows 11. Same goes for any older hardware.
Windows 11 is clean, fresh and user friendly. Overall, the transition from Windows 10 to Windows 11 was relatively easy, and the newest features and add-ins appear to result in a net positive. Most features resemble Windows 10 and those that have been changed are clearer and easier to use/understand.
Conclusion - Is it worth the upgrade?
As an IT professional you might expect me to say "Yes! Totally worth it!" and in this case you would be right! Windows 11 is truly a solid upgrade from Windows 10. The biggest thing that you will have to address is getting used to the new look – which I found very easy to do…even if it took some time to get used to the Start menu being in the middle of the screen… we are such creatures of habit!