SINGAPORE (HARDWAREZONE) – Microsoft lifted the veil on Windows 11 last week, saying that this comes at a time when the personal computer is more important than ever before.
This is especially so since PC sales have soared during the pandemic due to working and studying from home, as well as a rise in PC gaming.
The American software giant is also planning to stop support for the current Windows 10 on Oct 14, 2025.
Microsoft said it wanted Windows 11 to feel fresh, clean and beautiful but still familiar. So there will soon be rounded corners for apps in Windows 11 and other design changes reminiscent of those from Apple. There are also new colours, themes, transitions and dark mode.
Here are some of the new features of Microsoft’s latest version of the Windows computer operating system.
Windows 11 seems more user-friendly to use in tablet mode.
Remove the keyboard from a tablet and the operating system (OS) automatically creates more space between the icons in the taskbar, adds bigger touch targets, and makes resizing and moving windows easier, as well as adding the same gestures used on touchpads.
Windows 11 will also support haptic feedback for stylus pens when you use them to write, edit or draw.
New start button
The Start button has been moved from the bottom left to the bottom centre of the screen. Taskbar icons have been moved to the bottom centre too.
These changes are supposed to make it easier to find what you need.
But, at least for now, the taskbar will be fixed at the bottom centre and cannot be moved, unlike in previous iterations of Windows.
The Start button will also be able to show recent files you have worked on, even if they were on an Android or iOS mobile device.
Opening multiple windows will be neater with Snap Layouts and Snap Groups in Windows 11.
Snap Layouts will offer several ways you can quickly position different applications side by side.
Windows 11 can also remember which apps you “snapped” together in this way with its Snap Groups feature for easy multitasking later.
A new Desktops feature allows you to set up different “home screens” to group apps of related functions together, such as for work, school or gaming.
With Windows 11, Microsoft is integrating Chat from its Microsoft Teams chat and videoconferencing software into the taskbar.
With this, you can connect through text, chat, voice or video call with all of your contacts across Windows, Android or iOS. If the person you are connecting to on the other end has not downloaded the Teams app, you can still connect with them via two-way SMS.
While widgets are currently available in Windows 10, they have been redesigned with an updated experience for Windows 11.
Widgets are a collection of apps for news, weather information, your appointments and more, and in Windows 11, they can be accessed through a slide-out screen.
Microsoft said they are powered by artificial intelligence and its Edge Web browser to give users a personalised feed.
Gaming is set to improve with Microsoft building a series of improvements in Windows 11 to enhance the gaming experience. Better colours and contrast will be coming with AutoHDR.
DirectStorage from Xbox is also coming to Windows 11 so games load faster. Microsoft’s game subscription service Game Pass will be built into Windows 11 through the Xbox app so gamers will have hundreds of titles at their fingertips, ready to play.
Revamped store, android apps
The Microsoft Store in Windows 11 has been redesigned to make it faster to find what you need, the company said. For one thing, it looks neater and less cluttered.
In a surprise move, Microsoft added that Android apps are coming to Windows 11, with help from Intel and Amazon. Users can search for the apps they want and install them from the Microsoft Store through the Amazon Appstore.
Android apps will also work in Windows 11 on AMD machines, not just Intel-powered ones.
Microsoft is also working to attract more developers by announcing a progressive change to the revenue share policies where app developers can keep 100 per cent of the revenue.
No firm release date
While there is still no definitive release date, Microsoft said that Windows 11 would be released by the holidays at the end of this year.
Windows 11 will be available as a free upgrade for eligible Windows 10 PCs and pre-installed on new PCs.
People in the Windows Insider programme, however, will be receiving access to various beta builds starting this week.