I've written quite a few blogs this year about Windows 11 and whether you should move to it. I tend to get bogged down in logistical concerns - have the usual transitory bugs been worked out? Can my computer support it? And what are the time frames for Microsoft's continued support for Windows 10? But what about the actual functional differences between the two operating systems? How will Windows 11 change your daily experience of using your computer?
Taskbar & Start Menu
The most obvious difference between Windows 10 and 11 is the Taskbar. You'll be used to seeing the Start Menu and open apps appear on the bottom left, these are now in the centre. The Start Menu icon is slightly different but sufficiently recognisable (still Windows, just square again). When you click on the Start Menu it will open right in the middle of the screen rather than to the left as it was in Windows 10. The Power Button will appear at the bottom right of the Start Menu Window, where you'll find the usual options to Shut Down, Restart, and Update etc.
Initial Set Up
If you've purchased a brand new Windows 11 computer you'll go through a brand new set up process. It looks quite different to Windows 10, but it does essentially the same things and it's fairly easy to negotiate, especially if you have a Microsoft Account. Microsoft have become rather insistent about people using Microsoft Accounts but if you don't want to have one or don't want to attach your new computer to one, there is currently a workaround. If you'd like some assistance with this contact us.
Teams & Widgets
In Windows 11 you'll find Teams and Widgets right there on the taskbar. Until now Teams has been part of the Microsoft 365 suite of applications and only available to subscribers, but now a version of it will be built in to Windows 11. This provides Windows 11 with a built in chat function which can compete with the likes of Zoom. You'll also get a more comprehensive version if you subscribe to Microsoft 365 which means many people will have two versions of Teams on their computer. Widgets is also on the taskbar, look for two vertical boxes, one white and one blue. Widgets are helpful little tools that are customisable to your interests; things like weather, stocks, traffic, entertainment, calendar, photos etc. The widgets menu pops up to the left of your screen where the Start Menu used to appear in Windows 10 and you can play around with them quite a bit to easily access what is most useful to you.
In Windows 11 you can download the Andriod Apps available on Android phones onto your computer, in the same way that Apple Apps are available for both iPhones and Macs. This could be quite a step forward for Android phone users in terms of continuity and synchronisation. To download Andriod Apps onto your Windows 11 computer, go the Microsoft Store.
This is not entirely a new feature, though it is a bit different in Windows 11 than it was in Windows 10 (for example W11 does away with the timeline). In both cases you can create more than one desktop to simplify the multiple ways in which you use your computer. So for example you could have a work desktop and a home desktop, and the shortcuts and settings could be personalised to each to avoid irrelavent stuff cluttering up your desktop space. Look for the white and grey overlapping boxes icon on your taskbar to set up a second or third desktop.
Snap Groups & Snap Layouts
These seem to fulfill the same kind of purpose as the virtual desktops - they allow you to organise your applications into groups and even lay them out together in a customisable grid to work with them in ways that suit you. Perhaps you do this already with multiple screens; I know I do. I often need to access two or three applications at once to achieve a task. For example I might recieve an email attachment in Outlook, open the PDF in Adobe, then enter the details into MYOB. A snap group of these three apps with a customisable layout would be very helpful here, espcially if I was working with single screen.