Windows 11, announced in the middle of the year, caused quite a stir on the Web, but at the same time caused misunderstanding among many users of the software giant’s software. They reasonably asked the question: why release another OS, and even in such a hurry, when there is a time-tested and widely demanded “dozen” on the market?
Updated system requirements
Commentary: The system requirements are far-fetched rather than justified.
Microsoft has revised system requirements with the announcement of Windows 11the new OS and seriously tightened the screws in relation to not the most modern devices, which caused a lot of indignation in the user environment. If previous versions of Windows, albeit with a loss in performance, could be deployed on almost any machine, now, among other things, to install the system, the computer must have a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 cryptographic module, and the motherboard must have UEFI support and the Secure Boot System Secure Boot. According to Microsoft, these hardware components cannot be dispensed with, as they are required to ensure maximum platform security, as well as compatibility with modern encryption and authentication tools. All this would look like the truth, if not for one small, but important detail: using a simple trick With Windows 11 Registry Editing, the restrictions can be easily bypassed. This means that there are no hard bindings to TPM, UEFI and Secure Boot – the system works fine on old hardware. Why and for what purpose Microsoft decided to create problems for users out of the blue is absolutely incomprehensible.
Updated platform installer
In preparing Windows 11 for release, Microsoft programmers reworked many OS components, including the platform installer – it received a new look and a number of additional features. Now, during the installation process, you can add a second keyboard layout, set up your account and privacy settings, check for available updates, enable file backups to the OneDrive cloud storage, and specify the scope of your computer (entertainment and games, business, education, creativity, etc.) to create a suitable user profile. The option to restore Windows 11 settings from backups previously synced to OneDrive is also available. All this allows you to configure the system at the stage of OS installation and get a ready-to-use working environment.
Mandatory linking to a Microsoft account
With the release of Windows 11, Microsoft has removed from the OS editions for home users the ability to create a local account – from now on, it is mandatory to use an existing Microsoft Account Identity (MSA) or register a new one. As a consequence, an Internet connection is now required to install and complete the system setup. It is clear that in this way the software giant seeks to involve as many users as possible into the ecosystem of its services, but leaving them without a choice is not the best solution in our opinion.
Rounded application windows and OS interface elements
The most ambitious changes in Windows 11 have undergone the system’s user interface, in the style of which rounded shapes with the so-called “floating” layout of design elements began to prevail. It looks fresh and impressive, but there is no innovation in this: we could observe the same rounded corners of application windows twenty years ago in Windows XP.
Updated notification center
The Windows 11 developers got their hands on the notification bar. If in the top ten it was made in the form of a monolithic panel moving out and overlapping a good part of the desktop, then in the eleventh version of the platform this element is combined with the calendar and presented in the format of disparate information blocks, which can be collapsed if necessary to save screen space. To set up notifications, there is a corresponding menu in the OS parameters and the “Focusing” module, which allows you to set a priority list and various rules for displayed messages.
The most notable change in Windows 11 is the centered application icons in the taskbar. The panel itself is docked at the bottom of the screen, and cannot be placed on the side or top of the screen. Also, you cannot resize icons, disable window grouping, and drag program shortcuts to the panel. Moreover, the panel does not have the usual context menu for quickly calling up the task manager (to access this menu you now have to right-click on the “Start” button with the Windows logo), and the function of dragging files into running applications through the taskbar simply does not work … The list of disadvantages is huge. It’s good at least that they left the ability to align icons to the left and return to the traditional taskbar option.
New Start Menu
It has become a tradition for Microsoft to redesign the Start menu with every release of new versions of Windows. It would seem that it’s time to feel sorry for the users, stop and stop experimenting – but no! In Windows 11, they removed live tiles from the Start menu (very convenient, by the way), replaced them with static icons, added a search field, and hid the usual list of installed software in the system behind the All Applications button. The company explained the abandonment of dynamic elements and the tiled Modern UI by the appearance of support for widgets (we will talk about them below). So-so argument, to be honest.
Grouping application windows on the desktop
With the new Snap Layouts and Snap Group features in Windows 11, you can conveniently arrange application windows and optimize screen real estate. To do this, in the title bar of the window, move the mouse cursor over the “Expand” button and hold it for a second – as a result, a menu with available layouts of program layouts on the desktop will be displayed. In this way, you can divide the screen into several areas and use each of them to arrange windows so that they are always in sight. In this case, the size of the areas can be adjusted, thereby switching the focus of attention from one program to another.
New Windows 11 Explorer context menus
Positive changes have affected the context menus of Windows Explorer 11. Now only key commands are displayed in them, and the most frequently used functions (“Cut”, “Paste”, “Copy”, “Rename”, “Delete” and so on) have been moved to a separate mini -panel pinned to the context menu. To access the full list of commands, the item “Show advanced parameters” is provided, when selected, the classic context menu opens.
Windows 11 returned with widgets – miniature applications that display various information relevant to the user, whether it be weather information, world events, financial news, or something else. We have already seen something similar in Windows Vista / 7. Now, Microsoft has redefined the concept of widgets and implemented them as a personalized ribbon that automatically adjusts to the interests of the PC owner. The MSN.com portal acts as a source of content, and the Microsoft Start service linked to the user’s account is used to set up information cards . There are no third-party widgets in Windows 11, although the company previously announced its intention to open the corresponding API to developers. In the meantime, the range of available gadgets is extremely small.
Updated Microsoft Store
While working on the new system, Microsoft made significant changes to the app store, making it more open and attractive to third-party developers. The company allowed to place any software in the Microsoft Store, be it classic products for Windows, progressive web apps (Progressive Web App, PWA) or universal programs Universal Windows App (UWP), opened its site for alternative markets, gave the go-ahead for the placement of third-party web -browsers with their own engines, and also canceled the commission charged from software manufacturers. Such dramatic changes deserve a positive assessment and put the Microsoft Store one step above the competition.
Advanced features for gamers
New opportunities for gaming entertainment are a serious trump card for Windows 11 in the struggle for user audiences. For avid gamers, Microsoft has added support for DirectX 12 Ultimate and Auto HDR technology, which enables High Dynamic Range in games that do not natively support it. Another feature of the OS is support for the DirectStorage function, which allows you to use the resources of high-speed NVMe SSDs to accelerate game loading and reduce processor load. In addition, with a Game Pass subscription, Windows 11 users have access to over 100 games of different genres.
Improved OS performance
Another pride of the developers of Windows 11 is the increased speed and responsiveness of the OS. This was achieved through improvements.system components of the platform. In particular, Microsoft specialists have improved the resource management subsystem (it has new priority levels for active and background processes), optimized calls to hardware components and interaction with memory, revised algorithms for processing key data streams, and also implemented new compression methods that reduced the total time the use of the drive by the operating system. According to the assurances of the company representatives, the listed changes provided, albeit insignificant, but still an increase in the performance and autonomy of devices running the new OS. And there is some truth in these statements: in our case, for example, Windows 11 was perfectly registered on a 10-year-old Sony VAIO VPC-Y11M1R / S laptop (1.3 GHz Intel SU4100 processor, 8 GB of RAM, SSD,
Integration with communication service Teams
With the spread of coronavirus infection and the forced isolation of people, the demand for communication solutions has sharply increased, both in the business environment and among ordinary users. Microsoft decided not to miss this opportunity and integrated its proprietary Teams tool into Windows 11, which allows you to communicate with other users using text chats, voice messages and video calls. The idea is good, but whether the company will be able to connect the audience, entwined with numerous contacts in WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber and other popular instant messengers, to the outlandish for many and similar in functionality Teams service is a big question. What prevented the solution of this task from using the Skype service available in the arsenal of Microsoft, which is also widespread, is still actively developing and is being improved by the company? A strange tactical move, but the management of the corporation knows better.
Application startup monitoring
When installing, some applications like to register their executable files in the list of programs that are automatically launched at computer startup. Windows 11 is able to track such interventions in the operating system settings and warns the user about this. A very useful feature. True, for some reason it is disabled by default, and to activate it, you must go to the notification settings menu. We advise you not to postpone the matter indefinitely and enable monitoring of software autorun at the earliest opportunity – it will come in handy.
Focus Session for focusing on different tasks
Interesting, but rather dubious from a practical point of view, is the Focus Session function, which is present in the Clock application that comes with Windows 11. It allows the user to select a task from the Microsoft To Do service, set the amount of time needed to complete it, start a Spotify playlist, and activate a countdown timer. According to the developers, this approach allows you to concentrate on completing the task, controlling the remaining time, upcoming breaks and other processes. The idea is that the user can easily organize a time period during which he will focus on performing any tasks. It sounds interesting, but in fact, the function is unlikely to be in demand among users.
A dozen and a half other innovations and changes
Many other functions, innovations and technical improvements have been implemented in the Windows 11 operating system . Among them, the following changes deserve mention:
- the presence of a night mode of the display, which reduces the strain on the eyes when working at a computer in dim lighting conditions;
- advanced power management tools that provide detailed information about battery consumption and battery usage by individual programs;
- updated on-screen keyboard with advanced personalization settings;
- improved handwriting features, new touch gestures and voice commands;
- comfortable interaction with devices with touch screens: when the keyboard is disconnected from the tablet with a touch screen, the system automatically arranges icons and controls farther from each other;
- when using voice input tools, the OS now independently places punctuation marks;
- the ability to set different background images on virtual desktops;
- redesigned interface with software platform settings;
- extended support for multi-monitor configurations (the system can remember the location of windows on external displays and automatically restore the working environment when the monitors are reconnected);
- function of “smart” adjustment of the screen refresh rate Dynamic Refresh Rate, which automatically adjusts the refresh rate of the display depending on the current work processes of the user;
- the updated interface of the explorer, which received a different design of the file management menu;
- revised Windows Update Center, which consumes less traffic when downloading updates;
- support for the Wi-Fi 6E standard (if compatible equipment is available), as well as the DNS over HTTPS protocol, which encrypts DNS requests in order to increase user privacy when working with global network resources;
- an updated set of applications supplied with the Windows 11 distribution (in particular, Internet Explorer, 3D Viewer, OneNote for Windows 10, Paint 3D and Skype were removed, but other software was added).
Let’s summarize. Since the announcement of the updated platform, Microsoft has tried to stuff the OS with new functions to the maximum in a short time, so that users do not get the impression that Windows 11 is the same “ten”, only in profile. Has the company succeeded in achieving its goal?
On the one hand, the product really produces a novelty effect. New design solutions in the system interface, a different color scheme of the desktop, other system icons and visual effects, as well as the enhanced capabilities of Windows 11 play a role in this. to the details. This is evidenced by the stripped-down features of the new taskbar and widgets, the ambiguous Start menu and the lack of support for Android applications, which Microsoft announced with fanfare during the platform presentation, but never implemented. The release of Windows 11 was clearly in a hurry, but why?
Windows 11 has a long way to go. There is every reason to believe that in the coming months the system will receive many unscheduled major updates with bug fixes and additions of functions that the company did not manage to implement in a hurry. And when Microsoft begins to frequent with software releases, the quality of its products invariably drops – we are all familiar with all this from the example of Windows 10 with its problematic updates that have become regular. And this is the main problem. We can only hope that it will bypass the users of the Windows 11 operating system, and that the situation in the development of software by the Redmond corporation will improve.
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