Released in 2021, Windows 11 is the latest in a long line of Windows operating systems, spanning all the way back to the 1980s. This newest iteration builds on decades of experience, and adds host of new features, changes and capabilities that reflect the evolution of the workplace in recent years.
While Windows 11 marked its second birthday at the beginning of October, adoption of the operating system has, thus far, been slow. Around 2 thirds of businesses still to make the switch from Windows 10. As a result, the changes and new features that Windows 11 ushers in are still something or an unknown to many businesses.
With the end of support for Windows 10 fast approaching, now is a good time to acquaint yourself with the changes that Windows 11 introduces, so that you know what’s to come before adopting the new system. Here are 6 changes to the Windows experience that you can expect with Windows 11.
A Clean and Simplified new Look
Windows 11 brings a refreshed design aesthetic, with a minimalist look that appears modern and sharp. A minimalist ethos can be found across the design, and in there is even some evidence of Apple inspiration in elements like the pared back taskbar. Buttons and window edges appear softer, muted pastel shades dominate the colour scheme, and Microsoft claims that icons, fonts and sounds have been specially selected to deliver a feeling of ‘calm and ease.’
Gone are the frustrating tiles introduced in Windows 8, with a return to the taskbar and start menu arrangement. Furthermore, multiple applications can now be supported more seamlessly thanks to the new widget feed, and the snap layout feature.
Microsoft’s stated design aims for Windows 11 were to create an environment that fosters ‘productivity, creativity and ease.’ With the clean lines of the fresh new look, we think they’ve definitely achieved this goal.
Microsoft Teams is Positioned Front and Centre
The building of Windows 11 was being wrapped up during the Covid-19 pandemic. The addition of Microsoft Teams clearly reflects this, as the popular communication platform became a vital tool as millions of businesses across the world embraced the remote work revolution.
The Teams icon has been situated at the centre of the taskbar, promoting the app as the go-to communication tool for Windows 11 users. Labelled ‘chat with Microsoft Teams,’ this feature allows you to launch chats, send SMS messages, and start video/audio meetings with anyone in your address book, in as little as a couple of clicks!
Widgets are Displayed Differently
If you have a smartphone, you’ll have encountered widgets. They’re those miniaturised applications on your homepage that allow you to access certain app functionality without having to fully launch the application in question. Widgets are actually far from a new feature in Windows, and first appeared all the way back in 2007 upon the release of Windows Vista.
What is new, is how these mini applications are displayed in Windows 11. Previously, widgets could be accessed and opened in isolation, but they weren’t housed in a consolidated location for easy, at-a-glance viewing. Accessible through the taskbar, widgets have now been assigned a dedicated panel, complete with AI that tailors the widgets to user preferences. Customisability allows users to reconfigure this panel at will, with the ability to add and remove widgets according to individual user preferences, and alter their size to aid legibility.
Android Apps Come to the Microsoft Store
Windows 11 marks a breakthrough with support for Android Apps, a first for Windows OS, made possible through partnerships with Amazon and Intel's 'Intel Bridge' technology. The integration of Microsoft Store and Amazon Appstore enables users to find and use Android apps on their desktop for the first time.
Additionally, the enhanced Microsoft Store provides access to a diverse selection of security-verified applications, web content, games, movies, and various other offerings, all easily reachable via a user-friendly interface.
A Smoother, More Comfortable Touchscreen Experience
Touchscreens are more common in the workplace than ever, so Windows 11 introduces a raft of enhancements that seek to provide a more seamless and less clunky touchscreen experience. Taskbar icons have been positioned further apart to aid tablet users, ‘touch targets’ have been enlarged to make it easier to resize and configure Windows, and enhanced gesture controls support a slicker journey when navigating across windows, menus, and virtual desktops.
The Arrival of ‘Snap Layouts’
Windows has always trounced MacOS when it comes to the ability to size, arrange and configure application windows. In Windows 11, windows become even more configurable, thanks to a new, innovative and highly intuitive feature: snap layouts.
To activate a snap layout, position your cursor (only actionable when using a mouse) over the ‘maximise’ button in the top corner of a window. This presents a number of options for displaying multiple application windows, which users can configure as their needs require. Once a layout has been generated, it’s then saved for future reuse, launchable through the taskbar as a ‘saved group.’ This ingenious feature allows users to suspend a task for a while, and then return to it at a future date to find the apps arranged as they had been left.
Just 2 years after its launch, Windows 11 is proving itself a worthy successor to the popular Windows 10, with a raft of new features, capabilities and design changes that recognise emerging workplace trends and behaviours. Some features represent invaluable productivity aids, while interface improvements deliver smoother and less cumbersome user ergonomics. Productivity, creativity, and ease-of-use are the key tenets of the new OS, and it’s safe to say that Windows 11 delivers on all three fronts.
In addition to the changes delivered since the launch of Windows 11, users can expect more exciting developments and new features in the years ahead. Windows 10 users, however, will have to make do with their system’s current set of features, as the OS enters its final years of support.
Considering making the transition to Windows 11? AsiaCloud can coordinate your migration to this innovative operating system, ensuring a stress-free, methodical process from beginning to end. Get in touch today, we’d love to hear from you, and help you on your path to secure, supported and futureproof IT with Windows 11.