Microsoft has just recently launched Windows 11. Here are seven things to know about their latest operating system.
1. How to get Windows 11
You can purchase a new PC pre-installed with Windows 11 from JB Hi-Fi. There will be plenty of devices, form factors and silicon rolling out with the new Windows by later this year.
Additionally, most Windows 10 PCs currently being sold will be able to upgrade for free to the new Windows 11. Shop for a Windows 10 PC with “Free upgrade to Windows 11” on the device and you’ll be right.
The staggered free roll out across compatible PCs is expected to take till 2022.
If you already have a PC running Windows 10 you can check if your PC meets requirements by visiting https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/get-windows-11 and downloading the PC Health Check app.
Microsoft is making the free migration to Windows 11 super easy. If running Windows 10, another way to check for compatibility for your PC is to look for notification under Settings > Update & Security. You should be greeted with a tick of approval if your PC can run Windows 11.
2. User experience is front and centre
The striking design upgrade is apparent from the new Start Menu. A deliberate thematic change is to place the user experience at screen centre, with quick, intuitive access to the content and apps that are important.
You can see recent files you’ve been working on and your important apps. In addition, with the new centralised search, you can now search across your computer and the internet right inside the Start menu, making for a quicker and more thorough experience.
Overall, Windows 11 Start menu is much improved from Windows 10, where navigation and access was concentrated on the lower left of the taskbar.
3. AI powered Widgets
Widgets in Windows 11 is the new iteration of Interests in Windows 10, which in turn were the mini applications known as Desktop Gadgets in Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Widgets is much more powerful however, and you can personalise them to provide a feed that matches your interests. It’s AI enhanced to give you up-to-date information. Whether it’s glancing at your day through Outlook calendar and To-Do list integrations, catching up on the latest headlines or tomorrow’s weather forecast, or viewing your favourite OneDrive photo memories. Widgets is accessible and customisable via the taskbar.
4. Chat gets personal
A central focus of Windows 11 is communication on a personal level. Many of us on PC already use Microsoft Teams. With Windows 11, you can start using Chat from Microsoft Teams on the PC. It is a signature, lightweight experience brought right to the taskbar to let Teams personal account users quickly start a video call or chat with friends and family. This is regardless of the device or platform they’re on – Windows, Mac, Android or iOS. Plus, you can open the full Microsoft Teams experience directly from Chat to bring your plans to life with event scheduling, quick polls, file sharing and more.
5. Microsoft Store with more
The Microsoft Store on Windows not only brings you more apps than ever before; it’s also making it easier to search and discover new content with curated stories and collections. In addition, a new pop-up store can help if you’re installing apps directly from a website, too. When you click the new “Get it from Microsoft” badge on a web page, an unobtrusive “mini” version of the store pops up to help with the installation, so you know that you’re installing software from a trusted service. In addition, Microsoft are planning to bring Android apps to its store so you can TikTok from your PC. This Android compatibility will be rolled out in the near future.
6. Multitasking made easy
We all know too well the mess that can happen when working with multiple applications and documents open. Windows 11 has handy new features to sort out the mess. With Snap Layout you’re just one click away from an optimised screen layout that’s also visually clean. Snap Layout can be accessed as a dropdown when selecting the Maximize icon. There are different configurations to choose from, depending on your workflow.
Desktops lets you create individual desktops for different sets of apps which you can customise by name and wallpaper. Going from work to play has never been easier than on Windows 11. If you have a touchscreen you can swipe four fingers left or right to change desktops.
7. Gestures for touchscreen devices
Gestures, like zooming in or out, were available for touchpad on Windows 10. With Windows 11 gestures come to touchscreen. These include actions to switch desktops, access widgets, open notification centre, show all open windows and much more. Once you get familiar with them on your touchscreen device, you’ll be navigating like a ninja!
In addition, the touchscreen experience has been improved with bigger touch targets and subtle visual cues to make resizing and moving windows easier. Haptic has also been enabled for pen use.