Even if you have only a passing interest in computers, chances are high you’ve heard about Microsoft's much anticipated update of its famous Windows operating system.
On October 5th, Windows 11 was made available as a free upgrade to those users with the devices capable of supporting it. In this piece, we look at some of ways it is different to any of its predecessors.
A Mac-ified interface
You’d expect an upgraded OS to have a different look and feel to it but Windows 11 represents a visual leap unlike any other to date. Taking much inspiration from the wildly popular Apple Mac interface, Windows 11 has a simplified design with icons and menus presented in pastel shades and rounded edges.
Both the taskbar and Start Menu have also been centred rather than dwelling on the edges.
Virtual desktops and better multitasking
Gone will be the days of having to invest in extra monitors or rifle through multiple minimised tabs and windows. Virtual desktops will take over allowing users to make separate ones for any given purpose, such as work, gaming, or school, and customise them in all kinds of ways.
For better multi-tasking, Snap Layouts will allow for apps and windows to be grouped together for more efficient organisation of each.
For example, if you were looking for a new car and had a group of apps and/or websites open relating to your search with Snap Layouts, you’ll hover your cursor over a window's maximise button, select a preferred visual layout, and click to “snap” the window into place. In doing so, you’ll keep all your car-related research neatly arranged on your screen.
Android apps will be available
The all-new Windows 11 Microsoft Store will be accessed via the Amazon Appstore, meaning any downloaded apps will integrate into the Start bar as well as appearing on the taskbar with their own windows.
Though this functionality is possible on Windows 10, on Windows 11 it’ll be native. Just be aware it wasn't available on the October 5th general release. Microsoft are yet to announce the exact date the feature will be added.
A beefed up Microsoft Teams
Windows 11 is bringing faster access to Teams video conferencing. The application will reside within the Taskbar so launching a Teams call should be as simple as opening Skype or FaceTime.
Teams will also be platform agnostic, meaning users of Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android can access the service.
Xbox gaming enhancements
For gamers, Windows 11 will include the Xbox Series features, Auto HDR and DirectStorage, to improve how PCs handle the necessary processing power.
Auto HDR facilitates the best visual experiences by simplifying the application of high dynamic range while DirectStorage loads a game's data directly to the graphics card, bypassing the CPU thus saving processors from becoming too stressed.
The Xbox app is also integrated into Windows 11 so Xbox Game Pass subscribers can either download games from the vast collection available or stream them via Xbox cloud gaming.