Start to Relaunch
New aspects of Windows 11 suggest a positive march of progress. One is an overhauled visual design where common elements look renewed with soft rounded corners, and the overall clean and light user interface is said to invoke a sense of calm. Icons are updated and more consistent, and some are moved to a surprising new layout for Windows — the Start button is no longer bottom-left, it’s now center justified with other icons pinned to the taskbar. This tectonic shift is a departure from over a quarter-century of classic Windows design dating back to 1995, yet it shouldn’t surprise anyone since competing systems have commonly centered apps and icons. Apple’s Macs place the Dock in the middle and Google’s Chromebooks also have a centered app taskbar. Likewise, this symmetry appears to imbue Windows 11 with a sense of balance along with its calm vibe.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 isn’t a dusty OS, but it does have a few cobwebs in various corners of the system — this week I encountered old Windows XP icons in an obscure system info pane. The Start menu also shows signs of the past with Live Tiles leftover from the defunct Windows 8 and Windows Phone era. While users must adjust to the repositioned Start button and menu, they will likely appreciate the robust revamp otherwise. Windows 11’s fresh flourishes and aesthetic advances appear to be an improvement overall.
Another modernization coming in Windows 11 will ensure the OS fits the mobile computing age by simplifying the system and opening its Store to various app technologies. It appears that old legacy dialogue boxes and outdated window panes, which have remained disparate thus far, will be removed and their contents or functions reconsolidated. For example, the Settings app, along with a slick coat of paint, is being renovated by bringing in features that were scattered to and fro before. System level resources and toggles look to be more accessible as well. The previous window snapping feature is more robust, yet simple, with Snap Layouts, which enables multiple window arrangements automatically. Also in keeping with the times, new Widgets will be available in Windows 11 for easy and organized at-a-glance info.
In addition, the Microsoft Store, not known for providing either a quality or quantity of apps, looks to improve as well. Instead of Microsoft going back and forth between different strategies or types of app technologies, the company is now positioning the Microsoft Store as the Amazon of Apps, which means if a user needs an app, the Microsoft store should be the place to get it, assuming developers are fully onboard. With good marketing and luck, the new saying for users in search of an app could be, “There’s an App Store for that.” The Microsoft Store will allow all types of apps from all developers: from legacy or classic desktop apps to progressive web apps to Android apps via the Amazon App store. In that regard, Microsoft is making Windows 11 all-inclusive — no digital discrimination. Apple is welcome to port iMessage over. This will be not only a boon to users, but it’s likely to appease or avoid anticompetitive regulation.
A Windows of Opportunity
Shiny new tech, especially when it comes to mobile computing, is exciting. When Windows 11 software was announced, though, I wasn’t too thrilled because all its modern advancements come at a cost: it will require current hardware technology to power its performance. That means my creaky old budget laptop and my wife’s ancient desktop are ineligible to receive the upcoming OS upgrade. I didn’t mind much, though, since we largely rely on Chromebooks and Apple devices; there’s something to be said about not putting all your eggs in one computer basket.
Something new suddenly happened though. With my kids taking a new computer class in the Fall semester, they are required to have a Windows or Mac laptop. So, long story short, my family ended up buying a brand new Windows gaming laptop. It’s the best PC I’ve ever owned, having a discreet Nvidia RTX GPU! It’s the new family PC at home that will also serve my kids’ needs at school. Okay, it’s basically my own new personal laptop too. And because it is so modern and powerful, it will get the Windows 11 upgrade when it releases later this year. In fact, one of my purchasing factors was the laptop feature listing of Windows 11 capability. In other words, this thing is future proof.
Now that I have a dynamo of a PC that’s Windows 11 ready, I’ll be previewing the impending OS with eager eyes. I won’t go so far as installing a public beta though. Meanwhile, my family and I will enjoy using the latest that Windows 10 offers, but I’m not getting too attached because I recently switched from using my Chromebook to using an iPad as my primary machine…and that’s for a future blog post.
Are you looking forward to Windows 11, or does the prospect of change give you bad vibes? Let me know in the comments.