The Key Features of Windows 11 (and How to Install It)

Microsoft is official around Windows 11, the next major version of its operating system (after announced it back in June). It adds a revamped Start Menu, better multi-monitor and touchscreen support, tighter Xbox Game Pass integration, and an updated push for the Windows Store. We’ll check out all the new features, but first, here’s how to download Windows 11 to your device.

Is Your Computer Compatible With Windows 11?

Microsoft has made some (and in controversial times) changes to compatibility requirements for Windows 11. The upgrade is free if you’re running Windows 10, but only CPUs from Intel’s 8th generation and AMzen’s Ryzen 2000 line and more new officer may have (with few exceptions). If your hardware is compatible, the update will be released automatically in the middle of 2022.

Unofficially, though, many machines with older CPUs will work with the newer version of the OS, but you’ll need to install Windows 11 manually via create an upgrade tool from the Windows 11 software download page and install it yourself. If you do this, you may get a warning that your hardware is not officially supported, and it is may not be entitled to receive future updates.

You can use the now updated Microsoft PC Health Check app to find out if your computer is officially qualified. It will also help you determine if you have or need to run Trusted Platform Module 2.0, which is an official requirement to be qualified and can be the only thing that prevents some machines from being eligible. You may already have it on your computer, but it may not be useful, and you can turn it on. in the BIOS of your system. You can also skip the TPM check using a tweak to your registry outlined by Microsoft (and advised against most people) HERE.

If it’s that complicated, it’s because it is. The short version is, if you have a new computer made after 2017 or later, there is a good chance that you will receive a notification of the Windows 11 update later. However, if you are building your own machine or have an older computer, you may need to research and do some tinkering to install Windows 11.

How to install Windows 11

As stated above, if you have officially qualified hardware, installing Windows 11 is easy. You can wait for the free update to come out on your machine, just like any other update, and install it when you get a notification that it’s ready. Alternatively, you can check for updates manually by going to Settings> Windows Update and clicking “Check for updates.”

If your hardware doesn’t fit, though, you should download Windows 11 and create an upgrade tool. You can use this file to create your own bootable USB drive. Make sure you have an empty USB stick with at least 8 GB of space and then follow Microsoft’s instruction to create a bootable drive. As we said above, making this hardware unofficially qualified may result in disqualification for future updates.

Windows 11 is Similar to Earlier Versions

You’ll be forgiven if you’re familiar with the new features of Windows 11. Microsoft has added widgets, translucent windows, ug breaking the window. All of these features have been around for a while, but the approach here looks much better. In fact, most of the new looks are designed around a theme of more healing than healing (which is good, because we all remember Windows 8.)

Except for a small change that can be polarized…

The Start Menu is in the Middle Now

The biggest difference in Windows 11’s view is how the Start button on the taskbar is launched as opposed to on the left side of the screen. There’s an option to put it back in the corner if you don’t want to train your muscle memory, but Microsoft wants to emulate the look of MacOS and Chrome OS.

Updated the new Start Menu to get Live Tiles (few were available previously). However, there is a series of pinned apps and recent documents. A search interface at the top of the menu, like the Start Menu now, intelligently locates the documents, apps, or settings you’re trying to find.

A More Cohesive Interface

Over the years, Windows has been a bit of a broken mess, with more modern, beautiful user interface elements mixed in with the old. Finally updating to Windows 11 has a lot of features that weren’t in place before, and that means you’ll always see new designs.

Two of the biggest areas you’ll notice change in File Explorer, and any time you right click to get a context menu. In the latter case, common actions such as cut, copy, paste, and rename are moved to a small, accessible bar next to the mouse with an icon, while other forms such as Properties or “Open in new window” are even listed with an icon and label as you normally would. It’s cleaner, but can be likened.

Widgets Return (Change)

Microsoft tried to make widgets happen for many years before it was abandoned, but it could (potential) can be the sticks version. A new button on the taskbar will open a widget panel with a list of to-do, weather, traffic, calendar, and other basic widgets. It’s no different than how MacOS widgets work, useful if you want to look but disappear if you don’t need them. Later, the look will be open to developers, so expect to see more third-party widgets on the road.

Improved Multi-Monitor Support

Laptop users who dock their computer to a separate monitor are all familiar with the hassle that comes from managing all of their windows. Once you disconnect the monitor, any windows on the monitor will shrink in size and move around, creating a mess on your desktop. Windows 11. If you remove your laptop from the second monitor, any open windows on that screen will shrink but remember their location. If you enter the screen again, they will immediately return to where they were before.

Multiple Desktops on a Monitor

Windows 11 also makes virtual desktops (introduced in Windows 10 in limited form) more powerful and usable. There’s a new desktop menu in the taskbar, but there’s also good keyboard support. Out of the box, holding Alt-Win on the keyboard will work through your virtual desktop just like alt-tab moves between applications.

Snap Groups Make Reorganizing Windows More Intuitive

The current snap feature in Windows is useful if you want to place the two windows side by side, but you need to do the rest of the arrangement yourself. That was changed in Windows 11. Now, when you hover the Maximize button on a window, you’ll see a small sorting option, showing you the different layouts you can remove the windows from. , including three or four window layouts. You can choose which windows will fill the rest of the layout and get to work quickly.

Translucent Windows are back in Fashion

Another category of looks that Microsoft has just stopped to restore, Windows 11 has once again introduced a translucent window design. Applications and window borders-including the Start Menu and widget menu-can be semi-see-through, like a frosted-glass window. It looks great and probably doesn’t same production issues on low-end hardware the last time Microsoft tried this trick.

Quick Touchscreen Interactions

While the Microsoft hardware team does some good modern laptops and tablets, the software is not yet running. Windows 11 is expected to fix some of the most annoying problems by adding more touch targets for changing windows. There’s also a smaller touch-typing keyboard that can sit in the corner of the screen for one-handed typing, no different than how you might type on your phone.

If you use a stylus, the OS will also support haptic feedback, which can make writing feel better. It remains to be seen if these changes are enough to make Windows a natural touchscreen experience on a tablet, but it can’t be any worse than switching entirely to a Tablet Mode as it did. on Windows 10 now.

Deeper Integration with Microsoft Teams

Like Zoom, seen on Microsoft Teams a significant increase in usage from March 2020, for obvious reasons. So it makes sense that Microsoft is increasingly tying Teams to the more recent operating system. The Chat icon in the taskbar launches a list of your recent contacts where you can pick up a conversation where you left off, or start a new one. If you receive a message, you can too direct response to the notification itself. The downside is that Microsoft Teams is enabled by default in Windows 11, so if you don’t use it, you might want to turn it off.

PC Gaming Got Some of the Best Features on the Xbox

Given Microsoft’s ownership of two of the most popular gaming platforms in the world-Windows for PC gaming and the Xbox-you’d think combining the two would be an even higher priority. Now, Windows 11 has finally made it a reality by bringing some Xbox features to the PC.

First, there’s the DirectStorage API, which allows games to load data directly into the memory of your graphics card, drastically reducing load times. The process is a little more complicated than that short description makes it sound, but if you have hardware and games that support it, you’ll spend a lot of time waiting to play.

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