Windows 11 promises numerous upgrades over its predecessor, Windows 10, but what exactly does this entail? In this article, we’re going to take a look at the main differences between both operating systems, exploring the key features of the new Windows 11, and hopefully helping you decide whether or not it’s worth the upgrade.
Key Difference #1: Aesthetics
While the appeal of a system’s visual design is in the eye of the beholder, it’s difficult to deny the practicality of certain features once you get to try them for yourself. And while the very first thing you’ll notice when using Windows 11 is its new minimalistic and sleek UI, there’s much more to it than just a visual overhaul.
Soft, rounded corners, is one of the first most notable differences in the visual design of the new operating system. However, the centering of information is also one of its most useful features, as the user can get access to the information they need at any time, front and center, in panels such as the start menu. Microsoft believes this will help the user to keep relevant tools always in focus, and this is further corroborated by the cloud-based recommendations in the explorer and start menu, which highlights frequently used apps and documents so that the user can find them at a moment’s notice.
If you’re a fan of the old layout, however, you can freely switch the start menu and taskbar back to being positioned on the left of the screen.
Key Difference #2: Additional Features to Enhance Multitasking
Many of us use computers for more than just working, and this is one of the main points that the team focused on when developing Windows 11.
Windows 11 was conceived with the notion that most people nowadays use their computers as workstations, entertainment centers, to run errands online, and much more. To accommodate this utilitarian design, Windows 11 makes it much easier to multitask since it offers Snap Layouts, Snap Groups, and increased ease to manage multiple virtual desktops.
Snap Layouts let you arrange multiple active tasks on-screen with the press of a button, while Snap Groups lets you sort the said task layouts into multiple groups that you can bring up at a moment’s notice. Meanwhile, virtual desktops let you completely switch desktops, which effectively lets you switch “modes” instantly. In this sense, you can alternate between work, fun, and browsing desktops depending on your needs.
And to further enhance multitasking and switching focuses, Windows 11 also has a very wide range of gestures and shortcuts with which you can switch between desktops and snap groups.
Key Difference #3: Native Support for Android Apps Directly Through the Microsoft Store
Depending on the type of user you are, this addition may or may not be a big deal for you, but Windows 11 is bringing native support for Android apps directly through the Microsoft Store. With this upgrade, users will reportedly be able to download, install, and run Android apps directly on their operating systems.
This feature, however, has been delayed and will no longer launch with the Windows 11 release date. Instead, it’ll be coming with a later update. And speaking of the Microsoft Store…
Key Difference #4: Enhancements to the Microsoft Store
Just like with the visual redesign of the new OS, the Microsoft Store has also received its fair share of revamps. And while the team hasn’t shared specifically all that’s coming, they have said that these additions and redesigns are all meant to make the browsing experience and finding apps and software in the Microsoft Store much easier.
If you frequently use the Microsoft Store to download and manage apps on Windows, then you will probably get a lot out of this feature.
Key Difference #5: Addition of Tools That Will Dramatically Improve Your Gaming Experience
For the gamers out there, Windows 11 is bringing Auto HDR and DirectStorage technologies, which are designed to significantly enhance graphics and performance, respectively.
Auto HDR retroactively brings HDR to DirectX 11 and 12 games without the need for developers to implement it manually. This means that Windows 11 will make thousands of titles both new and old look better than ever, as long as the user has an HDR-capable monitor. Meanwhile, DirectStorage is meant to offload CPU load directly onto the GPU to improve loading times and performance, though the user needs a modern GPU and an NVMe SSD with at least 1TB of capacity.
Lastly, Windows 11 will also offer dynamic refresh rates, through which the device will automatically swap to higher refresh rates given certain conditions, and then switch back to their lower counterparts when not necessary, in order to optimize battery life. And while this feature is advertised to be used mostly when handwriting and using digital pens, since the increased refresh rate will make it easier to write, it’s possible that this could be used for gaming as well, to create a smoother image.
Key Difference #6: Improved Multi-Monitor Support for Laptop Users
For the laptop users out there, who use their machine for all purposes from work to having fun and relaxing with a good movie or a game, Windows 11 will make it much easier for users to switch between displays when using a laptop.
This improved support for multiple displays lets users plug into any type of monitor or TV, and have the image automatically be projected onto the said display, without the need for any configuration or manually switching display settings. All the user needs to do is plugin, and the image will automatically project on the corresponding screen.
Users can freely customize their settings for multiple displays, which will be useful for automatically switching to certain displays upon connection, or ignoring others until manually triggered. And once you’re done and you untether your laptop from the monitor or TV, the image will return to normal on the laptop’s screen.
What other features are you looking forward to in Windows 11? Feel free to share your thoughts below!