Top Windows 11 features (and how to install them)

Microsoft officially Introduced Windows 11, the next major version of its operating system (after its announcement back in June). It adds a revamped Start Menu, better support for multiple screens and touch screens, tighter integration with Xbox Game Pass, and Renewed batch for Windows Store. We’ll go over all the new features, but first, here’s how to download Windows 11 on your device.

Is your computer compatible with Windows 11?

Microsoft is making some (and Sometimes controversialChanges to Windows 11 compatibility requirements. The upgrade is free if you’re running Windows 10, but 8th generation Intel CPUs and AMD’s Ryzen 2000 line and newer are officially eligible (with Some exceptions). If your device is eligible, the update will be automatically rolled out By mid 2022.

However, unofficially many devices with old CPUs will work with the new OS version, but you will have to install Windows 11 manually by Create an upgrade tool From the Windows 11 Download and Install it Yourself page. When you do this, you may get a warning that your devices are not officially supported, and that They may not be entitled to receive future updates.

You can use recently updated Microsoft computer health check The application to see if your PC is officially eligible. This will also help you see if you have or need to enable Trusted Platform Module 2.0, which is one of the official eligibility requirements and may be the only thing that prevents some devices from qualifying. Your computer may already be there, but it may be disabled, and you can turn it on in your system BIOS. You can also bypass the TPM scan by using a disk in the registry that Microsoft specifies (and advises against most people) Here.

If this all sounds complicated, it is because it is. The short version is, if you have a new PC that was made after about 2017 or so, there’s a good chance you’ll eventually receive a Windows 11 update notification. However, if you built your own device or have an old computer, you may need to research and do some modifications to install Windows 11.

How to install Windows 11

As mentioned above, if you have an officially qualified hardware, installing Windows 11 is easy. You can wait for the free update to roll out on your device, just like any other update, and install it when you get a notification that it’s ready. Alternatively, you can check for the update manually by heading to Settings > Windows Update and clicking Check for Updates.

If your device is not eligible, you will need it Download Windows 11 and create an upgrade tool. You can use this file to create a bootable USB drive. Make sure you have a blank USB drive with at least 8GB of space, then follow Microsoft’s guide for Create a bootable drive. As we said above, doing this on devices that are not officially eligible may result in them not being eligible for future updates.

Windows 11 is similar to previous versions

You’ll be forgiven if the new features in Windows 11 sound familiar. Microsoft has Added widgetsAnd transparent windows, And window biting. All of these features have been around for a while, but the method here looks better. In fact, most of the new features are built around the topic of incremental improvement rather than overhaul (which is a good thing, because we all remember Windows 8.)

Except for one slight change that may be quite polarizing…

Start menu is in the middle now

The biggest visual difference in Windows 11 is how the Start button is centered on the taskbar instead of being located on the far left of the screen. There’s an option to put it back in the corner if you don’t want to retrain your muscle memory, but Microsoft is keen to mimic the look of macOS and Chrome OS.

The new Start menu has been reworked to remove Live Tiles (they were only marginally useful in the past). Instead, there are a bunch of installed apps and recent documents. The search interface at the top of the menu, just like today’s Start menu, will intelligently search for documents, apps, or settings you’re trying to find.

A more cohesive interface

For years, Windows has been a shattered mess, where newer, sleeker user interface elements blend with older ones. Windows 11 is finally updating many features that seemed out of place in the past, and that means you’ll see new designs frequently.

Two of the biggest places you’ll notice a change are in File Explorer, anytime you right-click for a context menu. In the latter case, common actions like cut, copy, paste, and rename have been moved to a smaller, accessible bar next to the mouse with just an icon, while other features like properties or “Open in new window” are still listed with an icon and named as you’re used to. It’s much cleaner, but it may take a while to get used to.

Gadgets are back (again)

Microsoft tried to create widgets for years before abandoning them, but this may (may be) to be the stable version. A new button in the taskbar will open a widget panel with a list of tasks, weather, traffic, calendar, and other basic tools. This isn’t much different from how the tools work in macOS, they’re available when you want to take a quick look but disappear when you don’t need them. Ultimately, the feature will be open to developers, so expect to see more third-party tools in the future.

Improved multi-screen support

Laptop users who dock their computers into a separate screen are all too familiar with the hassle that comes from managing all their windows. Once the screen is detached, any windows on that screen are resized and modified, creating clutter on the desktop. Windows 11 puts an end to that. When you separate your laptop from a second monitor, any open windows on that screen will reduce its size but remember its location. When you reconnect the screen, it will appear right back to where it was before.

Multiple desktops on one screen

Windows 11 also makes virtual desktops (which are limited to Windows 10) more powerful and useful. There is a new desktop menu in the taskbar, but there is also good keyboard support. Out of the box, pressing Alt-Win on your keyboard will cycle through your virtual desktops just as alt-tab movements between apps.

Snap groups make reorganizing Windows easier

Windows’ current snap feature is useful if you want to put two windows side by side, but have to do any other arrangement yourself. Windows 11 changes that. Now, when you hover over the Maximize button in a window, you’ll see a small arrangement selector, which shows you different layouts you can align windows to, including three or four window layouts. You can then decide which windows to fill in the rest of the layout and get to work faster.

Transparent windows are in fashion again

Another in the category of features that Microsoft only discontinued to bring it back, Windows 11 once again offers a translucent window design. Apps and window borders – including the Start menu and widgets menu – will be almost visible, like a frosted glass window. It’s a beautiful look and it probably won’t be Same performance issues On low-end devices the last time Microsoft tried this trick.

Easier touch screen interactions

While Microsoft’s hardware team makes Some great convertible laptops and tabletsThe program didn’t quite keep up with that. Windows 11 hopes to fix some of the most annoying problems by adding larger touch targets to resize windows. There’s also a smaller touch keyboard that can be placed in the corner of the screen for one-handed typing, unlike the way you might type on your phone.

If you use a stylus, the operating system will also support haptic feedback, which may make writing more responsive. It remains to be seen if these changes are enough to make Windows a natural touch screen experience on a tablet, but it couldn’t be worse than switching entirely to tablet mode like Windows 10 now.

Deeper integration with Microsoft Teams

Like Zoom, Microsoft Teams saw Huge increase in usage since March 2020, for obvious reasons. So it makes sense for Microsoft to tie Teams more tightly to its latest operating system. The chat icon in the taskbar launches your recent contacts list where you can pick up a conversation where you left off, or start a new one. When you receive a message, you will be able to Reply directly to the notification itself. The downside is that Microsoft Teams is enabled by default in Windows 11, so if you’re not using it, you might want to turn it off.

PC games get some of the best Xbox features

With Microsoft owning two of the world’s largest gaming platforms — Windows for PC gaming and the Xbox platform — you might think that combining the two would be a higher priority. Well, Windows 11 is finally making this a reality by bringing some Xbox features to the PC.

First, there’s the DirectStorage API, which allows games to load data directly into your graphics card’s memory, significantly reducing load times. this process A little more complicated From that brief description it makes it sound, but if you have the hardware and games that support it, you’ll spend a lot less time waiting to play.

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