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Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 — six months after its launch

Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 — six months after its launch

Microsoft has introduced quite a few positive changes to Windows 11 to make it worth upgrading from Windows 10. However, the company is on the right track to impress users with the new product.

What you’re reading isn’t just another Windows 11 review .

Still, it’s a good opportunity to reflect on whether the original review was influenced by first impressions and what, if anything, has Microsoft achieved over the past months?

Start Menu, Taskbar, and Themes: Nothing else interesting

At launch, Windows 11 ‘s biggest flaw was that it felt less fun and less functional than its predecessors. Still a few months later.

Example: On Windows 10 , going to Personalization > Themes displays large, lively icons telling you which themes are installed, and prompting you to use them by default. Technically, the same options are available in Windows 11, but everything is much quieter.

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Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 - half a year after its release
Windows 10 Settings menu, image courtesy of

Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 - half a year after its release
Windows 11 Settings menu, image courtesy

Windows has many ways to launch applications. You can find it in the Start menu under the Start button, type Win + R to “run” programs, or simply “search” for it by pressing the Windows key , typing the name of the application, and pressing Enter .

Especially the last method is very popular. However, using the Start Menu in Windows 11 is not fun. It is a chaotic sea of ​​symbols without order and composition.

They messed it up. One of the main visual elements of Windows 10 was the ability to visually “weight” specific apps and folders by resizing them. You can now group Windows 11 apps into a folder and thus make the icons smaller .

Doesn’t that conflict with the idea of ​​making Windows more intuitive?

Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 - half a year after its release
Windows 11 Start Menu, image courtesy

In Windows 10, you can see both your favorite app tiles as well as an alphabetical list of apps. Windows 11 hides the alphabetical list of apps behind the All Apps button, making you forget about it.

As a result, you stop using the Start menu because it’s frustrating and useless. It’s also worth noting the space wasted due to the so-called “recommended” files that you’ll find at the bottom.

Well, at least you can turn it off. (Settings > Personalization > Start > Show recently opened items in start menus, jump lists , and file explorer ).

It looks similar in the taskbar. If Microsoft wants to move away from the well-known Fisher-Price boxes from Windows 8 , no problem. A very effective aesthetic design with icons in the middle is acceptable.

But what about flexibility? Edge has the ability to put the Favorites bar on the left side, so why not allow it in Windows?

Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 - half a year after its release
Tabs on the left side of the Edge browser window, Photo: PC

Fortunately, there are third-party tools like Start11 and StartAllBack that solve many (but not all) annoying problems with the Windows 11 Start Menu and Taskbar. It would be nice if Microsoft officially did the same.

Widgets, team chats, and search

Microsoft’s tools and news and information suite have their advantages. However, don’t bother hovering over the weather icon in the taskbar to look there.

You just don’t feel the need. On the other hand, Edge effectively encourages you to open a new tab in the Info view.

The search icon built into Windows is similarly unattractive — it just doesn’t fit into your daily habits. Instead, you search via a web browser or file explorer search, or you open the most recent document in a specific application.

Perhaps using the search application will improve performance and maybe it’s worth forcing yourself to check if it’s not a more efficient way?

Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 - half a year after its release
Widgets and the search bar in Windows 11, image courtesy of

Cortana is missing in Windows 11, but it doesn’t really matter what you use to search. Cortana doesn’t seem worth installing just to quickly set up reminders, which was useful in Windows 10.

In general, however, Cortana in Poland is of little use because it is not present in the Polish version .

Action Center and Notifications: A step forward

It’s worth taking a closer look at the Windows 11 Action Center , located in the lower right corner. You can see that it’s well thought out because everything is grouped together, not scattered across multiple taskbar icons like in Windows 10.

However, it is not a perfect solution; In Windows 10, different icons give you more options for moving information, such as the audio device which is controlled by the volume slider .

It also seems that notifications in Windows 11 don’t attract as much attention as those in Windows 10.

Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 - half a year after its release
Volume control in Windows 10, Photo: PC

Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 - half a year after its release
Action Center w Windows 11, fot. PC

The glaring problem with Action Center is the lack of a fully functional calendar, which seems odd.

What’s the point of a calendar if you can’t add appointments to it, view holiday dates, or do anything with it? With Cortana sidelined, there’s really no easy way to schedule a quick reminder.

Shouldn’t this be part of the OS? You can’t have to manually install an external software through the Microsoft Store to accomplish a basic task like using the scheduler.

Windows 11 also offers a strange user interface, in that the OneDrive cloud storage icon is a functional but hidden button; As well as a set of network, volume and battery icons. Click anywhere in the second group and the Action Center will open.

It may be a mistake to turn on Focus Assist when the icon indicating that it is on and working (the crescent moon symbol in the screenshot above) appears on the right, next to the time and date. Clicking it opens notifications instead of Focus Assist settings.

Windows Shell: Some core issues remain

The system menu that appears when you right-click a file and then cascades to a secondary menu that requires a second click is a bug.

Can’t all items be in one list? Why do Windows apps like PowerToys put their functions on the secondary menu, especially ones that many users use frequently? Over time, you’ll get to know the shortcut icons (such as “cut” and “rename”) that represent functions, but the right-click menu options still feel cluttered.

This is a huge step backwards in performance.

Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 - half a year after its release
Context menu in Windows 11, image courtesy of

However, Snap View is a success and a definite improvement over Windows 10. Yes, you can still use the PowerToys and fancy Fancy Zones tool in Windows 10 or Windows 11, but the Snap View feature that lets you split your screen into parts is really useful.

The dictation tool also works well, and a quick Win + H press opens it almost instantly.

You say your sentence, press Win + H again, and continue. You don’t have to write everything under dictation! This is especially useful for secured PDF files from which you want to quickly copy a small section.

However, it seems that the designers at Microsoft have not yet found the right way to manage files. Explorer in Windows 10 and Windows 11 has obvious shortcomings when it comes to searching.

Using the Explorer search bar feels unnecessarily slow.

Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 - half a year after its release
Dictation in Windows 11, Photo: PC

However, there is a bigger problem and it is not known if Windows is the cause. As we work more and more remotely, our data is increasingly stored and shared in apps like Google Workplace , Zoom , Teams , and more. However, that’s not all.

The content we exchange is not always a “file”. Can we use Windows’ built-in search to search Teams? Maybe someday, but it’s not possible now. meet on google ? never.

If Windows can’t even understand what we’re looking for as well as where it is, then what is the point of a search function or a file explorer at all?

Microsoft Edge: Finally, you can easily switch between browsers

Microsoft seems to have finally addressed the main problem of no browser selection in Windows 11.

This has been done through an optional update that will almost certainly be rolled out to the general Windows 11 user base as part of the upcoming patch.

It still feels a bit backward – the “one-click” option to make a browser like Chrome the default browser still sets Edge as the default browser for opening PDFs .

However, it does at least give consumers the choice they should have.

Microsoft Store and Windows Apps: Everything looks nice

Overall, Microsoft’s changes to Windows apps are positive, though not profound. Whatever you think of the Microsoft Store widget , you have to agree that it looks more professional and more useful, at least on the app pages.

Microsoft reworked the Photos app , making it a whole lot worse — and then tweaked it a bit, largely achieving its original goals.

With the removal of the Instant Fix tool and the move of the extremely useful Magic Select tool to Paint 3D , the Photos app is still an app that leaves a lot to be desired. Microsoft also unnecessarily reorganized Paint, a program it had previously tried to remove.

In the case of Photos and Paint , “redesigning for the sake of redesigning” simply wears off unnecessarily and makes people less productive.

Windows 11 is just a little bit better than Windows 10 - half a year after its release
The new Microsoft Store in Windows 11, image courtesy of

Under the hood: PC manufacturers are pushing harder

Right now, the strongest argument in favor of Windows 11 isn’t its features, but what’s inside your PC’s box. Almost all new PCs now ship with Windows 11, so even the most advanced laptops now have the latest operating system from Microsoft.

This is due in part to Intel’s Thread Director technology , which has become synonymous with the 12th generation Alder Lake Core chips .

However, this is also due to Microsoft’s goal of ushering PCs into the modern age of security by excluding most older PCs with stringent hardware requirements (which were later abandoned).

Frankly speaking, Windows 11 security relies on virtualization systems ( VBS ) causing severe performance drops on older, unsupported hardware.

Microsoft has also integrated three other core technologies that are the selling points of Windows 11: DirectStorage , Dynamic Refresh Rate , and AutoHDR .

Among these, it appears that DirectStorage can provide a huge gaming advantage over Windows 11. After the release of DirectStorage in March, Microsoft demonstrated how it can reduce game load times to around a second.

However, we still don’t know how many games will support this technology or when these games will be released. Neither dynamic refresh rate nor AutoHDR seem to be a huge improvement.

It’s fun to use DRR to power your laptop screen at 120Hz , but how often is it useful?

There was a head-to-head evaluation of AutoHDR on PC , which adds HDR detail to games that don’t natively support it.

It’s noticeable, yes, but it doesn’t matter much unless you have a high-quality HDR display . You need at least 1,000 nits of maximum brightness to fully enjoy the hardware , and that’s really rare.

What is Microsoft improving?

The latest release of a new build on the Microsoft Insider Beta channel indicates what’s most likely planned: folders in the Start menu, the ability to drag and drop files to taskbar shortcuts, and live commenting, among other things.

Folders in the Start Menu don’t seem to be important to usability in Windows 11. Being able to drag and drop a file into the appropriate shortcut on the taskbar and open that file is a nice feature for a small but noisy group of users who wanted and that’s fine – it basically shows how a process should work Adding new features.

Live commentary is a useful feature that showcases Microsoft’s AI capabilities — but more and more content is being streamed via Netflix , YouTube, and more. And Amazon and others (even Teams!) that already have caption services.

Conclusion: a good Windows 11 is still far away

Aside from the Start Menu, there’s nothing really wrong with Windows 11 — and the listed one can simply be skipped while using the system by “searching” for apps, the way you avoid traffic jams by navigating the streets.

However, some Windows 11 features are worth recommending. Snap View (which can be configured with Fancy Zones) is great, as is Dictation.

You can see that Microsoft is still trying to match the changes to what users really want, or at least what they complain about.

In the future, a feature like DirectStorage may be what will appeal to gamers and the broader audience who take advice from the enthusiast community.

Dictation works, and the features are like the Xbox app وخدمة الألعاب السحابية تضيف بالتأكيد قيمة إلى Windows 11 و 10.

It is likely that everyone will move to Windows 11 over time. Maybe in about six years when Microsoft releases Windows 12 , you will feel nostalgic.

However, six months later, there’s still a real sense that Microsoft isn’t catching up to where Windows 10 is now, and without a ton of new features, it’ll have a hard time delivering Windows 11 as a real improvement.

Source: PC World


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