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Windows 11 debuts with a redesigned start menu

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Windows 11, the latest version of Microsoft’s computer operating system, will be available worldwide as a free upgrade for Windows 10 users on Tuesday.

The company says the new version of Windows is designed to be “clean, fresh, and simpler” for the user. Even the least tech-savvy users can easily upgrade, adds the company’s chief product officer. “You have no idea how excited I am for him to press that button and upgrade,” he said. He stated that expert users had already extensively tested it through Windows’ Insider trial program and that he was confident there would be no teething problems.

Press Start

Windows 11 features significant design changes as well as changes to how the system operates under the hood. By default, the Start menu and taskbar icons are centered on the screen. When pressed, the Start button displays a list of frequently used apps. It resembles the appearance of a smartphone app menu or launcher in some ways. Microsoft has also removed the “tiles” from the Windows 10 start menu. Mr. Panay stated that the team had learned from Windows 8, which completely removed the start menu, which upset many users. “Of course, you learn from that, and then you adapt,” he explained.

Panos Panay in a head-and-shoulders photograph on a plain background
Mr. Panay is the chief product officer for Windows and Devices at Microsoft. (Image Credit: Getty)

Creating the interface for Windows 11 required him to observe how people use their computers – “what they want to click on, where their eyes are on the machine when they come into our labs,” he explained.

“You get this confidence from history,” he added.

For Windows 11, click here “There’s a Start button right there.

It’s in the center of the screen.

It has not vanished.”

‘New era’

When Windows 10 was released, Microsoft declared it to be the “last version” of the operating system. That has clearly changed.

“We’re in a bit of a new era for the PC right now,” Mr. Panay explained.

“I believe Windows 11 stamps that moment and acts as a signal for that moment.”

The design of the operating system favors rounded corners and has simplified most menus and folder views. There are also new and improved options for organizing windows and “snapping” them into grids.

The widget panel
The new widgets panel confines all data to a side panel rather than across the desktop. (Image Credit: Microsoft)

System integrations for Microsoft Teams and the Xbox app are prominently featured in advertising. The Microsoft Store, the Windows version of an app store, has been completely redesigned. Windows 11 can run Android smartphone apps via the Amazon app store. It will also now allow third-party apps to sell without taking a significant cut.

Early adopters have reported that the new version’s in-built search function is significantly faster on most devices – but that it also prefers Microsoft’s own services, Bing, and the Edge browser when delivering web results.

It’s time to upgrade

For gamers, Microsoft promises that its new drive technology, Direct Storage, will result in much faster game loading times by allowing a graphics card to access storage drives without passing through the central processor. However, this feature, like others, requires newer hardware to function. As a result, not every computer will reap all of the benefits of upgrading, and some machines may be unable to upgrade at all.

The minimum requirements include a type of security chip known as a TPM, which is only found on modern computers. “If your device does not meet these requirements, you may be unable to install Windows 11 on it and should consider purchasing a new PC,” Microsoft says.

To coincide with the new Windows version, the company has just released a slew of new hardware devices. However, users who already have Windows 10 do not need to incur this expense if their computer is still operational. Windows 10 will be supported and updated with security patches until October 2025.

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