As expected, Microsoft has lifted the veil on Windows 11, the new version of its operating system. We take stock of the major changes in the OS, as well as its release date and price.
This Thursday, June 24 is a milestone: it is indeed the date chosen by Microsoft to present Windows 11, its new operating system intended to replace Windows 10. As a reminder, the previous Microsoft OS was developed in July 2015 by the manufacturer, which ensured that Windows 10 would be the latest version of its operating system, updated over time. This did not prevent Panos Panay, chief product officer at Microsoft, to unveil today Windows 11, the «most personal and close to its users» version offered to date. The time has come to take stock of the news announced and presented today.
WINDOWS 11, WHAT’S NEW
A NEW LOGO
First novelty, which is not necessarily the most useful, but which nevertheless deserves to be emphasized: Windows 11 displays a new logo that is reduced to a blue square window, without perspective effect. Simple and efficient to present a change in continuity.
A first quick configuration
The first boot of Windows 11 allows you to configure the operating system in minutes to access the base desktop. The characteristic dark blue of Windows 10 gives way to a lighter background and many very readable pictograms, to make Windows 11 a resolutely intuitive OS. The installation also asks the user to customize the device according to the use that he makes of it (work, video games, multimedia, etc.), a way undoubtedly to guide the creation of the various offices.
The Start menu in the center
The Start menu on the left? Forget about Windows 11, at least in its default configuration. The Start menu is now installed in the center of the taskbar. However, it gradually shifts to the left when software and applications are opened. If you have a problem with this, you can permanently move the menu to the left in the system settings.
The disappearance of dynamic tiles
Launched with Windows 7, the dynamic tiles of the start menu disappear with Windows 11: they leave their place to applications pinned by the user, but also to recommendations that are based on the latter’s habits. To view all installed applications, simply click on “All Applications”.
A new taskbar
The taskbar is completely redesigned within Windows 11. It can be configured as desired. Moreover, the search area, Cortana’s legacy, also disappeared by default, which saves a lot of space: a simple search icon replaces it. It is also possible to adjust the height of the taskbar according to three levels, against two within Windows 10.
Offices dedicated to all activities
One of the most interesting new features of Windows 11 is probably the possibility to devote different offices to different activities within the operating system. You can, for example, devote one desktop to teleworking, with a dedicated wallpaper and specific shortcuts, and another desktop to gaming, with another wallpaper and shortcuts to your games. A way to partition the different ways of using the same machine.
An optimized Xbox experience
Windows 11 includes a new version of the Xbox app, which includes quick access to Xbox Game Pass games, the Xbox Store and Xbox social features, all in a native way.
Direct Storage on Windows 11
Noticed on Xbox Series X and S consoles, Direct Storage is also current in Windows 11: it allows to accelerate the loading times of video games from a NVMe SSD. “With DirectStorage, available exclusively on Windows 11, games can load their data onto the graphics card without interfering with the CPU,” says Microsoft. Windows 11 “DirectStorage Optimized” PCs will be configured to natively exploit this capability.
The arrival of the Auto HDR
Another feature that may appeal to gamers is Auto HDR, which is presented as an automatic way to switch from SDR to HDR within Windows 11. Provided, of course, that a compatible screen is available. More than 1,000 PC games will be compatible with Auto HDR, including Age of Empires Definitive Edition, Rocket League, DayZ and DOOM 64.
The widgets at the Appointment
Appearing within Windows 10 during the 21H1 update that appeared a few months ago, the «weather and news» module is back within Windows 11, in the form of what Microsoft calls a widget. When opened, the dedicated window now appears on the left half of the screen, not in a small area on the right. This is a widget among others, so it can be deleted, modified, or supplemented with other optional features, via a button present in the taskbar.
Windows take a youthful turn
Windows 11 windows benefit from a redesign that is noticeable: the angular corners are now rounded and their positioning is now easier. On Windows 10, to split the screen into multiple areas associated with windows, you had to drag them to the sides, and to set the display to cascade, stacked or otherwise, you had to right-click on the taskbar. From now on, a “Snap Assist” menu opens when you stay a few moments on the zoom icon of a window, at the top right of it. This makes it easier to organize windows, and Windows 11 remembers how you organized your windows, so you can enjoy them at will: this feature is called «Snap Group».
Windows icons also rejuvenate
Microsoft has updated all the icons present natively within its operating system. A little symbolic painting, which helps to mark the transition from Windows 10 to Windows 11. New is also directly operating within the file explorer.
An integrated choice of topics
If you want to change the style of your Windows 11, you can tap into the themes embedded in the OS. This changes the wallpaper but also the colors of the interface. This includes the return of Dark Mode already present in Windows 10.
Cortana largely in the background
Present in Windows 10 especially via the search bar integrated in the taskbar, the Cortana voice assistant is discreet within Windows 11. If it is possible to add a button dedicated to its use in said bar, we feel that the priority of Microsoft is not to value Cortana.
Teams replaces Skype
Microsoft Teams has sufficiently anchored itself in the habits of Windows 10 users during the successive confines and the rapid evolution of video conferencing in teleworking for Windows 11 to impose this application in place of Skype. This one is not pre-installed and all the integrations that were present within Windows 10 are no longer current. Teams, meanwhile, is present natively and benefits from a dedicated icon in the taskbar.
Optimizations for touch screens
Microsoft does not forget the owners of laptops with a touch screen. Windows 11 provides optimizations, such as more spaced buttons to facilitate finger handling, more comfort to handle windows, or the ability to use trackpad gestures on the screen.
The Microsoft Store updated
Although becoming very important over the years within Windows 10, the Microsoft Store has not experienced any major evolution in a long time. Redmond’s company took advantage of its conference to indicate that it would improve the Entertainment section of its store, notably by highlighting films and series from the main streaming platforms. In addition, a simple click allows you to stream content from the PC screen to the TV screen.
Another very interesting point, the Microsoft Store opens to all applications that work under Windows, and more only those that are UWA. For developers, it’s all the more interesting that no commission will be taken by Microsoft on app sales: a real invitation to quickly fill the Store with new apps.
Finally, the Microsoft Store hosts… Android apps! A proposal long fantasized by mobile OS enthusiasts, who will no longer need an emulator to run them under Windows 11.
WHAT AVAILABILITY DATE FOR WINDOWS 11?
Windows 11 will be available sometime next fall, and it will be offered in the form of a free update for all owners of a version of Windows 10 or a previous version. The update will be completely transparent, that is to say managed as a standard upgrade of Windows 10: the transition will be smooth to both operating systems.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM CONFIGURATION FOR WINDOWS 11?
Microsoft has released the minimum system requirements to run Windows 11.
- Processeur : 1 GHz ou plus avec 2 cœurs minimum et une compatibilité 64-bits
- Mémoire : 4 Go de RAM
- Stockage : 64 Go
- Carte graphique : compatible DirectX 12/WDDM 2.x
- Écran : supérieur à 9 pouces, HD 720p minimum, 8 bits par canal de couleur
- Connexion internet
- TPM : module de plateforme sécurisée TPM 2.0
While most of the points are easy to find on most machines, the TPM 2.0 chip is mostly present on newer machines. It is intended to provide physical security and secure encryption within the machine. You can already use the Health Check software to ensure that your PC can support Windows 11.
WHAT PRICE FOR WINDOWS 11?
For those who want to install Windows 11 on a new machine without going through a previous version of the OS, it will be necessary to acquire a paid license. Microsoft has not yet reported on the price of Windows 11 licenses, nor even on the different versions of the OS that will be on sale. We can expect a decline in Windows 11 Family and Windows 11 Professional, but for now, nothing is confirmed.
For those who already have a PC with a Windows 10 or earlier license, Windows 11 will be offered as a free update.