Windows 11: These 6 new options you should test

Windows 11: These 6 new options you should test

Perhaps you will find one that surprises you in your reaction to it. […]

Just three months after its announcement, Windows 11 is now here. With it come some important revisions to existing features – and new ones. You may be wondering where to start with this new operating system.

To help you get started, we’ve put together the six most important features that are worth at least a closer look. So much has changed that you owe it to yourself to take a look. Maybe you discover something new that you like, and if not… well, the good news is that Microsoft seems to be listening to feedback these days.

Taskbar

The new taskbar has a completely different design and layout – and much more limitations (c) PCWorld

A lot has changed on the taskbar in Windows 11. All pinned and open applications will appear as centered icons on the taskbar, including the Start Menu button. After decades of left-facing icons and tabs, this is a bold move that is ostensibly mobile-friendly, but may also seem more familiar to curious macOS users. Also bold is the rather prescriptive nature of the taskbar. You can’t move them to the right or left side of the screen, for example, or make them bigger – and those aren’t the only personalization options that have disappeared.

After all, you can move the icons of the taskbar back to the left side by fiddling with the settings, but this does not apply to the other adjustments.

Start

Like the taskbar, the Start Menu has undergone a major overhaul (c) PCWorld

The new Start menu is quite different from Windows 10. The Live tiles have disappeared – instead, there is a fixed set of simplified icons in two categories: Pinned and Recommended. They have little influence on how pinned apps are sorted, nor can you group them as you would in Windows 10. You cannot change the size of the menu either.

This lean approach may or may not work for you. The good news is that those who hate the new Start menu can use a hack for registry editing to return it to the style of Windows 10. Are you afraid to accidentally change something in the registry? You can use a third-party app like Stardock’s Start11 to customize the look.

Widget

The widgets in Windows 11 are somewhat similar to the approach of iOS (c) PCWorld

Widgets serve as an activity center for the interests of your everyday life. This huge overview map slides out of the left side of the desktop and displays a mix of messages, notifications and personalized information sent to your PC. Like many other elements of Windows 11, it does not allow you to resize the Widgets drawer, but you can customize what you want to see – similar to iOS and its widgets, which are also displayed when you swipe left on the home screen of an iPhone.

Team Chat

Interacting with Microsoft Teams from the taskbar could be very convenient for some people (c) PCWorld

Microsoft’s ongoing efforts to push its apps to manage communication with friends, family, and acquaintances find expression in the Chat app (sometimes referred to as Teams Chat) in Windows 11. Chat puts you in control of video calls, chats, and more right in your taskbar – allowing you to mute and unmute people, or even start a presentation during a Teams call. The app even allows you to send a message to anyone who has a profile in teams if they have the linked email or phone number.

Some people will see this centralization as an advantage. Others definitely do not. Whether you love it or hate it, you should try it at least once. You may find that this makes you less likely to be in the full Teams application if you understand.

Windows Settings

The settings of Windows 11 are much clearer when it comes to the individual categories (c) PCWorld

The Settings app in Windows 11 has undergone a major overhaul. Not only will you get more detailed control over various aspects of the operating system, but you will also be able to more easily understand what each category covers and go into depth from there. Overall, the interface strikes a good balance between simplicity and clarity – it’s not as sober as in Windows 10. If you don’t like that, you can still access the old Control Panel (thanks, Microsoft), but this approach to settings might make the new layout that interesting.

Microsoft Store

With Windows 11, the Microsoft Store may finally be attractive to use (c) PCWorld

Windows 11 gives the Windows Store the much-needed love. PC fans can say what they want about macOS, but the macOS App Store has always been superior to Windows 10 in terms of functionality and elegance.

That has now changed. The interface is leaner and more organized – and Microsoft has promised a wider choice of available apps, including Zoom, Adobe Creative Cloud, Disney+, and Microsoft Teams. In the near future, it may be possible to leave a device in Windows 11 S mode, which would greatly facilitate remote technical support.

*Alaina Yee reports on desktop PCs, computer components, mini PCs and more for PCWorld. Her favorite item is an annual item that combines her two passions: bargain hunting and PC construction.

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