Windows 11 First Impressions
Windows 11 first impressions. Hi, everyone. Leo Notenboom here for askleo.com yep. Windows 11 finally became available today, Actually, as I record this, to the general public. I'll talk about what I found interesting about it. What's not so interesting about it, how you can get it and why you probably don't want to just yet. Let's go ahead and dive in before we switch over to the Windows 11 machine.
I want to to explain what I'm doing here. This is not an in depth review of Windows 11. This is not a detailed review of Windows 11. Lord knows there are plenty of those out on the Internet right now with lots and lots of opinions, lots and lots of information and just lots and lots of stuff. If you really want to go deep into the Windows 11 rabbit hole, the approach that I'm taking here is I'm going to call it a slightly more Pragmatic that one. I'm going to give you my initial impressions, but from the perspective of the average consumer, most of the reviews that you've probably seen or can find out on the Internet, they're all done by a lot of, well, geeks people who are really into computers who are looking at leading edge, who are looking to really examine and understand the technologies behind Windows 11 and more.
My approach, as always, is to focus more on exactly what's going to be noticeable, what's going to impact the average consumer, the average computer user, not the leading edge, the high end, the folks that have been doing this for decades. This is really all about you who are comfortable using Windows 10 and just want to understand if Windows 11 is something you need to worry about. So let's switch over to my Windows 11 machine now to be full disclosure here. This was originally a Windows 10 machine that I installed from scratch. I installed a brand new copy of Windows 10 Pro, and then I updated it or upgraded it to Windows 11. In doing so, it actually preserved the old desktop background.
So the very first thing I did was to change the desktop background to be the one we're all familiar with with all the marketing materials associated with Windows 11. Just to make it extra clear that this is is the Windows 11 machine. We're playing with.
One of the very first things you'll notice, of course, is the task bar. It's different. It's in a different place. The icons look different. That actually reflects a number of different changes that have occurred to the task bar, and it's probably it. And the Start menu are probably the single biggest change that you're going to encounter right away and be the most impacted by.
If you care about these things at all, you'll notice that the icons all look a little bit different. They've done a complete redesign on all of the Windows icons. The Start button itself looks different. It's now this solid or blue shaded Windows logo. But the big thing, of course, is that the task bar is in the middle.
It's very Mac, like Mac OS does the same thing. They're equivalent of a task bar is in the center of your screen. Now you can if you like, change it to be on the left hand side. You can make it flush left. What you can no longer do is put it anywhere else.
You cannot put it on the top or on either side, which is kind of unfortunate. I like having it on the side on some of my machines if you've got a fairly wide monitor. But the bottom line here is that you cannot move it. You can only change the alignment of the icons on the task bar.
And of course, you could also have it auto hide. So if you want to really maximize the screen real estate for the applications you're running, you can have it auto hide, just like you could in Windows Tim. Before I play with any of that, though, I wanted to give you a quick peek at the Start menu. If I click on the Start button, you can see that it's a very, very different Start menu. They have basically taken out all of the old tiles.
What were originally Windows Live tiles that could be dancing and showing you things. And who knows what, just doing all sorts of things on your Start menu. They finally got rid of that. And I can't say that it happened any too soon. They were in a lot of people's minds a distraction. They took up too much real estate.
They were just not worth what they had turned into. This brings us back to traditional icons for your Start menu items. Now what you're looking at here at the top, of course, is the search bar. So if we were to start typing, it would be just like in Windows 10, you would start typing and it would start searching below that are your pinned apps. All of these apps have been pinned and they came pinned. I haven't done any pinning yet.
So these are the ones that actually show up on your Start menu as pinned apps. And if you take a very close look here on the right hand side, you'll see that there are two dots with a little down arrow. If you Hover over them, I use the mouse wheel to scroll, but it's actually two pages worth of pinned apps. So up and down, you can see that there's a set of apps that are already pinned, and then they have recommended I don't know what theirs are going to turn into overtime. My guess is at a minimum, maybe some marketing. Hopefully it'll be something useful, like recent documents and that kind of thing.
And of course, here is your power button now off on the lower right hand side. This button here, all apps will bring you to something that I think will make a lot of people more comfortable. And that is the old A through Z list of the apps that are installed on your machine.
This is akin to the more traditional Start menu that we're used to seeing from Windows XP and on. It was in Windows 10. And now this is how you get to it in Windows 11. So that's the new Start menu, and we'll go back. That's the new Start menu. It is what it is like.
It to me, it feels simpler, it feels cleaner. But again, focusing on the things you're going to notice if you want to investigate Windows 11, this is perhaps the biggest and most in your face change. You're going to see. One thing you can do, as I mentioned earlier, is you can change the alignment of the task bar. I right click here and you can see.
The only thing I have now is task bar settings that's available to me. You'll see that the Settings app itself has a new look and feel to it. They've consolidated even more of the old control panel and Settings apps into this one interface, and they've given it also another refreshed look to hopefully make it a little bit simpler and a little bit easier to navigate. Once again, you can control what is and what isn't shown on your taskbar.
If we scroll down, we'll see taskbar behaviors. And if I click on that, that expands and I can automatically hide the taskbar, which, as you can see, makes it go away. But it'll come back as soon as your mouse hovers over the bottom of your screen. Or I like to have it visible most of the time. Show badges, the unread message count you can see. I've got a piece of mail here.
It's telling me that I have one unread message. You can turn that on and off. Select the far corner of the taskbar to show the desktop not even sure which corner they're referring to. The taskbar alignment is the one that I think people will probably gravitate towards, especially if this task bar in the middle is something that makes you uncomfortable that you really don't like as soon as you make it go to the left. Now, all of a sudden, honestly, it kind of sort of looks like Windows 10.
You've got your taskbar here. You've got your Start menu in the place where you expect it. It's one very simple thing that can make the progression from Windows 10 to Windows 11, perhaps a little bit more easy. Personally, I kind of like it in the middle, but then that I'm used to using a Mac as well.
And some of the use interfaces, even on Linux, have it the same way. So like I said, the single biggest and upfront change you're going to find now one of the things I do want to mention, and this kind of dovetails into what we've seen so far, I've just fired up Windows Explorer, Windows File Explorer, and you'll see that it looks the same, only different. They have refreshed all of the icons. So you'll see new icons for all of the standard things that are in Windows 11 as compared to what you're used to seeing in Windows 10, they should all make sense.
They should all be very similar to what you've seen before, but they should just have a different look at a more consistent look across the entire interface. Now, this actually gives me an opportunity to show you one of the features that I think is actually kind of cool. This one's new to Windows 11. So far, we haven't really any new features per se. This one. If you Hover your mouse over the maximize icon in the upper right of a window.
This is the minimize bar, the minimize icon, the maximize icon, and then the close the close icon. If you just Hover over the maximize one, you'll see this little pop up. And what that is showing you is a set of proposed layouts places that you can have this window placed according to that layout.
So, for example, let's say I want the File Explorer window to be in the upper left Leo hand corner of a desktop that is designed for four equal sized windows. I just click that. And now if I bring up something else, say, like the mail program, I could do the same thing.
I can simply choose a different corner. The other thing one can do is choose again, different layouts. One of the layouts that I use a lot on my larger monitor.
I have a fairly large and wide monitor as my primary desktop is this one that I'm hovering over right now where you're you've got a center window that has your primary focus and then a couple of narrower windows on either side, clicking on one of those moves, the File Explorer or whatever app you happen to be manipulating into that position. And it's very easy then to go ahead and put it in the middle or if you like, put it over on the other side. I keep clicking on it instead of just hovering over it. There's a set of options here.
This one has a slightly larger center window. This one has equal sized windows. This one has a large window with a small window.
You get the idea you have some options here for how you might want things to be laid out and a very quick way to manage multiple windows into some useful positions. Now, some of you may think that this is really familiar. I know I did, and that's because it is very similar to the fancy Zones feature of the Windows Power Toys addition to Windows 10. So if you've downloaded Windows Power Toys, you could do something that is very similar to this and get these kind of layouts very quickly as well.
But this way, it's actually built into the operating system. Something else that's been added or at least enhanced, is what they call widgets. That's this icon here. If I click on it all of a sudden, I've got this window off to the side that has a number of different widgets that contain various kinds of information. This happens to be the default. I haven't changed anything yet, and you can can see that.
It's giving me my weather, some stock quotes, some photos, probably from my one drive. Since I do have a one drive, I didn't hook up one drive on the system. I've got local scores that honestly, I don't care about. And of course, top stories and we can scroll down and see more.
You get the idea, though. Now, this should also look very familiar because it's very similar to the news and weather feature that was added to Windows. Tim.
Not that long ago, that feature wasn't really well received. I'm hoping this one will be a little bit better received simply because it's not in your face. You don't see it unless you actually click on it. Now. Unfortunately, unlike many of the other icons that are available on your taskbar, it appears. And again, I've only just started using Windows 11 today, it appears that you cannot make this icon go away.
If I right click on it, nothing happens. If I right click on one of the other ones. Of course, then I can unpin that from the task bar. But if I click on this, I can't unpin it. It's possible. And in fact, let me double check. We'll explore here together in task bar settings.
There we go, we can actually make the widget icon go away with an on off toggle here in the taskbar personalization settings. The other thing that's interesting that's in the taskbar that may be new to you is this thing called chat. All this really is is the chat function in Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams became available for Windows 10 earlier this year. You can install it, you can run it. You can use it. I have it on my Windows 10 installation with Windows 11 Teams comes preinstalled, and as a result, they've made this chat icon a default icon on the task bar for you to be able to fire up a chat in Microsoft Teams if that's what you want to do.
Personally, I don't use Microsoft Teams. They were too late to the general public playground. I use other tools for that.
So same thing. I can go ahead and turn off that icon and just make it go away. The other icon that may be a little unfamiliar here is this one. This is. The virtual Desktop icon. Virtual desktops are not new. Virtual desktops have been in Windows 10 for some times.
Again, I'm a heavy user of virtual desktops. I use them all day long, but they've actually exposed the user interface a little bit more easily and made it perhaps a little bit more seamless to use. If you're not familiar with Windows virtual Desktops, they can be very useful.
It's a way to have an entire collection of applications up and running and then out of your face while you focus on something else. The way I have it set up on my primary machine is I have a virtual desktop for online communications applications, so my email, my social media, my chat applications are on one virtual desktop on another virtual desktop. Then I start with a completely clean slate, clean screen, and then I fire up my browser to work on as Leo, another browser to answer questions and other tab, perhaps to look at the comments that kind of stuff, something that's more focused on the work I'm doing at that moment. So virtual desktops, they've always been around.
They are just exposed a little bit. And that's what this icon here in the task bar is all about. Now. That actually does lead to some interesting observations about Windows 11.
There's a couple of them that I make in the companion article with this video. And if I come across anymore, of course, I'll be updating that article, but not everything that Microsoft has been presenting as new. It's really all that new. For example, I mentioned Microsoft Teams.
Well, you can get that in Windows 10 right now. The new Microsoft Store they've been touting how it's new experience for Windows 11. Honestly, not that different. Obviously, it's got the new Windows 11 kind of look and feel to it. The buttons are off on the side here instead of across the top. But aside from that, it basically is the same old Microsoft Store now with some additional marketing, perhaps from Disney, or some of the other things that are available.
But in all honesty, they're touting it as something brand new. From what I can see, it looks very much like the old Microsoft Store. Windows Security is also being touted in some areas as something new or improved in Windows 11. I don't know that it hasn't been improved. It may have, but it was already pretty good in Windows 10.
It's already been there. It's been there for a long time. I've been recommending Windows Security, known as Windows Defender, known as Microsoft Security Essentials. I've been recommending that for a long time. It's a good basic antimalware security software package.
That honestly is just fine for 99% of Windows users, and it's still there in Windows 11. They seem to think that it's been improved or that it's somehow new. I haven't seen anything that would reflect that, but I've only touched on it very briefly. And like I said, Windows desktops virtual desktops have been improved, but it's unclear to me just how now there is one thing that I I am a little concerned about that has been raised by a couple of other sites that I have to believe.
I have to hope, is one of the things that's going to change pretty quick. Microsoft has made it difficult to change your default browser. You'll notice I've got Chrome installed on this machine, and in fact, if I fire it up. Yep, it's Google Chrome. The issue, of course, is that it's not the default browser.
If I set as default, it brings up the Settings app, but the Settings app for setting a default web browser has changed completely. And in fact, if we want to actually change the default browser, what we end up having to do is, I believe if we look at Microsoft Edge, these are the different things that Microsoft Edge is the current default for. If we want Chrome to be the default for these things, instead of having one place to make one change for the default browser, we now apparently have to go through and change each of these one at a time and so on throughout the rest of the list.
That is incredibly cumbersome. And I've heard, for example, that Firefox maybe skirting the issue by doing something. Apparently they're not supposed to do. Whether Chrome will do something similar like that, whether the browser you care about is going to do something similar to that, I honestly don't know. Like I said, I'm hoping that this will be enough of an annoyance and cause enough of a furor that Microsoft will change their mind and give us back a simpler, easier way to change the default browser.
I don't know that they will. They've been pretty hamfisted about forcing Microsoft Edge down our throats. You can still use something else. You can still set something else as your default. But man, they've made it hard to do so. That is something to be on the watch for the lookout for.
If you want to use a different default browser, you may end up having to jump through a few Hoops. Okay, great. How do you go about getting Windows 11 if you want it? There are three ways that I can think of. One is to buy a new machine with it preinstalled.
Those probably don't exist yet, but they should be here very, very soon. And if you're in the market for a new computer and you're planning on using Windows 11 at some point, might be worth waiting for. If you want your operating system supported as long as is possible, might be worth waiting for a new machine with Windows 11 preinstalled. If you've got an existing machine that's working and working well as I do, I've got several of them. Then Windows Update would be the next logical step.
Windows Update should eventually tell you that Windows 11 is available for your machine as always they're doing a phased rollout, so not everyone is going to get it right away. But it is the I'll call it the official way that Microsoft recommends. Most people get Windows 11 let Windows Update offer it to you and say yes when they do the third way.
And actually it's the way that I approach. The problem is to actually download it from Microsoft in order to download it from Microsoft, you need to know where to go. My default is to always use my own article with the download links. And here I've got it.
Where can I download Windows 11 or Ten or Eight? I also updated that today. And if you scroll down in that article, you'll see that right down here. Download Windows 11. You can download Oops. I need to make a change. You've caught me in a typo.
Download Windows 11 here, and if we click on that link, then we end up going to the official official Microsoft Download Windows 11 page. You can do either of two things. The approach I recommend is Ashley to use the installation assistant that will walk you through the process of both confirming that your machine is eligible and capable of running Windows 11 and then downloading and installing it for you. That's what I did with my Windows 10 Pro install.
I simply downloaded and ran this and it installed Windows 11 for me. The other approach, of course, is to go ahead and create Windows 11 installation media. Essentially, you're making an ISO or USB. That is the bootable disk that you can then install Windows 11 from scratch from. If you are doing multiple machines and or you have a slow Internet connection, that might be the better choice because you'll end up with one download instead of however many different machines you happen to do this on. So that's a great way to do it.
But that's how you would do it. New Machine Leo Windows Update do it or if you're in a hurry, do it this way with the installation assistant or the download Windows 11 page at Microsoft.com I have to say that overall, I'm honestly kind of underwhelmed, and I mean that in both a bad way. In a good way.
When you think about getting a new operating system, you're kind of hoping there'll be some new bells and whistles, some things to get excited about. I haven't found those. I have not found anything that really makes me super excited to move to Windows 11. I don't have anything that I would consider to be a compelling reason for the average consumer to move to Windows 11 just yet.
So my recommendation is don't unless you're just so eager that you have to try it out as soon as possible. There is no need, no compelling reason to upgrade to Windows 11 just yet. You don't have to. Windows 10 is a fine operating system, and as I've said repeatedly, they are currently scheduled to continue to support it for at least another three years from the date I record this. They're supporting this until well into 2025, when surprise me if they pushed a little bit longer. My recommendation is that you wait that you wait until more of Windows 11 has been shaken out.
More of the issues, the inevitable issues have been discovered and resolved and fixed. But if you are chomping at the bit to get Windows 11, at least now you can see the kinds of things that you'll probably notice first, what it means to go ahead and do it and what's going to look like when it's all said and done. As always, I want you to back up first. If you are going to install Windows 11, please take an image backup of your existing installation first so that in case anything goes wrong, you've got the option, the opportunity to go back to the state you were in before you did the install. And I do have to reiterate some points that I'm sorry if this little segment now is going to be a little annoying to you because it's going to be obvious to a lot of people.
But based on the feedback I get, these are some really important things I need to say. One, you do not need to update to Windows 11. You don't.
No one is forcing you to update to Windows 11. Leo One, you don't have to. You probably don't need a new machine to upgrade to Windows 11 unless your machine happens to be fairly old.
Yes, there's been a lot of FUD around the minimum requirements for Windows 11, especially around a TPM. I've got an article coming up on that. My machine, my primary desktop, which I got only two or three years ago, was denied Windows 11 for not having a supported TPM.
It was a configuration issue. It was a UEFI BIOS configuration issue. There are lots of those kinds of things that I think are going to cause a lot of FUD when it comes to installing Windows 11. If you've got a machine from probably within the last five years or so, it's probably going to run Windows 11 just fine. The other caveat is that I have heard that some processors, some specific processors, are being denied Windows 11.
I have also heard. And this is again here say that more different processor types may be added to the hardware requirements may be supported as Windows 11 move forwards. So if your machine doesn't make the cut, if your machine doesn't have the required hardware one, you'll be able to double check your TPM settings. I'm pretty sure you've got what you need, even if it says you don't. And even then, some of the other issues may change over time. And finally, like I said, when all else fails, Windows 10 is going to be supported through 2025.
That's a long time. That's a lot of time to let all of this. Windows 11 FUD because there's a lot of fear, uncertainty, and doubt, as always, when Microsoft makes a new big of release, let all that calm down. Let all that die down and get a much better picture of a exactly what Windows Eleven is and what it'll mean to you.
I hope that was helpful. I found it kind of interesting. Like I said, I'm underwhelmed. I think it's kind of a good thing that I'm underwhelmed only because that means that they haven't done something massive or massively stupid. But it also means that they haven't really done anything massively compelling either.
That gives us a lot of breathing room to take our time and understand exactly what it is. Windows 11 will mean to us as always. Thanks for watching for the article on which this video is based, including specifically updates to Windows 11 requirements, or any of the things that I've talked about here, visit askleo.com/137591. i'm Leo, Notenboom.
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