So yesterday I decided to see if Win11 insider build would install on my old laptop. Considering it’s an old HP with a 5th gen i3, 6gb of mismatched RAM and TPM 1.2 at best I wasn’t expecting much.
Surprisingly it installed just fine. No issues what so ever. So much for MS’s bullshit requirements eh? 🤣
The new Start Menu.
What I liked about win10 Start Menu is the ability to pin most used apps and use groups for similar types of programs on the right and have the full list on the left. The new win11 start menu takes this feature away. Instead replacing it with a messy start menu.
The pinned apps are still there, they now appear at the top, you can add/remove at will as well as drag them to reorder them. That’s great. But the icons are small and they can no longer be grouped for easy access. All apps can still be accessed by clicking the appropriate button on the menu and you can always start typing the name of the app to have it pop up. But overall it’s actually a huge backstep for productivity.
Beneath those you then get the, frankly stupid, recommended apps which you cannot remove. While you can remove listed apps or disable them from being shown via settings, it won’t delete the section. So you just end up with dead space. In my experience most users don’t really want a list of recently used apps, more so on a shared PC if there aren’t separate user accounts.
Separating the Start/Search button.
Similar to Windows 10, the search bar has it’s own button next to the start menu button. However this is a completely superfluous option. I honestly cannot understand why the search button exists. When opening the search you are greeted to Top Apps, Recents, and Quick Search options.
However you can still access search by using the start menu and typing, which from a productivity stand point means hitting the windows key on the keyboard and typing, rather than mousing down and clicking on the search bar, making the separate option utterly pointless. Needless to say it was the first thing I removed from my taskbar for “space”.
The task manager functions the same as Windows 10. My biggest issue with it is that you can no longer just right click on the taskbar and select it. You are now back to using Ctrl+shft+esc or searching. Not a major issue by any means, but still a mild annoyance.
For people on a desktop or using a laptop with a proper mouse or touch screen, this won’t be an issue. But if you are using a laptop’s touch pad navigating through the settings pages is a complete and utter ballache now that you have to expand multiple areas which means constantly moving the mouse all over the screen.
Shite. There’s no other way to say it. The widgets bar is completely and utterly shite. At the top you are FORCED to have the weather, stock exchange, and a news thing (currently about euro 2020 in my case) you cannot remove them, you cannot drag them.
I’m sure the stock exchange will be great for all those 12 yr olds. 😒
As for the news section, you can at least select whether you want to see certain things, remove certain publications. I presume, but haven’t checked, that the news you see will be based on your interests set in your Microsoft account profile.
Another issue with widgets is that you cannot set the default app for opening them, you are stuck with Edge. While the new Edge is a perfectly good Chromium browser (in fact on a test I ran in win10 I found it performed faster than Chrome and Firefox), some people would obviously rather have the ability to open these links in their prefered browser.
So what do I Like:
I love the new options when minimising a window. Many times I have found myself wanting more than just the dual split, so having multiple default options is great.
The new icons for folders. Nothing much to say, I just like them.
And the rest? Meh. All the other changes I have come across so far are just there. I neither like them or hate them. Right now I am annoyed by the centred taskbar (yes I know I can move it back to the left) but it’s mainly due to force of habit, i’ve been a daily windows user since 1998, that’s a long time habit of going down to the left hand side to break.
If I am honest a lot of Windows 11 seems to be change for changes sake rather than actual legitimate reasons. There’s nothing really “Hell no, I’m skipping Win11, ew” nor is there any “Oooh this is awesome! I want win11 ASAP!”
It’s really just an “I’ll update because it’s free, but I won’t be going out of my way to install it.” As far as I can tell, the only reason for it to be 11 is so they can try and force made up hardware limitations and force TPM that they couldn’t do if it stayed as 10. Let’s be honest, it’s not like a regular person would be stupid enough to use bitlocker when there are far more and better security options out there.
In conclusion, windows 11 is looking to be a decent OS and may well break the cycle of good / bad / good / bad releases. There’s no real wow factor, but nothing really to make me avoid it.
While I have no intention of installing the insider builds on my daily PC, I currently have no qualms about it when it drops to the general public. Of course this is an early build, and who knows what changes may happen between now and full release.