There is no a lot of mystery left to Windows 11, thanks to a leaked last week. But there are still some outlines to shade, especially improvements to applications developed in-house by Microsoft, like Office and Game Pass. And whenever an operating system with over a billion users gets an upgrade, even small changes can have a big impact. Here’s how to watch for yourself on Thursday and what you can expect to see.
How to watch
The how to look part is pretty easy. The event begins Thursday, June 24 at 11 a.m.ET at Microsoft Events page. If that spits and stalls for you, try this YouTube feed instead.
But what could you see! Well, that’s not hard to fathom either, given that an early version has been leaked online in its entirety. This does not mean that all the secrets of Windows 11 have been revealed, especially since the changes so far appear largely aesthetic. But Microsoft probably still has a few surprises in store.
Windows to the future
In the meantime, however, the visual overhaul has some interesting nuggets. It seems to streamline a lot of what you’re used to from Windows 10, especially around the Start menu and taskbar. They’ve been moved to the bottom center of your screen, rather than the left side. (You can move them back if you prefer the current placement.) You will also no longer find a dedicated Cortana icon in the taskbar, which is just as good, as she was grabbing valuable real estate for little profit.
Once you open the Start menu, you’ll find simple app icons rather than the live dynamic tiles of Windows 10. It’s a cleaner and more minimal layout, though hide most of the menu under a separate button click. In an (dare we say) Apple-y touch, Windows 11’s file menus and apps will have more rounded corners. The Maximize button in app windows has been reworked to let you instantly align windows side by side or at corners. Windows 11 also comes with a new bloopy, says Tom Warren of The Verge startup sound and some pretty default wallpapers.
The Microsoft Store is also set to undergo an overhaul, though details on this are more unclear. Rumors of earlier this year indicate that Microsoft’s goal is to make the Store more attractive to developers. On the heels of the legal melee between Apple and Epic Games on App Store policies, Microsoft is keen to position yourself as the right guy and encourage developers on its platform. In any case, it’s clear that there is more news from Microsoft to come, both during its Windows 11 event and beyond.
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