Microsoft is back with a new operating system, and this time it feels different. Windows 11 is officially rolling out starting October 5, and if you have purchased a new Windows PC recently, chances are it will be compatible with the new operating system.
Windows 11 isn’t an iterative update; it’s an overhaul of the most popular desktop operating system in years. The shift from Windows 10 to Windows 11 may look subtle but there’s a lot to like about what Microsoft has achieved with the new OS.
New Windows 11 Features You Should Check Out!
1. New Start Menu
Of all the new Windows 11 features, the new launcher-style floating Start Menu is the most distinctive part of Microsoft’s next-gen desktop OS. Unlike the traditional Start Menu, the new Start — as Microsoft is calling it — sits right at the center of the taskbar.
It has a flyout design with pinned and recommended apps accompanying each other. So far in my usage, the recommendations are pretty good. It quickly offers me access to documents, photos, and apps I have recently installed.
2. New Action Center
My second favorite feature of Windows 11 is the revamped Action Center. It follows a design language that we have seen on mobile OS’s and I quite like this mobile-first approach to important system toggles.
You can now simply click on the unified “WiFi, volume and battery” button to open the new Action Center. It packs all the necessary controls, including brightness and volume sliders. You can also add more toggles like before.
What’s more interesting is that the Bluetooth connection is now much faster, and you don’t need to dive into Settings to pair your device. It also houses the notifications in a clean design with badge support and offers ample space to reply or clear the clutter.
3. New Media Control
Yeah, you can now control all your media playback from the new Action Center on Windows 11. No matter if you are playing a YouTube video, Spotify playlist, a Twitter clip, or a local video, everything shows up in the Action Center.
With the new music control, you can finally change track and pause/resume the audio content directly from Windows Action Center.
4. Android Apps Support in Windows 11
A major highlight of Windows 11 is that it can now run Android apps powered by the Amazon App Store. However, Android app support has not been rolled out in the stable Windows 11 build.
Microsoft has confirmed that the option to install Android apps will arrive in the upcoming builds. But wait, there’s more. The best part is that you can even sideload APKs on your Windows 11 PC.
How cool is that?
As for the implementation, Microsoft has taken the same approach as WSL 2 (Windows Subsystem for Linux). That means Android apps will run natively on Windows 11, and the system performance will be pretty good.
Not to mention, Android apps will run both on Intel and AMD processors, irrespective of the Intel Bridge technology that brings this amazing feature to life.
5. Snap Layout & New Multitasking Features
Snapping was already great on Windows 10, but Microsoft has taken it a notch further with easier Snap Assist. This new feature is called as Snap Layouts.
Now, when you hover your mouse pointer over a window’s maximize button, you will find various layouts for how you want to position the window.
You can also invoke the snap layout option with the “Win + Z” Windows keyboard shortcut. If you use a large monitor, this will help maximize your productivity.
Similarly, the Timeline feature has been removed in Windows 11, and you now have a clean Task View where you can add as many desktops as you want.
I like the fluidity while creating a new desktop. Overall, both features are quality additions to Windows 11 and elevate the multitasking experience.
6. Widgets Menu
One of the new and updated features in Windows 11 is the widgets menu, an assortment of bite-sized info boxes accessible from the redesigned taskbar.
It’s interesting to see how much Microsoft is indulged in mobile-driven design for its next-gen desktop OS. With Windows 11 widget feature, you can find all kinds of information with just a click.
The experience is similar to the “news & interests” feature already available on Windows 10. However, instead of flying out from the Taskbar, the new feature has a different interface and flies out from the left side of the screen.
You can check out the latest news, your personal photos pulled from OneDrive, sports scores, stock prices, and much more.
The widget section is also customizable, and you can personalize it as per your interest.
7. New Your Phone App
Since its release in 2018, Microsoft has continuously improved the Your Phone app, but after the stable Windows 11 release, it seems a new redesigned version of Your Phone has come to Windows 11 with the stable release.
Recently, during the Surface event, a new version of the Your Phone app was teased, and it’s built on the Windows 11 aesthetics to match the rest of the UI.
While the existing version of Your Phone app supports launching Android apps from your phone, but it’s only limited to flagship Samsung phones.
We hope that the new Your Phone on Windows 11 brings app mirroring to all Android phones.
8. New MS Paint & Photos
One of the best things about Windows 11 is that Microsoft is not just re-skinning the OS to the new Fluent UI, along with rounded corners and Mica material, but the company is also showing similar effort to redesign its first-party apps.
Microsoft has overhauled one of its oldest apps, Paint, to the new design language, and it looks beautiful. The recent Windows 11 Dev build brought the new Paint app and it syncs with the rest of the UI elements.
Furthermore, the Photos app has also been updated with rounded corners and new features such as side-by-side comparison, floating toolbar, smart categorization, and a lot more.
A new “filmstrip” now appears at the bottom of the photo viewer that shows all the items from a location and allows you to quickly jump around your photos directly within the viewer.
9. Voice Typing
Voice Typing is among my favorite Windows 11 features as it makes typing much easier and acts as a great accessibility tool.
You just need to press the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut “Win + H“, and you can dictate whatever you want to write.
It is quickly accessible and can be used on any application or website wherever you are required to write or type something.
10. Focus Sessions (Bonus)
Focus Sessions is one of the best new features of Windows 11 as it brings something new to Microsoft’s desktop OS, similar to what we have seen on smartphones. To be productive on Windows 11, Microsoft wants users to utilize the dedicated Focus Sessions feature in the Alarms and Clock app.
You can link your Microsoft To-Do list to manage your tasks and integrate Spotify to listen to your favorite music during work.
It also reminds you to take a break after long hours of work, lets you set timers so that you remain disciplined to the task, and brings a helpful dashboard to keep track of your progress.
What I love the most is that there is a widget as well for Focus Sessions, which you can place on the desktop for quick glancing.
Important: You should verify that your device meets minimum system requirements before you choose to boot from media, because it will allow you to install Windows 11 if you have at least TPM 1.2 (instead of the minimum system requirement of TPM 2.0), and it will not verify that your processor is on the approved CPU list based on family and model of processor.
2. Click the download button and follow the on-screen instructions.
After that, accept the EULA (End User Licensing Agreement) to begin the installation process.
4. Follow the subsequent prompts and start enjoying Windows 11.
Once the installation is complete, you should find all of your files and applications in the same place you left them before the update. Some may sport a new look (those rounded edges on apps and folders look nice, don’t they?) but everything should function as you remember.
So these are the new Windows 11 features that I discovered over the last few months.
As this is the first stable release and Android app support is yet to be added, there are some features yet to be explored.
So stay tuned as we bring you more in-depth content around Windows 11 over the coming weeks.
Which is your favorite Windows 11 feature? Let us know in the comment section below.