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A Look At What’s Changing In Windows 11

Technology Web & Mobile

Isadora Teich wrote this article


Microsoft is making a ton of big changes to some core apps in the next Insider Preview build of its upcoming operating system.

People who are running the latest Insider Preview should already be able to get these updates from the Windows Store App.

So, let’s take a look.

Some Cosmetic Changes

Their Mail, Calendar, and Calculator apps are getting some mostly aesthetic updates. The apps of Windows 8 and 10 have a very sharp and square look. 11 is going to prioritize a more soft and rounded look overall, and updating these apps will help them accomplish that.

Microsoft also says they will be utilizing Mica themes and more consistent Fluent Design elements.

There is also going to be a complete revamp of the Snipping Tool.

This will unify the features of the old tool and the Windows 10 Snip and Sketch app. This is good news, as it will fix something that users have often complained about. Before this update, users would often get an intrusive message telling them that the Snipping Tool is going away every time they opened it.

The new Snipping Tool will still have some of the features of the old one. For example, you can still use it to choose what kind of screenshot you want to take and whether you want to take it on a delay.

While previously, the interface of this tool was stuck in the days of Windows 7, it will now look more modern. Users will also still be able to access it via the keyboard shortcut Windows+Shift+S.

A Focus On “Color Hierarchy”

Windows 11 will introduce a brand new Mica effect. This will replace the Fluent Design’s acrylic effect for the apps’ window. Microsoft is trying to use color to help users focus on a primary window when multiple are open.

This is an interesting idea and it will be exciting to see how this color hierarchy idea looks and functions in practice. However, this new effect and all of the other updates will not occur at once.

This is because, according to Kevin Gallo, Head of Developer Platform at Microsoft:

“We’re coordinating across the company as we introduced a new Windows 11 Fluent look and feel. We want each app to kind of adopt it but they’re going to do that on their own schedule and their own cadence.”

Essentially, different teams all work to create different features with different functions at their own pace. We will see bits and pieces of Windows 11 come as they are deemed ready by Microsoft.

Timeline of Release

The new apps will be available to Windows Insiders on the less-stable Dev Channel to start. Microsoft actually began releasing Windows 11 builds to the somewhat more stable Beta Channel a few weeks ago. The general public will more or less have to wait until this upcoming holiday season.

If you really want to try them now, you can change your channel from the Windows Update section of the Settings app. However, it is important to note that these are currently unfinished versions that lack many of the bells and whistles they will have.

For example, Android apps support is not available yet and most of the inbox apps are missing the updated elements.

Generally, with Insider Preview Builds, Microsoft does not enforce new security measures at the start. This means that most computers that run Windows 10 will still be able to run the Windows 11 version of these updated apps.

Microsoft’s Claims About Windows 11

On their site, Microsoft says that Windows 11 is “a new Windows experience, bringing you closer to the people and things you love.”

They will offer a rejuvenated Start menu as well as more ways to connect with what and who matters to you in a natural and easy way. They say that Microsoft Edge and Widgets will help you organize and curate your user experience.

Microsoft has some tools to help users update or figure out if their machines can run Windows 11. Certain Windows PCs can upgrade for free, but not all of them.

Soon, they will also be rolling out the PC Health Check App in the future so users can check and see if their PCS meet the minimum requirements to run Windows 11.

Getting Windows 11 For Free

Microsoft has said that the Windows 11 upgrade will be free for some users, but not all. Cnet has actually found a way around this, so many users who want to upgrade to Windows 11 for free can do so.

Essentially, Windows 11 will only be available as a free upgrade to Windows 10 users.

So, if you are using an older operating system and have been dragging your feet about upgrading, now is a great time to get Windows 10. Anyone who is using systems older than Windows 10 will have to pay for Windows 11 if they want it. Microsoft actually ended support for Windows 7 over a year ago, so if you are still running that and experience an issue you may be out of luck.

Many people are likely still using older PCs or laptops that run Windows 7.

The Verge reports that at least 100 million people worldwide are still using it. While you can buy Windows 10 on Microsoft’s website for $139, there is a chance that you can also get Windows 10 for free. Microsoft has a free Windows 10 upgrade offer which technically ended in 2016, but many people are still using it.

As of June 2021, readers were still emailing Cnet saying that the offer works.

In this case, you can possibly upgrade to both Windows 10 and Windows 11 for free.

Final Thoughts

It is always interesting and exciting to see how exactly new updates come to be and how they work out.

While Apple tends to get most of the hype for its updates and new releases in the US, what Microsoft chooses to do has a way larger effect on the world. They are the dominant OS worldwide, with a market share of about 73% globally as of June 2021.

Are you looking forward to Windows 11? And if you are a PC user, what operating system do you currently use?

Comment below.

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