Windows 11 new features: Everything you need to know

Windows 11 new features

Windows 11 is a new version of Windows and it is now rolling
out to supported PCs with several new features/improvements.

Windows 11 started rolling out on October 5 and Microsoft has
also published
Windows 11 ISO images. Unlike previous Windows 10 updates,
this new operating system focuses on consumer-facing features
and improvement, certainly more than the relatively low-key
Windows updates released in the past few years.

Software compatibility remains unchanged with Windows 11, which
means older apps should still work. As usual, you’re going to
need new versions of some apps and tools to get the most out of
Windows.

List of new features in Windows 11

Here are all the new Windows 11 features that we know of.

1. Start Menu

Windows 11 comes with a brand new Start Menu and taskbar
experience, as you see in the below screenshots.

The live tiles have been replaced by icons, similar to Android
and iOS. You can still switch back to the left-aligned Start
Menu, and apply accent colour to customize the look and feel of
the OS.

2. Windows Widgets

Windows widgets

Microsoft is bringing Windows Vista gadgets-like widgets to the
desktop. This will allow users to view their Microsoft Newsfeed
on the desktop and get daily updates on weather and traffic.

3. New Windows Store

Windows Store on Windows 11

Microsoft is introducing a new app store for Windows 11 and
Windows 10. It has been redesigned to help users discover and
install their favourite apps, games, movies and more.

Several desktop apps, including Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft
Teams, TikTok, Notepad and Paint are now available in the
Store.

4. Windows Clipboard

Microsoft is redesigning the Windows Clipboard panel with a new
panel for inserting GIFs and emoji into your apps. Instead of
searching for GIFs and emoji online, you can press Win+V to
launch Clipboard manager and select or search material via an
in-menu search bar., as shown in the below screen.

Windows 11 Clipboard

Windows Clipboard is also getting a new feature called “paste
as plain text”. As you’re probably aware, Windows 10 currently
retains the formatting of text content when it is copied from a
web page or mail. If you paste the content in another app like
Word, you’ll find the formatting misaligned.

In Windows 11, users can open the clipboard menu (Win + V) and
paste the content as plain text, removing all unwanted
formatting.

5. New touch keyboard

Microsoft is finally redesigning the touch keyboard on Windows!

As part of the redesign, you can switch between multiple
keyboard layouts. When undocked, Windows lets you switch to a
small keyboard layout, which can be moved across the screen
easily.

There’s a new “gripper region” at the top of the keyboard. You
can tap and hold the gripper region to easily move the
keyboard around the desktop and apps. Microsoft has also
updated small and split layouts, and there’s a new settings
menu for improved clarity and focus on important tools.

Touch keyboard on Windows 11

The touch keyboard has been an important part of Windows since
Windows 8, but it has never received additional customization
options. Windows 11 is making the touch experience better, and
the company is also introducing support for keyboard
backgrounds.

Under C:WindowsWebtouchkeyboard, you’ll find eight new
backgrounds for the keyboard, each offered with light and dark
variants.

The Windows Settings app is also getting a new keyboard
settings page to help users to the colours and size of the
keyboard.

6. New Task View and Virtual desktops experience

With Windows 11, Microsoft is redesigning the Task View screen
with new controls for Virtual Desktops.

By default, the taskbar has the Task View button and you can
click on it to launch the task view. As the name suggests, Task
View lets you see all the open windows on your desktop,
including windows that are minimized or maximized.

Windows 11 Task View

Task View feature also supports “multiple desktops”, which are
a great way to separate tasks. On Windows 11, you
rename, reorder and customize the backgrounds for each of
your virtual desktops.

For example, you can use one virtual desktop for work items and
one for personal stuff like streaming. You can create as many
virtual desktops as you want, but you probably won’t need more
than two or three.

As mentioned, you can now also change the background of virtual
desktops. To change the background, open Settings app >
Personalization > Background. On the next screen, left-click
a background and change the background for the active virtual
desktop. You’ll see the background in the preview thumbnail in
Task View.

7. Captions and Camera settings

Microsoft is introducing improvements for the captions settings
in Windows 11. You can find the new controls within Settings
> Ease of Access > Hearing > Captions.

We’ve been testing an early build of the operating system and
we also found a new webcam setting in Settings > Devices
> Camera. The new webcam setting lets you configure the
webcam connected to the device. This includes an external and
built-in camera of your laptop/desktop.

From there, you can now adjust the brightness and contrast of
the webcam to improve image quality. Previously, webcam
customization was only possible through the third-party apps as
Windows never webcam settings page.

There’s another new feature that will reveal when your webcam
is used by apps such as Discord, Skype, Teams, etc. An icon on
your taskbar system tray will alert you when the camera is
being used in the background.

8. Improving the Bluetooth audio experience

Microsoft is adding new features to the Bluetooth audio tool to
streamline the wireless audio experience and offer better
control.

With Windows 11, Microsoft is unifying the audio endpoint,
which means can now switch between mic and speaker without
manually changing the audio endpoints. By default, Windows will
expose only one endpoint in the taskbar and it will switch to
the correct endpoint automatically.

This will ensure that you have a seamless experience when
switching between apps like Spotify and Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft is also introducing support for AAC codec,
which enables premium audio streaming quality on your Bluetooth
headphones like AirPods.

9. New Display setting

Microsoft is adding new controls to display the settings page
of Windows. For example, we’re getting a new “Content adaptive
brightness control (CABC)” option that can be turned off to
improve image quality.

As you’re probably aware, some devices use CABC technology to
improve battery performance, but the problem with the feature
is that it decreases image quality. In fact, it can even result
in annoying brightness changes and affect colour accuracy.

Fortunately, you can now turn off CABC in the Display settings
via Settings > System > Display.

Under the “Advanced display settings” page, Microsoft is
introducing a new HDR certification section to educate users
about HDR displays. On this page, your display’s HDR
certifications will be shown.

Initially, this works with select Dolby Vision and VESA
DisplayHDR models only, so you may not see the HDR
certification after updating.

10. File Explorer Layout Update

The default layout of classic File Explorer has been updated
with additional padding to improve the touchscreen experience.

If you prefer the old layout, Microsoft has added a new option
called “Use compact mode,” which can be accessed from Folder
View Options. When you turn on the feature, it will restore the
classic layout and remove the extra padding.

Microsoft previously said that the extra padding is designed
for better consistency with modern Windows features. Since
tablet mode has been removed, the UX for the existing interface
is getting updated to make it easier to work with your
files/folders when using a touch screen.

File Explorer redesign refresh

Microsoft is refreshing the orientation of the folder icons and
the default file type icons. These folders include Desktop,
Documents, Downloads, and Pictures. Recycle Bin icon has
also been updated.

We’re getting some rounded corners within the Explorer. For
example, the right-click (context menu) has been updated with
rounded corners and a Fluent Design-like shadows effect.

File Explorer now features a new header experience called
“command bar” and it supports Windows 11’s Mica material, which
applies desktop background and accent colour to the header.

11. Change file type from Settings

The new Windows Settings app will finally improve the ‘Choose
default apps’ menu. By default, Windows is aware of apps that
can open certain file types and the operating system configures
the apps for your file types automatically.

Usually, it works great, but the automatic process can
sometimes choose the wrong app or you may have accidentally
selected the wrong app in the “open with” pop-up menu. Up until
now, that manual process of changing file type from the “open
with” menu has been annoying.

Microsoft has made some changes to Windows 11’s search engine
to help improve performance when the operating system is
scanning the lists of available file types, protocols, and apps
on your system.

The new Settings app will finally allow users to easily find
the file type or apps you’re looking for. This little fix could
prove helpful to anyone who has struggled when changing the
default apps for certain file types.

12. Storage health monitoring

Windows 11 can now monitor the storage health of NVMe SSDs and
notify users when their data is at risk.

This feature can be found in the Settings app and it has been
designed to detect hardware abnormalities for NVMe SSDs. If
issues are detected with your drive, a notification will appear
to remind users that it’s time to act. The notification will
urge users to back up and start the recovery process.

13. Optimize Drives tool is getting better

With Windows 11, some legacy features like “Optimize Drives”
are also getting minor improvements.

For example, we’re getting a new “Advanced View” checkbox that
will display your hidden volumes. There’s another new checkbox
“Current status” that will have more details when volumes are
not available for defrag.

14. New emoji

Microsoft is also introducing new emoji designed to
support Emoji 12.1 and 13.0.

Microsoft has added over 200 new glyphs. These include bubble
tea emoji, a smiling face with a tear, a ninja, and more. As
part of the Windows update, the OS now features a
gender-neutral emoji design.

The existing emojis are also getting a visual makeover to
improve consistency across Microsoft products.

15. New fonts

Microsoft is updating the default font UI Segoe across the
system. As part of the revamp, you will notice new Segoe Fluent
Icons in apps like Settings and Control Panel. Segoe MDL2
assets, which are used for Store and Start Menu, will include
the new icon designs with rounded corners and a unified look.

Windows 10 new font UI

Windows update will also introduce a new Segoe UI variable to
optimize system fonts on all form factors including small to
larger display sizes. This new font technology will offer great
legibility at all sizes including small and large sizes

16. Improvements to Windows Sandbox

Microsoft is using Windows 10X technology to power both Windows
Sandbox and Microsoft Defender Application Guard. This new
special container technology is designed and optimized for
container scenarios, and it will significantly improve the
launch time of Windows Sandbox.

For those unaware, Windows Sandbox provides an isolated and
temporary virtual environment to download and run unknown and
malicious apps.

Additionally, Windows Sandbox has been updated with a new
Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser.

17. Bloatware removed

Windows 11 will also remove unnecessary apps and bloatware.

For example, 3D Viewer and Paint 3D will no longer be
pre-installed on Windows. If you want, you can find these apps
in the Store.

Microsoft has also removed Math Input Panel due to its low
usage. However, you can still use the input control and math
recognition engine by downloading and installing “Math
Recognizer” via Settings > Apps > Apps & features.

18. Legacy native apps are now updated via the Store

Apps like MS Paint, Windows Notepad and Snipping Tool can now
be updated via the Microsoft Store. These apps are now
updatable outside major Windows updates and Microsoft has also
refreshed the icons of the apps. Likewise, Paint has been
“promoted” and it has its own place in the Start Menu, outside
of the Windows Accessories folder.

Windows update retains the legacy snipping tool, which can now
be updated via the Microsoft Store.

19. Windows Tools

Microsoft is introducing a new “Windows Tools” folder that
would open in File Explorer with links to advanced apps, such
as PowerShell and Windows Accessories.

Microsoft is basically Organizing admin and system tools under
the Windows Tools folder. As part of this effort, Windows
PowerShell and other tools now been removed from Start > all
apps lists.

These tools can now be accessed via the Windows Tools folder.
Of course, you can still find PowerShell via Windows 11 Start
Menu to Windows Search. As part of this effort, Microsoft has
also moved File Explorer into its own place in the Start menu.

Upcoming features

Microsoft has removed some promised features from Windows 11,
but these improvements will be delivered later.

Android apps support

Android apps integration is now expected to arrive in 2022, but
testers in the Windows Insider program should receive beta
access in a few weeks.

Task Manager’s Microsoft Edge integration

Task Manager is our favourite tool for analyzing the
performance of a web browser like Edge and Chrome. Right now,
when you open Task Manager and Microsoft Edge or any other
browser is running in the background, you’ll see a long list of
‘Edge’ processes with the same name.

Currently, determining the most-resources hungry tab using Task
Manager is impossible and it’s likely that the user would end
up closing the whole browser when ending the process of a
certain tab or extension.

Windows 11’s upcoming version gives Microsoft Edge a great
advantage over other browsers, as these “processes” are now
properly organized in Task Manager. Every tab and other
processes will be named and organized under different
categories so you can tell which browser feature is taking up
the most resources.

At the moment, Task Manager will support the following browser
classifications:

  • Tabs.
  • Browser, GPU Process, Crashpad.
  • Utility plugins.
  • Dedicated & Service worker.

Each process will feature a separate icon or favicon to help
you identify the open tabs/webpage, including favicon for the
website.

Eco mode in Task Manager

Windows 11 will be getting a new ‘Eco mode’ for Task Manager to
give users greater control over running processes. In the new
Task Manager, you can right-click on an app and select “Eco
mode” to take action against the resource-hungry process.

When you use the feature, Windows will run the selected process
in the most power-efficient manner, which could result in
significant UI responsiveness on a busy processor.

When an app is suspended using Eco Mode, other apps will be
getting priority for system resources. This could result in
reduced CPU usage, which will improve the overall system
performance and offer better thermal performance.

To enable Eco mode for any process, use these steps:

  1. Open Task Manager > Processes tab.
  2. Right-click on a process.
  3. Select “Eco mode” in the context menu.

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