Microsoft views Windows 11 as a one-size-fits-all computing solution that works on laptops and desktops, as well as on touch screens, including tablets. Windows 11 looks and behaves almost the same on every device, and it brings a bonus: its apps and software will work on your Windows 11 tablet, PC, and laptop.
Besides aiming to run on everything but clock radios, Windows 11 brings these changes to your computer:
Start button and menu: Windows 11 moves the Start button and menu from its traditional lower-left corner to the center of the screen. The revamped Start menu sports a few rows of icons, but leaves out the animated tiles found in Windows 10. Look closely, and you’ll notice the Start menu now sports rounded corners, as do all other desktop windows.
Hardware requirements: Previous Windows versions worked fairly well on older PCs, even those up to ten years old. Windows 11 breaks that model, unfortunately. If your computer is older than three years, you probably won’t be able to upgrade it to Windows 11.
Settings app: Have you mastered Windows 10’s Settings menu? Erase that memory, because the new Settings app contains a new layout with new switches in new places.
Apps on the desktop: Apps, which are small programs from the world of phones and tablets, consumed the full screen in Windows 8 and 8.1. Windows 11 lets you choose whether to run apps full screen or within desktop windows. (Microsoft says Windows 11 will let you download and run apps designed for Android smartphones sometime in 2022.)
File Explorer: File Explorer, which lets you find, store, and manage files, receives a new, slimmed down look. The ribbon of menu options across the top has vanished, replaced by a single row of unnamed icons.
Teams Chat: When everybody jumped onto Zoom for video chats during the pandemic, Microsoft decided to push its own Teams app for people to hold online meetings. The chat portion of Microsoft’s Teams program now comes built into Windows 11.
Read more: Windows 11 touch commands
Your Phone: The newly revamped Your Phone app lets you send and receive your phone’s messages from the keyboard of your desktop PC, all wirelessly. You can browse your phone’s latest photos from your desktop, make phone calls, and even run apps.
Widgets: Widgets are simply a strip of little windows that update automatically to show the latest news, weather, or other informational tidbits. They leap onto the screen with a click on its taskbar icon.