There is something to be said for staying up to date. Windows 11 is the first major update to the main desktop operating system in seven years. When you upgrade to Windows 11, you get the latest technologies and interface designs. You also get capabilities and features that are only available in the latest version of the software. Even included apps get better versions! The underlying system code is also making strides that will leave you in the dust if you stick with older software.
Making a big change in operating systems, however, isn’t for everyone, and I’ve made my reservations about Windows 11 clear in previous articles. Don’t worry, because you have until 2025 to stick with Windows 10 if you want. In the meantime, here are some compelling reasons why you might want to make the switch sooner.
1. A more consistent interface
PC users no longer have to bow their heads when friends show them their macOS and Chrome OS user interfaces. Windows 11 is just as sleek, aside from the occasional old-fashioned Control Panel dialog. The window’s rounded corners, compact taskbar, and touchscreen design (sorry, Apple) are pleasing to the eye. It’s just prettier. And let’s not forget the new discreet and pleasant system sounds.
2. Improved included apps
The apps included in Windows 11 are better than those in Windows 10. A brand new Media Player app makes watching videos and listening to music and podcasts a better experience. Windows 11 users will also get Clipchamp (rolling soon), a simple template-based PWA video editor suitable for small businesses making videos for marketing and advertising. The Windows 11 Clock app deserves a special mention because of its useful new Focus Sessions feature that helps you focus on projects. The Photos app also includes surprisingly capable video editing, with some features not even found in Clipchamp. The Notepad, Paint, and Calculator apps have also been updated.
Taking screenshots in Windows 11 continues to improve, with plenty of great options. Microsoft has updated the clunky old Snipping Tool (accessible with Windows Key-Shift-S), which competes with the similarly named and superior Snip & Sketch app. The snipping tool lets you select rectangular or freehand areas, program windows, or the entire desktop. It then opens a mini-editor for cropping and markup. The screenshot tool also has a self-timer and built-in options for recording and sharing. You can still use the proven PrtSc key to save a screen image file to the clipboard or to OneDrive.
4. Instant Layouts for an Organized Desk
In Windows, you’ve always been able to arrange windows on the desktop however you like. Just when I thought there was no way to improve on Windows 10’s already excellent capabilities – which lets you snap a window to the side to fill exactly half the screen or to a corner to an exact quarter of the screen – Microsoft pops up with another window layout trick called Snap Layouts. When you hover over the maximize icon in the top right of any window, you get multiple layout choices in a thumbnail view. You can even save a layout for a group of apps that you want to reuse later in a single taskbar icon.
Windows 10 has a nifty News and Interests panel that appears on hover over the taskbar icon, but Windows 11’s widgets are more customizable. And soon, Windows 11 will support third-party information widgets. Many proprietary widgets are extremely useful: News, Weather, Sports, Traffic, Family Safety, Stock Quotes, Outlook Calendar, OneDrive Tasks and Photos. Your news feed is customizable by topics and sources. Microsoft also previewed a new feature for the Widget panel that lets you view it in full-screen mode.
6. Twice as resistant to malware
According to PCMag Senior Security Analyst Neil J. Rubenking, Windows 11 is ultra-secure. This is largely due to the requirement for a secure processor called Trusted Platform Module. (Despite the increase in security, this new requirement nevertheless raised concerns among many Windows commentators, as it meant that some older PCs would not be able to run the new operating system.) Rubenking notes that, according to Microsoft, “secure-core PCs are twice as resistant to malware infections.
7. Multiple improved workstations and monitors
New docking behaviors in Windows 11 make using a large external display more efficient. The operating system now remembers window locations on the connected monitor and minimizes them when you disconnect, rather than cluttering the small screen with application windows. New for multiple desktops is the ability to use different wallpapers on each one and a redesigned desktop switching interface.
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8. Run Android apps on your PC
Being able to run Android apps directly on your Windows 11 PC was a hot topic with the launch of Windows 11. Still, the capability has some limitations. You can only install apps through the Amazon AppStore or by downloading them, not through the largest source of Android apps, Google Play. PCMag’s Jason Cohen has put together a tutorial on how to run Android apps in Windows 11. You need an Amazon account, and supported apps are limited. Much more useful for me is Phone Link, which lets you see and run all apps on a nearby Android phone.
9. Gaming performance and HDR improvements
Windows 11 gets two improvements when it comes to using high dynamic range (HDR) color on your compatible display. You can turn it on or off through the Windows Game Bar, and a new Auto HDR feature will even save you that hassle. Another game improvement comes from the new DirectStorage feature, which allows games to load directly into video memory, bypassing the CPU for much faster game load times.
Do more with Windows 11
To get the most out of the new operating system, read our best tips and tricks for using Windows 11. Plus, follow all the latest news and coverage on our Windows 11 homepage.
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