What’s new in Windows 11 ?
At a conference on June 24, 2021, Microsoft lifted the veil on its all-new Windows 11, which will be launched in final version at autonomous 2021. “Windows is 35 years old. This represents decades of innovation. In recent months, interest in communication has increased. The OS has become a tool for personal relationships, remote collaboration and training. It is with this in mind that we created Windows 11, ” said Panos Costa Panay, Microsoft’s chief product officer, in the introduction to the conference.
The design and experience of Windows 11 has been simplified to drive productivity and inspire creativity. The graphic theme of the OS is much clearer than that of Windows 10, with blue continuing to predominate. As in Windows 10, a dark theme is also available.
- A Start menu in the center
The Start menu is still there, but we find it in the center of the desktop. Compared to that of Windows 10, it gains readability. Exit the heavy rectangular and animated application tiles. Now transparent and with rounded corners, the Start menu icons are more spaced from each other. The user will obviously be able to pin them according to his preferences. The interface seems to be modeled after that of macOS. If the user wants to return to the historical ergonomics of Windows, he has the option to replace the Start button and the taskbar icons on the left of the screen.
Under pinned applications, the menu shows the latest files used within the Microsoft 365 suite, regardless of the user’s device where they were created (Windows, iOS, or Android). As for the task manager and the old control panel, they are still present.
- Increased multitasking
On the productivity side, Windows 11 improves multitasking. It allows, via the Snap Layouts function, to display simultaneously on the screen up to three application windows side by side by choosing the desired layout (see mounting below). As for the Snap Groups device, it allows to return to an arrangement already used through the taskbar.
In one click, the user will be able to save the layout in question in a virtual office to transmit it from his workstation to his laptop or tablet. As on Windows 10, it will be able to create as many virtual desktops as necessary, for home, for work, for children…
- Microsoft Teams integration
Another surprise, Microsoft Teams is integrated with Windows 11. The tool appears as a simplified interface accessible from the OS taskbar. It integrates chat, but also audio and video calls, not to mention multi-person video conferencing. It will most likely be the free version of the video conferencing solution.
- Information widgets
Windows 11 also introduces information widgets: weather, stock market, news… Nestled in a retractable side panel, they can be arranged according to the interest of the user, but also refer to applications such as the calendar or the task manager. A new distribution opportunity for content publishers.
- A new game engine
With Windows 11, Microsoft does not forget gamers. Like Windows 10, the OS obviously supports DirectX 12 Ultimate which allows for immersive graphics at high frame rates. In addition, Microsoft integrates two technologies from its Xbox console: Direct Storage, which accelerates the loading speed of games and reduces latency, and Auto HDR, which introduces high-resolution streaming regardless of the game.
- A redesigned marketplace that integrates Android apps
With Windows 11, Microsoft is remaking the Microsoft Store. And not only in terms of the graphical interface. The marketplace will now include both apps, but also games or movie offerings (including third-party ones like Disney+).
Alongside UWP applications from Windows 10 and progressive web app, the marketplace will include older-generation Windows software (Win32), and especially Android applications downloadable via the Amazon appstore. This is one of the biggest surprises. For publishers, it will no longer be necessary to pay a commission to Microsoft to be present in the marketplace. The Redmond company is striking a big blow here.
“We are building a Windows for the next decade, a development and delivery platform with new business model possibilities for content, application and game publishers,” says Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
When is the release of Windows 11 ?
Windows 11 will be available in final version at standalone 2021. Microsoft’s goal is to ensure that the new lines of PCs and tablets marketed for Christmas 2021 by manufacturers are equipped with the new OS.
Windows 11 will be embedded on products from Dell, HP, Lenovo or Samsung, but also on tablets and PCs of the Microsoft Surface brand. The group says that the OS has been optimized for the latest generations of processors: AMD Ryzen, Intel 11th generation and Intel Evo processors, Qualcomm powered by AI, not to mention ARM processors.
Is Windows 11 free ?
Windows 11 will be free for users of Windows 10, Windows 8 and Windows 7. The migration from these old versions to the new one will take place in the form of an update available from early 2022.
Of course, Windows 11 will lead to the release of new PCs and tablets with the new operating system. The price of the OS will then be included in the price of the terminals.
Is my PC compatible with Windows 11 ?
The minimum hardware requirements required to run Windows 11 are as follows :
A 1 GHz 64-bit processor with two or more cores (or a system-on-chip)
4 GB Ram,
64 GB storage,
A DirectX 12 / WDDM 2 graphics card.x,
A 9-inch HD screen.
Why is Windows 11 hardware requirements controversial ?
To run Windows 11, processors must support TPM 2.0 (or Trusted Platform Module). A technology that is designed to limit crashes through the support of a new Windows driver standard, while ensuring system compatibility with existing applications. The other side of the coin : it leaves a large number of machines aged 3 to 4 years at the side of the road.
As for the models of processors supported by Windows 11, Microsoft has released a list that is limited to AMD and Intel processors of the latest generation. This did not fail to make headlines on social networks. In a post published on June 28, the publisher nevertheless wants to reassure. “We are confident that devices running on Intel 8th generation and AMD Zen 2 processors as well as Qualcomm 7 and 8 series will meet our security and reliability principles and the minimum system requirements for Windows 11,” the Windows team explains. “In partnership with our OEM partners, we will conduct tests to identify devices running on Intel 7th generation and AMD Zen 1 processors that could meet our principles.”
Windows 11 gives the option to return to a home screen on the model of Windows 10. © Tom Warren
Windows 11 gives pride of place to the evolutions envisaged for Windows 10X. Originally intended for terminals with double folding touch screen that would be released in 2022, Microsoft finally announced the cancellation of this product strategy. In a post published on May 18, the group had indicated “wanting to accelerate the integration of 10X technology with other parts of Windows and other products”. John Cable, vice president of program management Windows Servicing and Delivery, said: “Some (of 10X) was already reflected in the latest developments in Windows 10, for example the new application container technology that we are integrating with Microsoft Defender Application Guard, as well as an improved voice input experience and a modernized touch keyboard with optimized key sizing, sounds, colors, and animations.”
How does Windows 11 work in tablet mode ?
With Windows 11, Microsoft is clearly trying to unify desktop mode and tablet mode of the OS. Auto-adaptive depending on the size of the screen and its touch character, the taskbar is unique in both modes. The other side of the coin : the management of windowing in touch mode is heavier and less easy to handle.
On the other hand, we note a fluidity of animations that brings the tablet mode of Windows 11 to that of iPad. The transition from portrait to landscape is noticeably faster. In addition, the OS now handles the overlay of application windows, which was not present in Windows 10. Users can now stack windows on top of each other for multitasking. Finally, voice input, which is very useful in mobility situations, has also been improved.
Windows 11: what change for developers ?
Microsoft introduit dans Windows 11 une solution visant à concilier sa technologie applicative d’ancienne génération (Win32), qui était celle de Windows 7, avec Universal Windows Platform (UWP), introduit avec Windows 8. Baptisée Project Reunion, elle équipe Win32 d’API permettant de réutiliser des développements réalisés dans ce mode au sein des applications modernes UWP sans avoir à recoder.
Comme indiqué plus haut, Windows 11 prend en charge les applications Android. C’est la principale surprise de cette nouvelle version. Pour les exécuter, Microsoft a intégré à l’OS un sous-système Android sur le modèle du sous-système Linux déjà présent dans Windows. Nichées dans des machines virtuelles compatibles avec la technologie AOSP (pour Android Open Source Project), les applications Android ne nécessiteront pas d’accéder à Google Play pour fonctionner. Microsoft proposera dans un premier temps une sélection d’applications Android téléchargeables via l’AppStore d’Amazon.
Comment télécharger Windows 11 ?
La première bête de Windows 11 est disponible (Build 22000.51). Pour la télécharger, il suffit de s’abonner au programme Windows Insider sur le site de l’éditeur. Autre possibilité : se rendre via Windows 10 dans les menus Paramètres > Mises à jour et Sécurité > Programme Windows Insider, puis activer le canal Insider Preview. L’OS vous guidera ensuite en fonction des spécifications matérielles de votre machine. Cette bêta permet d’expérimenter l’ensemble des nouveautés annoncées par Microsoft lors de la conférence du 24 juin (voir-ci-dessus), mais aussi d’accéder à une version du nouveau Microsoft Store qui accompagne le nouvel opus.
La version finale de Windows 11 sera intégrée aux nouvelles versions de terminaux et tablettes Windows qui seront commercialisées à partir de l’automne 2021. Les utilisateurs de Windows 10 pourront ensuite en bénéficier gratuitement sous la forme d’une mise à jour début 2022. Seule condition: être équipé d’une machine avec la configuration requise. Pour les utilisateurs de Windows 7, Microsoft devrait mettre à disposition un assistant de mise à jour comme il l’a fait avec Windows 10.
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