ICYMI: Microsoft’s Windows 11 Release Event – TLDR Version

Rafia Shaikh
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Microsoft introduced us to the next generation of Windows today, borrowing elements from the now-shelved Windows 10X, but calling it Windows 11. Through this release, the company is focusing on design changes and improvements more than the functionality of the OS. Missed the event updates or feel like it's way too much information to go through? Here are the top highlights.

Windows 11 features and significant changes

  • Centered Taskbar and Start Menu.
  • Taskbar is fixed to the bottom and can't be moved elsewhere (we are hoping this changes as the development process progresses).
  • An improved File Explorer design (nothing radical).
  • OS features glassy transitions, new animations, and rounded corners.
  • New Microsoft Store, which will also go live for Windows 10.
  • Android apps are finally here!
  • The company says Windows 11 is built for gaming: DirectX 12 Ultimate, DirectStorage (1TB SSD required), and Auto HDR are all coming.
  • Xbox Game Pass is being integrated into the OS.
  • New Chat app powered by Microsoft Teams.
  • Teams is integrated into the Windows 11 Taskbar.
  • Snap Layouts: Windows 11 allows you to quickly snap apps into different modes.
  • Widgets get a prime spot.
  • Improved touch gestures for a better 2-in-1 experience.
  • Quick Actions are now Quick Settings.
  • New out of box experience (OOBE).
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Windows 11 Build 22000.65
Microsoft Store v22107.1401.9.0
Windows 11 Widgets
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What else to know about today's announcement

Windows 11 release date for Insiders: Next week!

Windows 11 begins releasing for Insiders in the Dev Channel next week through Preview Builds. Thanks to new system requirements, however, you might not be able to get these builds. Check the details here to confirm what are the exceptions to these limitations.

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Release for the public: Fall, 2021

The general release begins later this year, with the company aiming for October. While new devices will ship with Windows 11 this holiday season, existing machines will have to wait since this will be a staggered release that could take over several months.

Finally, and probably most importantly, Microsoft is moving to a once-a-year upgrade process. This means unlike Windows 10, Windows 11 will only get a new feature update once every year, in the second half of the year. The operating system will receive regular monthly updates like Windows 10, focusing on quality improvements.

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