Initial Thoughts

Windows 11 has some mighty big shoes to fill. Windows 10 is installed on over a billion active devices around the world and has done an admirable job cleaning up the mess that was Windows 8. Windows 11 comes along at a very different moment in time. It is also a fundamentally different upgrade than Windows 10 was. Microsoft’s goal with Windows 10 was to get as many people onto the new OS as possible, but Windows 11 clearly does not have that goal in mind.

While ultimately a facelift of Windows 10, Windows 11 both gives and takes away. The new interface is genuinely intuitive, well-designed, and colorful. But the new interface hides just how much customization and personalization Windows used to allow. In a very un-Microsoft stance, they are basically telling people that if they don’t like how something works, too bad. The company is known for bending over backwards to not remove functionality, but Windows 11 cuts out features with a hacksaw. Did you like the Timeline feature added in Windows 10? Sorry it is gone. Do you like your taskbar on the top? Unfortunately, you are not allowed to move it. Do you want to use a browser other than Microsoft Edge? Well, you can, but it is far more work to change the default than it used to be.

Perhaps these changes are a result of Windows losing mindshare. In the past, Windows was too big of a thing to change. With the rise of smartphones, maybe now is the first time the company has felt that they can make a clean(ish) break with the past. The new hardware requirements are also going to force a clean break, as a good number of Windows 10 devices will never be allowed to update to Windows 11.

That is of course an oversimplification. This is still Windows after all. If you really want to change something, there will be ways to do it. Buried beneath all the new UI goodies is the familiar Control Panel, as an example. Registry changes will be found. Programs have already been created to get around some of the silly customization limitations in Windows 11.

I’ve only a had a short time with Windows 11, and that is partially due to how short of a public beta that it got compared to Windows 10. Already there are some features that I really enjoy. The new interfaces are well thought out and easy to use. But for me, the true test is using a new version of the OS and then stepping back to an older version. How painful is it? How many of the new features do I miss? There is no single item right now that is a must-have, so swapping between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is not a huge deal. And that’s good because Windows 10 is going to be around for years to come still. Some of the biggest new features announced for Windows 11 won’t even be shipping until next year. Perhaps if and when they arrive that will make the difference.

Thankfully, there is no rush to upgrade. If you are interested in checking out Windows 11 and your computer meets the stringent hardware requirements, it will be available late this year as an update. For those that do not want to change, there is no need. At least not yet.

Docking And Security
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  • cc2onouui - Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - link

    Sorry.. this is where my comment should be

    Well I'm with you on the fact that android is a complete garbage compared to windows, Linux on the other hand is only a failure on a adoption, the OS have nothing to do, DirectX "and" MS support for windows apps developers is an important key factor, no matter what a superior Linux you build the users will not give up their games and apps library, games developers rarely consider Linux, the shitty android has a big store you can't ignore, a device with android installed is a shame on a compute machine, Apps stores density decides what share an OS will take, most people will buy even Xbox "one" instead of a cheaper PS5 if PS5 has only one game
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    ‘Linux has been a catastrophic failure, capturing only 2% market share’

    Consumers have been the failure, allowing monopolies and duopolies to shake them down with asinine releases like this one.
  • flyingpants265 - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    Agreed, but "consumers" are just normies, they are mostly the people you see working at Subway and commenting on YouTube. Increasingly moreso as people make more money and the internet is integrated more into everyday life. It's the eternal september again, v2 or v10 (not sure). Large companies make the decisions about what to put out, and consumers will buy and enjoy whatever they are told to buy (whatever's available, within certain limits). 99% of people well tell you "Heh heh I don't care" and some will make a big point about how pointless it is to spend your time worrying about this stuff, they just want an iPhone.
  • Oxford Guy - Wednesday, October 6, 2021 - link

    The humour is that the same thing that causes pseudo-communism to fail causes this pseudo-capitalism to fail.
  • AnnonymousCoward - Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - link

    I tried installing Linux on my desktop one time. The graphics barely worked, sound didn't work at all, and the Linux guru helping me couldn't easily figure it out and started searching on forums. I went back to Win95 and everything simply worked perfectly including WinAMP and music.
  • jtiller90 - Thursday, October 14, 2021 - link

    funny maybe you should try it again
    I have been trying linux kubuntu and installed steam and proprietary nvidia drivers and have been playing Doom Eternal with RTX enabled without any problems
    Strangely Kubuntu Plasma desktop looks very similar to win 10 and 11 if you want Apple style go with Ubuntu
    I also have Linux Manjaro with KDE plasma desktop and similar experiance to Kubuntu
    again playing most of my steam games witout degredation
    but this was not the case just 2 years ago.
  • relux - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    Although I’m not as over-the-top about disliking Windows, I also experienced the calculator no longer working around Windows 10 1903.

    It’s worth noting that Server 2016, 2019, and 2022 Datacenter are all available for free to students and faculty with a .edu email address through Azure, and I find these to be faster and more stable than the mainline Windows releases.

    However, on desktop systems with more than 64 logical processors, it’s worth noting that much otherwise “embarrassingly parallel” binary software cannot make use of the hardware due to Windows processor groups (and by extension the fact that legacy programs are not processor group aware). If these programs cannot be compiled again due to missing dependencies, etc. then Linux is the only viable option for exploiting this hardware. So, while Linux is a failure in the desktop market as you say, the underlying system is much more scalable than Windows has proven to be thus far.
  • coburn_c - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    Yeah it's a lot easier to break backwards compatibility when you don't really have any functionality worth saving.
  • Threska - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    Virtualization and VFIO are still a thing. One can gain the advantages of both OS.
  • flyingpants265 - Monday, October 4, 2021 - link

    How's 2022 datacenter?

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