Windows 11 beta deep dive: new design, dark mode, and Start menu
11 time microsoft announced this new operating system just last week and now they’ve released a preview, build that anyone can go and grab and download and install onto their machines. Now, whether or not you should do that that’s entirely up to you but it’s kind of my job, so i’ve gone insta head and installed it on my desktop pc and i’m going to take you through a bunch of the new changes in windows. 11. So there’s a new start menu there’s, a new interface with all sorts of design changes, there’s a new store, there’s, a bunch of new new new and there’s some familiar stuff as well. So this is windows 11.. So the first thing: you’ll notice, when you first play around with windows 11. Is it centered the taskbar centered the start menu centered? Yes, it’s centered. It looks a lot like mac, os chrome os. That sort of thing like it really feels like you’re using an android phone like it’s a launcher. Basically, i can see all of my apps. I can go back and pin apps and i kind of don’t mind that, like i feel like it’s a lot more simplified and i feel like that is the big thing about windows. 11. i’ll go into all the design changes, but simplification and just the design tweaks that’s, the big thing you’re really going to notice the first time you use windows 11.. Now talking about design, tweaks let’s, take a look at the system.
Tray now before you’d have had a volume sort of fly out. That would be up the top here, but now microsoft’s kind of simplified it. You can control the volume from down here, there’s, airplane modes or quick settings you can get to or you can jump into the full settings interface here now look at settings. It looks completely different to windows. 10 settings there’s, a navigation bar down the side. I no longer have to sort of dig in like say you go into windows update. I can check my update history and i’m like okay. Let me just go check my bluetooth devices like i can really quickly get between sections now. This will take if you’re used to using windows. It will take a couple of hours to get used to it really kind of threw me off trying to work out where all the settings were, but as i’ve gotten used to it. I really like this, like i just really like where microsoft’s heading with this simplification, and i feel like you’ll, find this obviously elsewhere in windows 11. As well, now let’s, look at file explorer now file explorer used to have this sort of ribbon interface. That used to be very much like this now they’ve actually removed that for in favor of a command bar, and i think we’re going to see this sort of interface show up a lot more in windows – 11. it’s, not quite there everywhere. Just yet.
If i look at notepad, this uses like an old menu in system, but i think we’re going to see this show up a bunch and i kind of like it. It just feels again a lot more simplified. I don’t want to say the word simplified 100 times in this video, but really that’s kind of what it’s all about now. Another area that’s changed. Obviously the notification center as well or action centers microsoft calls it. So you get your notifications. You can obviously swipe those away easily you’ve got the calendar that pops out here. You can obviously shrink that so it’s a little bit more customizable there, but it just looks it just looks a lot better and if i dig back into the settings i can actually show you some of the ui changes here in the dark mode, so we’re. Obviously, in light mode now, if i go into like start and run, that will be all light mode. If i flick over to dark mode, it takes a few seconds for it to sort of like change. You’Ll notice that the settings panel will also change as well. Now i prefer the dark mode personally, so here we go we’re in dartmouth now, so this just looks a lot better. I just prefer the start menu here. Um file explorer obviously be dark as well. Um they haven’t quite put dark mode everywhere. I’D really like to see this in the run i’d like to see this in task manager and stuff like that, but hopefully that will come before this.
Actually ships and there’s also a bunch of different themes that microsoft’s added in here. So i can put this theme on, which is a default one, or maybe this one, and this this kind of shows off some of the subtleties to microsoft’s design here. So let me just show you if i hover over, like this orb here, you’ll see the color sort of shining through on the window. Here then immediately. If i switch away so say i bring up like settings, you’ll see that color is no longer there, but as soon as it’s in view the color is there. So it gives it that sort of like depth in the design. I kind of like that real subtlety of windows, 11. it’s, those real subtle changes that just makes it look and feel like new Music. So not everything is perfect in settings, so i was really hoping if i dug into stuff like the mouse settings and i wanted some additional mouse settings. It wouldn’t do this and throw me into this sort of like old interface of windows, and you know the control panel is still there, like. Obviously, i feel like that’s there, because microsoft wants people to be able to get to that stuff that they rely on. But i don’t like the way that it kind of shows you into this old interface. All these settings really should be in the settings by now and i’m. Not quite sure why they’re not now one of the other real big ui changes to windows 11 is widgets.
Now, instead of being buried in a task bar here, they’ve actually got their own button now and it slides out from the left. So you’ll see there’s a bunch of different widgets there’s weather widget there’s. You know i’m getting updates on the euro soccer games. There’S news. All that sort of stuff, i feel like we’re, eventually gon na get third party ones from developers, but they’re not quite there just yet, so you can choose from a bunch of microsoft ones. Now these windows widgets may remind you of windows vista, but you can’t actually grab these widgets and sort of drag and drop them on the desktop just yet i don’t know if that will come to windows 11 or not, but they’re kind of contained within their own System here and one of the things i really don’t like about this, though, is, if i click on the new section here, and i want to see one of these articles. It will throw me into microsoft edge, which isn’t my default browser, and it seems like microsoft – is not adhering to the default browser stuff. Here i really hate that and it’s actually a big part of the search as well so say i search for the verge like once again, i have chrome set as my default browser it’s going to throw me into edge now i kind of get why microsoft’s doing This because they want to force people into edge, but i feel like it’s really icky, and i really wish they wouldn’t do that and they would respect my browser defaults now beyond some of the surface level.
Ui work there’s, actually some really interesting, multitasking changes here. So obviously, in windows you’ve been able to sort of snap windows side by side in windows 10 and a bunch of different windows operating systems over the years, but microsoft’s gone a little bit of a step further here. So if i hover over the maximize button, you’ll see a bunch of different snap, layouts that’s. Basically, what microsoft’s, calling these and it’s really an easy and quick way of surfacing all the different sort of snap modes that windows has had for years and just making them really easy for people to discover them and use them. So look there’s this free by free, um, snap mode here, i’m gon na launch that up i’m gon na put paint here and i’m gon na put xbox here and there you go immediately. I’Ve got free, apps side by side, and i can obviously snap these back into place where they were minimize them all that sort of stuff. It just makes things a lot more accessible, there’s. Also, a bunch of gaming improvements in windows. 11. i’ll talk you through some of those. Now this is the new xbox app i say new, but it’s actually been around for sort of six months. You might recognize it if you’ve been using it on windows 10, either way you get access to game pass. All your social stuff and obviously the store as well and it’s, basically the sort of like hub for the xbox stuff.
So eventually it will have xcloud integration, so you’ll be able to stream xbox games to your pc that’s, not there quite yet, but this is what’s there right now. Another feature they bring from the export side is direct storage, which will speed up all of your game load times on compatible games. Now you’ll need an nvme, pcie, three or four ssds just really take advantage of this, and i don’t believe it’s quite there in the preview build yet so we’ll have to see how that works out. Dynamic refresh rate is a new windows 11 feature and it basically lets your device refresh at dynamic rates. So what that means is can be really important on laptop, so imagine, you’ve got 120 hertz display. Microsoft will actually dynamically alter that, so you might be running at 60 hertz the majority of the time, but it will shoot up to 120 hertz when you’re doing stuff, like inking or you’re, scrolling and stuff. Like that, what that does is it saves battery Music? Okay? So up next is the microsoft store. Ah, yes, the microsoft store. The windows store windows, app store, whatever you want to call it it’s, getting massively overhauled in windows 11.. So, as you can see, this is the brand new store here and it looks a lot different to the windows. 10, one there’s a obviously an app section, there’s a gaming section, an entertainment section, but really it’s been sped up. It looks a lot better and the big key thing is that you might actually get some apps in here that you care about.
So microsoft is allowing developers to add in win32 apps. So i think we’re going to see a bunch of like desktop apps appear in this store in the coming months. Winzip’S there today, there’s a bunch of pwas as well. Microsoft is allowing those in the store. So i think we’re going to see some pretty interesting. Apps appear here and obviously adobe’s on board as well. One of the other key changes to the store is that microsoft is allowing developers to bring their own commerce agents to the store. Now what this means is they can keep 100 of their revenue if they do. This so they use their own payment platform system or a third party one and they don’t have to pay microsoft. A penny i think that’s huge, and it could mean we see a bunch of new apps that we haven’t seen. But here before microsoft has been a lot more open with this store and i think that’s great for developers and end consumers. At the end of the day. Hopefully, we’ll see a bunch of new apps and maybe some familiar storefronts like. I really hope that we see steam games and apps appear in here, maybe if it just links out to steam, i don’t care. I just want this to be a central location where i can just get all the apps i actually care about, and speaking of the store, there’s a big missing part of this that we can’t test just yet and it’s android apps on windows.
That was a huge announcement when microsoft made that last week, they’re going to be running alongside windows, apps, so you’ll be able to side by side these applications, just as if they were windows apps. So what you’ll be able to do is you’ll be able to go into the store and search for something like tiktok and you might find like the android version of it it’ll say: go out to the amazon app store like. I think this is a big deal beyond just the android apps as well, because i feel like it’s going to mean that microsoft’s going to open their store up to rival app stores. Now i know a bunch of you are probably watching this thinking. Why do i need android apps on my windows, pc and, i think, that’s a fair point, but there are some apps like home automation, apps, like ring and stuff that just aren’t available on the web, and i feel like just getting those android apps on my pc. There’S, probably only one or two that i really care about, but it’d be really nice to have them on a pc. Speaking of other things that are missing from this preview, build the microsoft teams integration. So that was also another big deal that microsoft announced last week and we can’t quite test it just yet, but basically what it’s going to mean is microsoft? Teams is going to be integrated into the taskbar, so you can like right.
Click send someone a message or start a video call them all that sort of stuff. Now this is only integrated for consumers at first and not commercial customers, so i’m, not sure exactly when that’s gon na arrive for commercial customers in windows 11. – and i think one thing that microsoft teams getting integrated into windows 11 says about microsoft. Is i don’t know what’s going to happen with skype like that used to be bundled with windows 10 and now it’s, not so bye by skype, Music? There are some questions that remain around windows. 11, though, can microsoft create a consistent ui across the os? How will android apps run and, most importantly, will your pc even get windows? 11 microsoft doesn’t seem to be able to answer exactly what the minimum requirements will be for windows 11, pcs just yet now. We’Ve obviously got months of testing to go so some things will change, but it really feels like microsoft’s trying to strike a tricky balance between security and the traditional openness of windows. I think between now and october, which is when we’re expecting microsoft, to launch windows. 11. We’Re going to hear a bunch more about this new operating system and i’m hoping we’re going to see some surprises along the way and just some general improvements to what’s already looking like a pretty solid foundation: Music. Okay, thanks for watching our first look at windows, 11 we’ve also been covering a bunch more of this at theverge.