Microsoft has officially announced a follow-up to Windows 10. Imaginatively titled Windows 11, it will continue the long-running Windows operating system lineup and will serve as a contradiction to Microsoft’s previous assertion that Windows 10 would be the final iteration of Windows. Of course, the tech giant has since said that Windows 10 was never meant to be the last version, but whatever the truth might be, the fact is that there’s a new edition of Windows on the way.
What’s not clear, however, is whether or not you should be excited for Windows 11. In many ways, it’s a bold leap forward for Microsoft and Windows, with lots of new quality-of-life features and minor visual redesigns coming to make the whole experience feel that little bit more user-friendly. In others, however, it’s a safe bet, so if you’re looking for a total overhaul, you’re not likely to find it here. So, should you be excited for Windows 11? Let’s break it down a little.
Windows 11 won’t reinvent the wheel
What we know of Windows 11 so far suggests that we’re not in for a radical change. Instead, Windows 11 will build on the visual and experiential styles pioneered in Windows 10, adding to what’s already there rather than totally overhauling it. If you’re hoping for something akin to the change from Windows 98 to Windows XP, you’re not going to get something quite that drastic here. With that in mind, if the reason you’re excited for Windows 11 is because you’re going to get a totally new and totally fresh operating system, you might want to temper your expectations a little.
A brand new Start bar is coming
With that said, a lack of innovation on an overall basis absolutely doesn’t mean that nothing is changing. If you don’t like the look of the current Windows 10 start bar – and many have said that it’s somewhat lacking – then Windows 11 has you covered. All of the major tasks you can perform with the Start bar will be moving into the centre of the screen, and the tile-based approach favoured by Windows 10 is gone to a certain extent too, replaced by a news feed view that will prioritise content Windows’ algorithm thinks you’ll like.
Skype fans beware
Of course, you’ll still be able to download and use Skype if you want to when Windows 11 rolls out later this year. However, Microsoft seems to want to phase out users’ and businesses’ reliance on Skype, since it’s packaging Microsoft Teams as part of Windows 11. Meetings and chats will default to Teams rather than Skype, which probably shouldn’t come as a surprise given the massive boost in popularity for Teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you love Skype, Windows 11 might be cause for commiseration, not celebration.
Snap layouts are a multitasker’s dream
If you’re frequently multitasking when you’re working on Windows, then Windows 11 is definitely going to bring a lot of much-needed improvements. The new Snap Layout feature allows you to exert greater control over how you view all of your windows. You can arrange different windows in various configurations, including oblongs so you can view more content, squares so you can fit more windows together, and more. With Snap Groups, you can also tell Windows which layouts to remember, then call them up again later if you want to rearrange your content in that same way.
Windows 11 will be good for gamers
There’s no getting around it: Xbox Game Pass offers some of the best value around if you’re a gamer, especially if you’ve got a souped-up gaming PC. Even if you’re still rocking a laptop, though, Xbox Game Pass has plenty to offer in the way of smaller indie titles that don’t eat up resources. Windows 11 will come with the Xbox app pre-installed and Xbox Game Pass will be a big part of Microsoft’s strategy for the platform, so if you’re a gamer, you should be very excited about Windows 11. We certainly won’t be seeing a repeat of the Games for Windows fiasco anytime soon, that’s for sure.
If you like the square design, you might be out of luck
One thing you’ve probably realised about Windows 10, especially if you love its design, is that it’s got a very deliberately jagged aesthetic. Where other operating systems like macOS, iOS, and Android use rounded corners and smoothed edges, Windows is very “square”, with lots of sharp corners. Windows 11 will change that, bringing Windows far more in line with its competitors. We’re big fans of the new style change Microsoft has opted for here, but not everyone will be, so if you don’t like the new look, here’s hoping Microsoft will give you a chance to change it back.
You might not have a choice after 2025
After 2025, Microsoft will be phasing out support for Windows 11, meaning that if you do still like Windows 10, you’re going to be out of luck where support for programs and updates is concerned. Of course, there won’t be anything technically stopping you from running a machine with Windows 10 on it, but Microsoft won’t guarantee compatibility or security updates for the platform, meaning that if something goes wrong, you’ll be on your own. If, for whatever reason, you’re not excited for Windows 11, you’ve got a few years to get on board before Microsoft disregards its previous platform entirely.
With all of this in mind, it’s impossible to state definitively whether you should or shouldn’t be excited for Windows 11. Any of these specific items could be deal-breakers for you one way or the other, so the only thing that remains is simply to see how the operating system performs when it arrives on the market later this year!