Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Windows 11; the Start Button, Android Apps, and More
Windows’ newest operating system finally upon us, and I wanted to compile a short list of the things you should know about it. You should see some more content like this that drills a bit deeper, like if gamer’s should upgrade, and what the best and worst features are.
Let’s dive into what these features are. Here’s Niche Gamer’s Top 10 Things You Need To Know About Windows 11.
1. Windows Can Now Run Android Apps On PC.
Microsoft announced back in June of this year that Android Apps will be coming to Windows 11, and be able to be installed via the Windows Store. This will be coming with the built in Amazon App Store; which is a part of the Microsoft store, so more 3rd parties with our data… Yay.
They will be using Intel bridge technology to convert the ARM app code into something the X86 CPUs can handle. No word if this will work on AMD powered systems though. It should if it’s just a sort of emulator that doesn’t require Intel specific hardware.
These apps are supposed to be integrated into the start bar, and will appear on the task bar within their own windows. Microsoft has since delayed this feature to the next “coming months”
2. Improved Microsoft Teams Integration
Microsoft Teams is about to become the new Skype; at least in terms of its probably something most people will try really hard to turn off. This will hopefully be much more used and useful, but I’m a bit of a cynic.
Teams will be pinned into the Windows 11 Taskbar, and seems like Microsoft trying to take a shot at Apple’s Facetime, though with a business slant. You’ll also be able to access it in Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS users; so it has a bit more utility than Apple’s walled garden App.
They’re also trying to compete in the business side and overtake Zoom, and have tried to redesign it to look more like the rest of the Windows 11 UI. Features it adds are the ability to use polls, rich views for files and photos, and integrating directly with your outlook calendar.
3. Taskbar changes (They messed with the Start Button AGAIN)
Microsoft loves to change the features we know and love for some reason. This time the start button will be placed in the center of the screen.
CPO of Microsoft Panos Panay said “We put Start at the center. It Puts you at the center. It’s what you need, closer to you, simplified.” I think many of us will disagree with this, but UI Designers love to change things that work for no real reason.
I, like many of you, will be looking for a way to put it back in its natural place as soon as I figure that out. We’ll publish an article explaining how to do that as well.
4. Virtual Desktops and Improved Multitasking
Virtual desktops are like the current Task view button on Windows 10, but a much more fleshed out feature. This will allow you to have a separate desktop for different usages.
They use an example that is for traveling with different websites, and apps that are focused on travel. However, I think a more applicable one would be one for working, and one for home use.
It will also feature improved snap layouts over Windows 10, and Snap Groups which allows you to change the sizes of apps or program windows. This is actually a feature I use a lot, and the fact I can have even more oddly shaped windows for specific purposes seems pretty neat.
It also fixes a pet peeve of mine; whenever you plug in or unplug a monitor, currently it changes where all your windows are. Now it should keep them saved a bit better.
5. Auto HDR
Microsoft plans to push some features first seen on the Xbox Series X|S to Windows 11. One of them Is Auto HDR. This makes it a bit easier to turn on high dynamic range, if your hardware (specifically your monitor) can actually push it. However this feature will likely make its way to Windows 10 as well.
Microsoft’s technology that they touted for the Xbox Series X|S once again makes it onto the PC side. This loads the game’s assets directly through the graphics card, instead of passing through the CPU, to raise throughput and lower CPU load.
Basically, normally all of the textures and work that the GPU has to do has to be fed by the CPU, which is also working. This instead skips that step, and sends some of that work directly to the GPU from memory. It’s effectiveness isn’t a huge deal now, but could be in the future.
Microsoft also boasts improved load times, though I wonder how much of a difference this might actually make.
7. Improved Xbox App Integration
If you’re a gamer, which if you are reading this website I’d assume you are, you might be happy to hear Microsoft is pushing their Xbox App integration even further. The Xbox app has been built into Windows 11.
It will also allow, as Window 10 currently does, the ability to stream games via Xbox cloud gaming, and offers more cross-play functionality. It should be noted most of these gaming features are either currently on Windows 10, or will make it there eventually.
8. UI Changes
Again Microsoft, chasing after Apple, has gone with rounded corners and pastel shades to try to seem more trendy. The color palate is pretty subjective, but I think it’s kind of nice. I feel like most people won’t like the rounded edges though, especially us hardcore Windows users.
Image Credit: Microsoft
Widgets have been around since Vista, but with Windows 10 they took a serious upgrade. This is apparently “AI-Powered;” so reading our data and usage will give us info like the news, weather, and calendar. It can sit in the taskbar or, as shown in the image above, pull up to fill the screen.
10. Improved Wi-Fi Performance
Qualcomm announced that it will be adding its FastConnect feature to the new Windows 11 operating system. This feature is supposed to use both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal on your Wi-Fi adapter, which should help improve latency issues.
Some MSI laptops using Killer hardware did something similar in the past. This seems to be a much more widespread application, and also allows this to be done on Wifi 6E devices.
It should help with jitter, and improve responsiveness. Gamers will likely see the biggest increase in performance here, and Qualcomm stated that it “gave consistency with sustained jitter free wireless gameplay similar to Ethernet latency under the same conditions.”
While I’d still opt for a wired connection, sometimes that’s just not an option. I had my system running wireless for a few months last year. Them touting that it can improve latency by up to 4 times and reducing jitter would actually be quite nice.
So with the features listed here, there are some actual reason you might consider upgrading to it. Being free, there really isn’t any rush to run out and upgrade to it either. Let us know in the comments what you guys think.
If you also want to upgrade your old system for something new, check out our PC building guide. Part 1 handles the components, and Part 2 handles the actual building. Though I hope you aren’t waiting on buying a graphics card, because availability is still quite tight.
This is Niche Gamer Tech. In this column, we regularly cover tech and things related to the tech industry. Please leave feedback and let us know if there’s tech or a story you want us to cover!