Sponsored by Microsoft Windows 11
Microsoft has brought a new, updated experience to how we all compute: Windows 11. Windows 11 ushered in a range of improvements and features to enhance performance, security, user experience, and productivity. It offers faster boot times, quicker app launches, and optimized resource management for smoother operation. With power management enhancements and gaming-specific improvements like Auto HDR and DirectStorage, Windows 11 maximizes the potential of modern hardware. It also prioritizes security with features such as Secure Boot, TPM 2.0, and Microsoft Defender Antivirus; these measurements aim to protect against unauthorized access, malware, and other threats with light and seamless integration to the user. The operating system introduces a notably redesigned Start Menu and Centered Taskbar, improved window management, and customizable widgets for a modern and streamlined user experience, to bring users closer to what they love. Additionally, Windows 11 integrates a new era of computing, Bing AI, designed for intelligent search, personalized recommendations, and voice assistance. Windows 11 provides a faster, more secure, and personalized computing environment.
As a content creator and writer, my favorite feature on Windows 11 is the ease of switching between different virtual desktops. Not only does this feature make it easier for me to be productive, it also allows me to stay safe and private with my information in case I want to broadcast and share my screen.
With a simple gesture swipe on my Windows 11 laptop trackpad, I can view all the applications and browser windows I have currently running on the desktop. Before, on my Windows 10 computer, I used Alt+Tab to switch between different windows that are open. I like to multitask, and I want to have something running in the background in case I want to get back to it later. However, between my web browser, OBS, DaVinci Resolve, Blender, and Discord, I frequently found myself getting lost in everything that I had open. Then, my only solution was to pick what I wanted to focus on at that moment, essentially closing everything else and limiting myself from being able to multitask. This is exactly why I love the fact that I can simply use multiple virtual desktops on Windows 11–I can easily separate work, play, and things I want to keep private.
With many people working from home and sometimes attending online classes, the virtual desktops in Windows 11 also provide a security benefit to its users. For the virtual desktop, users can customize them by changing the background wallpaper. This can come in handy as the wallpaper can serve as a reminder of which desktop the user is currently on; whether it’s the personal one that contains private and potentially sensitive info or the work or active instance that can be safely shared with others over a call. There was definitely a time when I accidentally shared my private Discord messages while streaming over OBS because everything was jumbled up on a single desktop. Windows 11 makes it much easier to avoid situations like this since the operating system is designed with both productivity and security as a priority.
I have had a long history with computers, going back to the days prior to DOS. I was one of the students that got to set up the new High School computer lab with 386 computers and Windows 3.1 came on approximately 25 floppy disks to install. And as a designer who uses his computer mostly to draw on, a productive user interface is massively important to me, I have watched it grow over the years and will say Windows 11 won me over very quickly when I was using the system. There are great features that help with ease of organization and quickly moving from one task to another, keeping a clean workspace that adapts to your use in that application.
The start menu and file explorer windows are very customizable now, and you can place apps you use frequently use there for quick and easy access – no more losing icons on a cluttered desktop. You can still pin your most-used applications pinned to the taskbar, as I do, and just open the search bar when looking for something that may not be used as often. The search bar is very powerful and nearly always finds what I am looking for on the first attempt. And the interface is all very robust and smooth, working intuitively whether you’re using a mouse or a touchpad.
One of my favorite features, especially after moving to an ultra-wide display, is the Snap Groups and Snap Layouts. Windows features several intuitive places you can snap apps to by dragging a window to the top, sides, or even corners. Once snapped, if you find you need a bit more or less room, you can fine-tune the size of that window, and the system will remember where you placed it for next time. You can also optimize how you work by snapping groups of different applications together. Quickly change to another Snap Group for a quick gaming session then come back to your original Group and pick up right where you left off.
One of the trickiest things to deal with as more and more distractions find their way to crop up is finding the focus to complete even simple tasks. Windows 11 even has a solution for this, with Focus. Focus is located right in the taskbar and easy to activate when needed, silencing your alerts and activating auto-reply. If you need certain notifications to get through, its fully customizable so you don’t miss that important meeting invite. When using Outlook and Teams, Focus integrates seamlessly so others on your team know you are getting their messages, but will get back to them in due time.
All of these features are some of my favorites, but there are some more I am excited to integrate in the near future, the text to speech support is extremely improved and Microsoft’s growing development in AI has me using Bing more and more to find even some of the most obscure searches online.
At this time, I rarely carry a laptop anymore, I just keep computers in places where I use them most, Windows 11 has made this easy in that I am able to carry the user settings with me from place to place, I log in and my custom experience is there along with all the cloud access I have. Paired with some VPN access in places where needed, I have drives automatically mapped and I can simply pick up where I left off at the office when I get home. Not only in Office, but also in AutoDesk, Adobe, and my developer tools.
I think that every PC gamer knows that Windows is the best and most versatile way to game on a computer. For the longest time, Microsoft’s Windows was the only way to game. And while other gaming is seeing more support from other systems, Windows remains the best choice and it is only getting better!
Computer gaming on Windows comes with the benefit of access to just about every PC game released and compatibility with the latest and greatest AAA titles. It’s where you go for the best graphics, with PC having the potential to far outshine consoles. The latest version of Windows has always gone hand in hand with the latest gaming technologies, like DirectX, always pushing the envelope for better gaming experiences.
With the addition of Game Pass, Windows gaming jumped to the next level. There are hundreds of high-quality PC games ready for download whenever you want them. Many titles are playable on launch day with PC Game pass as well, so you won’t miss the new hotness because the budget didn’t have room for a new game. Riot Games and Microsoft even have a partnership that unlocks cool perks in some of their biggest games, like League of Legends and Valorant when played through Game Pass! The best part about all of this is that it’s currently only $9.99 a month. It is a much better deal than buying all the newest games that you may only play a few times and then never touch again. If you do find a game that you really like and think you’ll want to play for a long time to come, you can get a discount on the game with PC Game Pass!
If you need to take a break from gaming, you can always cancel your monthly subscription. It will not delete the game, so you don’t have to worry about downloading the whole thing all over again. You can pick up right where you left off whenever you’re ready! Their system gives you the freedom to choose which games you want to play, when you want to play them. If there are games you’d like to try, but don’t want to spend the money to buy, you can give it a try with PC Game Pass and decide if you’d like to purchase it later.
If, like me, you’re a gamer who changes games every week or so, Game Pass is a must-have. It lets me jump from game to game, without worrying about buying lots of expensive titles. If you’re a gamer and haven’t tried it yet, now is the perfect time!
Your PC is easier to use than ever with Windows 11. The latest version of Windows has many features that help you get things done in a fast, fun, and easy way. If you’re new to Windows, there’s no better time than now to jump in.
I’ve found that Windows 11 is much friendlier to new users this time around. The Quick Settings panel allows folks to access their WiFi and Bluetooth settings with one click, and even gives users access to options that were previously tucked away behind several menus such as screencasting, projecting, and even color profiles. With the Quick Settings panel, Accessibility settings are a breeze to get to, making Windows even more friendly to a wider audience (we’ll touch on that a little later). The Start Menu got a refresh as well, with an interface that is uncluttered and can serve as a spot to stash your favorite applications. To throw in a bit of subjective opinion, I think the new Start Menu and all of its customization options are just plain pretty. The taskbar, you’ll find, has been scooched over to the middle of the screen to help clean things up a bit. If you prefer it to return to its original home in the left corner, you can right-click it and move it back.
Taking a slightly deeper dive, the revamped Settings application keeps just about every setting you’d want organized in an easy-to-understand interface. For the more advanced users, the Control Panel is still available. I want to point some attention to the Accessibility menu, which allows folks to customize their PC in a way that makes their experience that much easier:
A feature that I love showing customers is the ability to press Win + Z, which opens up the Snap Layouts panel. You can also hover over the Minimize/Maximize button with your cursor to bring up the same panel. Snap is a feature that has been a part of Windows since 7 and makes multitasking a breeze. 11 improves upon this feature by allowing users to use the Snap Layouts panel to organize their windows quickly and seamlessly in several different configurations, which change dynamically based on the resolution and aspect ratio of the connected displays. Rather than clicking and dragging windows to the sides or corners of the screen, users can hit Win + Z and simply click the layout of their choice. If you’re like me and still used to the old ways of doing things, you can still do the ol’ “click and drag” to use Snap. Still, for many folks, the new menu makes things quicker and easier.
With 2-in-1 laptops beginning to become more mainstream, there’s one extra feature that Windows 11 has that makes life on my Surface Pro so much easier: tablet mode! When you detach or flip a keyboard back on 2-in-1 the taskbar icons get a little bit larger and more spread out, compatible apps will adjust their toolbars so they’re easier to use with a touchscreen, and an on-screen keyboard will pop up as needed. In tablet mode, you can even use touch gestures like swiping from the left to bring up widgets, swiping from the bottom to bring up the start menu, swiping from the right for the calendar, and a three-finger swipe from the bottom to bring up Task View (just like pressing Win + Tab). They’re small changes, but they really help in navigating the UI without a keyboard and mouse. I’ve noticed that I’m more efficient in tablet mode in Windows 11 than I was in previous versions.
I mentioned it before in regards to the Control Panel, but even with all of Windows 11’s improvements, you can still use legacy menus and features if they’re more your cup of tea. I find myself still using the “Change System Sounds” menu to manage multiple audio inputs and outputs but use the updated Settings app for quick changes. I think Windows 11 does a great job at making the operating system easier to navigate for many users, while retaining “older” settings in their original spots for those who know how to use them. Windows 11 is easy to pick up, while the new design gives using a PC a breath of fresh air.
been a fan of windows 11 since its release and i immediately made the jump over
I am very happy with windows 10 , And I am not convinced of windows 11 , but i might try it.
What is the advantages of windows 11 vs windows 10?
The most important thing that warrants a new operating system to me, is the security upgrades they made on Windows 11. It now protects the computer to the bios level from what I understand. To do that, they needed to implement the use of the TPM chips.
Here's a couple comparison articles that may help:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/compare-windows-11-home-vs-pro-versions (using the Windows 10 vs. 11 tab)
I had a completely different experience. I put it on my father's machine and it "works" but barely.
Changing the default applications has become a giant pain. They've given you "more fine granular control" by making you select everything individually instead of just selecting the app you want to do the function (like Firefox for web for example.)
I can't redo the taskbar like he's used to either. I can try to use OpenShell, but that seems to be having issues. Also you have to check each hidden icon to show it as there's no "show all" anymore. On top of that any new icons are automatically hidden.
The rest of the options in right click menus are annoying too. To get all the options requires an extra click and most of the time I'm right clicking those are the options I'm looking for.
Maybe 12 or whatever will be usable because it really does seem to go every other version, but I'm about to downgrade him to 10 which is supported until 2025 and I can deal with a hopefully better 11 or the next version then, or switch him to some easy Linux like Ubuntu or Mint. I doubt even their LTSC would even be usable at this point. It's bad when you latest OS make Windows Vista and Me look like good alternatives.
Oh, the "Windows tax" is annoying as well, but that's been an issue since almost always.
Win + Z is so useful! For windows 10 users they can also download "Microsoft PowerToys" if they need this feature!
I recently realized that I can use the multiple desktops thing on my Windows 10 machine, but it's so much harder in comparison to Windows 11. I also like the Bios-level security that is implemented into Win 11 as well.
One of my favorite features of windows 11 is the snap feature, such a life saver.
It's the single most important reason I upgraded both of my machines from 10. I run multiple monitors like many of us and the old snap didn't work in that situation. The new and improved snap is so much more useful for people like me.
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