Announced at the start of the year, Windows 11 has been in the process of being deployed since October 5, 2021. Although it will initially only be available on a limited number of machines, it should become more popular as of 2022, especially on new PCs.
During the official presentation of Windows 11, Microsoft unveiled a completely revised operating system, at least on the surface. But behind this graphic overhaul signing a turning point in the history of this OS, what is Windows 11 really worth? And above all, should you install it now on your PC?
We installed the beta version of Windows 11 a few months ago now. Then we used the final version. Here is our test of Windows 11.
Yes for its sleek interface and simplicity
When you open Windows 11, you’ll enter a totally unknown world…unless you’ve used a Mac before. Yes, Windows 11 takes up the aesthetic codes of Apple machines and we won’t complain about it.
Beyond the more “airy” graphic charter and all in transparency, Windows 11 centralizes actions in its taskbar. Now centered at the bottom of the screen, it includes the Start Menu, a search engine (on the web and in all files like Spotlight on macOS), a button to access Widgets, Microsoft Teams, the browser Edge, the file explorer, the Microsoft Store and finally Mail, the Microsoft email service. As soon as you open a new software, its icon appears in the taskbar to access it in one click.
The right part of the taskbar includes a menu of quick settings as well as quick access to notifications and the calendar. The set contributes to the simplification of daily use. We like it a lot.
The Start Menu is also evolving. Now it looks like a large central window. It consists of three spaces: a search bar, a selection of pinned applications and finally a series of files recommended by the system based on your previous activities.
Finally, clicking on the Widgets icon will deploy a floating window from the left of the screen. It logically displays Widgets, these small pop-up windows allowing you to quickly take information without opening an application (weather, sports results, calendar etc.). For the moment, only Microsoft programs are highlighted in this menu.
Finally, a word about the new tool that will delight the most productive among you. When a window is open, you can (by holding the cursor over the window enlargement button) choose from several full-screen layouts so as to display several applications on the same desktop.
You can choose to split the screen into two, three or four parts with different layouts. Each part can accommodate a separate application. For example, we regularly opted for a layout of three windows: one with a browser open on the Presse-citron site, one with Twitter and one with our writing software. And it must be said, this tool is proving to be extremely effective.
All these new features of course adopt the new graphic charter of Windows 11. The effects of transparency, animations and transitions leave an impression of great lightness. A version of Windows that is definitely attractive and pleasant to use on a daily basis.
Yes for the new Microsoft Store
Decidedly very inspired by the mobile universe, Windows 11 integrates a brand new version of the Microsoft Store (Windows application store). And the least we can say is that the site was huge for Microsoft.
In the past, this store looked like a happy brothel full of spyware apps. The developers have rolled up their sleeves to deliver a store worthy of the name. Not only is the interface more intuitive, but navigation is smooth and bug-free (at least during our test).
Above all, the most popular applications are available directly in the store, which has two advantages. First, you should not juggle between the Microsoft Store and the publishers’ website to download the application in question. Then, the follow-up of updates is automatic, like on the Play Store or the App Store.
Nevertheless Microsoft still needs to do a big sweep of malicious apps. They are not only still very numerous but above all still positioned in the first places of search results.
Let’s hope that the American will correct this problem over time. Because limiting the installation of Windows 11 to certain machines for security reasons and offering hundreds of infected applications is at best negligence, at worst bad faith.
Yes for parameter management
At the risk of disappointing the kings of the hack, Microsoft is playing the simplification card right down to the settings. The menus are simpler, the essential information gathered in menus similar to what can be found in a smartphone. Perfect for computer-savvy users. An effective search engine provides quick access to a specific setting. In short, everything is easier on Windows 11.
Has Microsoft forgotten its sacrosanct openness (of mind) in favor of a simplicity that its historical competitor Apple has made its credo? Nay. If most of the parameters are located in an intuitive interface, hackers can have fun in the depths of the system.
The sub-sub-menus also adopt a slightly more modern interface, but the roots of past versions (up to Windows 95) are still there, as evidenced by some control panel windows identical to those of Windows XP and Vista . We regret that Microsoft did not take the opportunity to erase all traces of Windows 8 and Windows 10 in this giant millefeuille. Maybe with future updates…
No for the small problems of youth
It’s been a bit of a bad habit among publishers in recent years. If they want to rush too much, they tend to launch bug-ridden software. Windows 11 is no exception and therefore also has its share of pans.
On the program, multiple bugs in the new taskbar. The latter can no longer move at the whim of the user, it no longer supports drag and drop and it even happens that some application icons do not respond at all.
We will also note the pure and simple disappearance of certain parameters, a time display bug when using an external monitor (the clock is no longer visible), or even translation problems in certain menus. This last point is unforgivable for a company like Microsoft.
Finally, one of Windows 11’s most anticipated features isn’t even available at launch. In effect, support for Android apps in the OS is pushed back to 2022without further details.
No for forcing Microsoft
Already criticized for its forcing strategy when deploying Windows 10, Microsoft is putting the cover back. As soon as Windows 11 is installed (which requires a Microsoft account), the American highlights its software and suggests configuring Office and OneDrive.
From the first start, Microsoft Edge is the default browser. What could be more logical, you will say, after all it is about its operating system. Certainly. On the other hand, Microsoft has never made it so difficult for anyone who wants to replace Edge with Chrome, Opera, Firefox or any other browser. A little disappointing from a brand that advocates openness.
Customizing the taskbar which, by default, only displays Microsoft services, also requires complex manipulations for users with little experience in hacking.
Finally, as explained above, the widget window only displays programs from Microsoft. The latter explains that publishers are free to develop their own widgets to integrate them into this pane. We’ll see in the coming months if this part of the interface is indeed more customizable.