There is no a lot of mystery remains with Windows 11, thanks to a complete leak last week. But there are still some outlines to shade, especially improvements to applications developed in-house by Microsoft, like Office and Game Pass. And anytime an operating system with over a billion users gets an upgrade, even small changes can have a big impact. Here’s how to watch for yourself on Thursday and what you can expect to see.
How to watch
The how to watch part is pretty easy. The event begins Thursday, June 24 at 11 a.m. ET on the Microsoft Events page, or you can probably park it on the company’s YouTube channel.
But what could you see! Well, that’s not hard to fathom either, given that an early version has been leaked online in its entirety. Which isn’t to say that all of Windows 11‘s secrets have been revealed, especially since the changes so far seem largely cosmetic. But Microsoft probably still has a few surprises in store.
Windows to the future
In the meantime, however, the visual overhaul has some interesting nuggets. It seems to streamline a lot of what you’re used to from Windows 10, especially around the Start menu and taskbar. They’ve been moved to the bottom center of your screen, rather than the left side. (You can move them back if you prefer the current placement.) You will also no longer find a dedicated Cortana icon in the taskbar, which is just as good, as she was taking up valuable real estate for little profit.
Once you open the Start menu, you’ll find simple app icons rather than the live Windows 10 live thumbnails. This is a cleaner and more minimal layout, although it hides most of it. part of the menu under a separate button click. In an (dare we say) Apple-y touch, Windows 11’s file menus and apps will have more rounded corners. The Maximize button in app windows has been reworked to let you instantly align windows side by side or at corners. Windows 11 also comes with a new bloopy, says Tom Warren of The Verge startup sound and some nice default wallpapers.
The Microsoft Store is also set to undergo an overhaul, though details on this are more unclear. Rumors at the start of the year indicate that Microsoft’s goal is to make the Store more attractive to developers. In the wake of the legal melee between Apple and Epic Games over app store policies, Microsoft is keen to position itself as the good guy and encourage developers on its platform. In any case, it’s clear that there is more news from Microsoft to come, both during its Windows 11 event and beyond.
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