On Thursday at 11 a.m., via a livestream that lasted just under 45 minutes, Microsoft kicked off an event during where they announced Windows 11 and unveiled some of the changes. This was probably not a surprise to most IT professionals. (You can check out all of TechGenix’s Windows 11 coverage by clicking the links at the end of this article.) After all, Windows 10 was released on July 29, 2015, and the defects are now almost under control. Everyone who works in code knows that as defects are repaired and enhancements are released, it becomes very difficult to track all of the code changes. I would imagine that Microsoft was starting to experience challenges. And so, it probably is time to move on. Also, not sure if this was intentional or not, but it was already common knowledge that Microsoft would be stopping support of Windows 10 effective Oct. 14, 2025. This made it pretty clear that Microsoft must have a replacement on its way. And so, I am happy to report that Microsoft has put our anticipation to rest and confirmed our prediction. (Those who want to watch the whole presentation can see it in the YouTube video below.)
Chief product officer Panos Panay acted as the master of ceremonies and presented a home-felt view of Windows as a familiar and secure environment. Even going so far as to give the comparison of visits to the family home where he was raised. Nice touch. Personally, I feel they should have used the catchphrase “Windows 11 — Feels like home.” Maybe next time. Overall, there really does seem to have been some attention to detail when it comes to user experience. Here’s how I see it from my perch as a project manager.
The act of comparing multiple documents pre-Windows 11 has been kind of a pain. While previous versions of Windows do have the ability to snap open windows, there have always been only limited options. This would mean time spent to move and resize windows to be able to obtain the view needed for the number and size of documents that were required for parallel viewing. While effective, it can be time-consuming and then frustrating when you return after having to move off to another task for a period of time. It would mean minimizing everything in order to once again locate the documents you had been working on. With Windows 11 Snap Layouts, this will no longer be the case. By hovering over the maximize button, a snap navigator will show you different options for snapping your windows to varying formats and sizes. I’m intrigued.
With Snap Groups, Windows 11 will remember a collection of applications that you were using. The efficiency gained is that it will remember what you were using, along with the snap layout. While this is a very effective way to return to the task at hand, the major advantage comes with docking and undocking stations. While today undocking and then returning means reconfiguring your windows, not so with Windows 11 Snap Groups. Now when you reconnect, everything will return to the location it was at prior to undocking.
Customization with virtual desktops
While we previously had the ability to use virtual desktops, Windows 11 gives us the ability to customize the wallpaper on each. While this may seem like a minor advancement, it may be one of my favorites. Consider having one desktop for work, one for personal, and perhaps one for a side hustle you developed during the last economic downtown. Being able to quickly distinguish between which environment you are in can save not only time but embarrassment.
Direct integration of Microsoft Teams
The direct integration of Teams with Windows 11 means that we will no longer have to open the Teams app before accessing its functionality. It will be a one-click experience that also places Teams in the middle of the taskbar for easy access.
Product marketing lead Phillip McClure announced a number of other changes that give Windows 11 more user-focused adaptability. Improvements have been made to improve the Windows experience without a keyboard. Resizing and moving windows will no longer be a hit-and-miss experience. Now, if they could only address my many lost folders from drag-and-drop! Interfacing with the use of a pen, touch keyboard, and voice typing have all undergone an overhaul making the user experience much more versatile.
While Microsoft admits that historically even they would pick up their cell phones to check the weather or to get current news information and sports updates, this has now been addressed. Windows 11 Widgets will adapt to your personal choices, thereby giving you quick access to current information that you deem relevant. Not being a fan of personal data collection and analysis, I am sure that all of the cybersecurity professionals I know just felt the hair stand up on the back of their neck. All I can say is that it is important to read the new Microsoft terms of service. While we may have no choice but to comply, awareness is important.
Another favorite of mine: Microsoft has indicated that there will only be one major feature update to Windows 11 each year, as opposed to the two that we grew weary of with Windows 10.
Having rather poor hand/eye coordination, I have never been a big gamer. At least not since Pac-Man. However, gamers will not be disappointed with Windows 11. Sarah Bond, corporate VP of Xbox, announced superior graphics through the use of auto-HDR that will automatically adjust lighting and color. In addition, direct storage will quickly load games to the graphics card. For those of you who just can’t get enough, Xbox Game Pass is built into Windows 11 and offers a large selection of games. Naturally, it comes with a monthly fee, but then doesn’t everything?
Hello, Windows 11!
Overall, it’s always nice to start with a clean palette and this seems to be the direction that Microsoft has taken with Windows 11. While the last Windows 10 major update caused me a lot of pain and seemed to make my, albeit rather dated, PC struggle under the weight of technical enhancements that I will never use, Windows 11 has addressed pain points day-to-day users may very well appreciate. I’m feeling optimistic.