Microsoft recently announced that it will end support for Windows 10 in 2025. Just a few days after Microsoft updated its support document to reflect the change, the next generation of Windows, Windows 11 has leaked online. After screenshots were first published on Chinese website Baidu, the entire Windows 11 OS has been leaked online with a new user interface, start menu, and many more changes. A video from The Verge’s Tom Warren on his Twitter shows that the new Windows 11 user interface and Start Menu look very similar to what we have already seen in Windows 10X, which was cancelled in favour of Windows 11. The Verge accessed the leaked Windows 11 and gave us a step-by-step lowdown of what this early version of Windows 11 promises. Before we begin, it is important to note that this is not a final version of Windows and may not include everything that is coming with the next-generation Windows OS.
From what we can see, the most prominent change seems to be in the taskbar, where Microsoft seems to have centered the app icons and cleaned up the taskbar by letting go of the search bar and changed it with a single search button. There is also a new Start Button and Menu. If users don’t want their app icons and start menu in the center of the task bar, there is an option to move all of them to the left-hand side. The updated Start Menu looks to be a more simplified version of the one in Winwos 10 without the Live Tiles. The Start Menu also includes pinned apps, recent files, and the ability to quickly shut down or restart Windows 11 devices. Further, Windows 11 will also have a dark mode.
Another prominent visual change is that Microsoft seems to be using rounded corner throughout Windows 11. These are visible in the Start Menu, context menus, and around apps and File Explorer.
There is also a new icon in the Windows 11 taskbar, labelled ‘Widgets.’ Now, this could be the Windows Widegets that were earlier rumoured to be brought back to Windows. Since this is an early version of Windows 11, the widgets don’t seem to have been finished, but they slide out and provide a quick look at news, weather, and other web content.
According to a report in The Verge, Windows 11 will bring more changes to the built-in apps within Windows. The report says that a large part of the operating system feels finished, so a beta can be expected to arrive shortly for Windows Insiders to test out.
Windows 11 will also include new snap controls that users can access from the maximise button on all apps. This will allow users to quickly snap windows side-by-side, or arrange them in sections on your desktop.
The Windows Store, according to the leaked UI, doesn’t seem to get any significant changes and looks largely like the Windows 10 Store that Windows users have right now. Now this is rather surprising as Microsoft has itself said that it is working on a new Windows Store and rumours suggest that it will be a big change from the Windows Store we have today. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, during the company Build 2021 conference, said that the new Windows Store will “unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators."
Microsoft has also included a new setup experience in Windows 11. The setup procedure is very similar to Windows 10X, where it walks users through a set of steps to configure Windows. There is also a new startup sound - something that has proved to be iconic with each version of Windows.
Microsoft is also bringing an improved Xbox experience to Windows 11. The new Xbox app is integrated into Windows 11, offering quick access to Xbox Game Pass games, the social parts of Xbox network, and the Xbox Store. The Xbox Game Bar and Windows Game Mode all remain the same as Windows 10, at least in the early version that was leaked last night.
Now, Microsoft has been dropping hints about Windows 11. The company’s CEO recently said that he has been using the new version of Windows since some time during the Build 2021 conference last month. Microsoft is holding a special Windows event on June 24, where the company is expected to reveal the next version of Windows.