Windows 11 Pre-Build Overview

Hello friends. Quite unexpectedly, the Internet was blown up by stunning news: Microsoft is preparing a new version of the operating system – Windows 11. Whereas previously announced that Windows 10 will be the final version of their operating system, receiving constantly updates and evolving within this version.

Today, Microsoft has changed its shoes and decided to present to the world its new brainchild – Windows of a new generation, aka Windows 11. On June 24, Microsoft plans to hold a presentation and announce a new version of the system. But some time ago, a preliminary build of Windows 11 leaked from China to the network and is actively surfing the Internet. The new version of the operating system has not yet been announced, its assembly leaked into the network is not official, the full release of the new system is still, as they say, a pitchfork on the water, nevertheless, let’s see

↑ Windows 11 Pre-Build Review

Note : for a more up-to-date state of Windows 11, see the overview of its Insider Build, which appeared later.

↑ New Windows 11

So, friends, Windows 11, Windows of the new generation, as Microsoft is going to position it. Windows based on the new modern WinUI user interface platform. An operating system with a new design concept, a new Start menu, a redesigned interface with rounded windows. And, judging by the preliminary assembly, this is a converted part of the Windows 10 interface. Only or even a system transformed into a part of the interface – of course, who should look at it from what angle, but you definitely cannot talk about any cardinal changes. The core of the system is still the NT kernel. The usual Windows file structure has not changed. The new operating system has the old Win32 functionality, even commonly used system applications such as Task Manager, Device Manager, or Disk Management are not converted to UWP. The control panel has not disappeared from the new system, some of the system settings, like in Windows 10, are still in Win32 format, not UWP. The bundle of built-in system applications in Windows 11 is the same as in Windows 10, with the exception of the Paint 3D application, the usual Paint comes instead. And the first has the same editions as the second.

Nevertheless, there are reasons for joy, and there are two of them. The first is that Windows 11 has really improved performance, the system behaves much faster than Windows 10, the new interface must be given credit. My personal feeling is that the system is faster even than Windows 8.1. Hopefully, this is not a pre-build effect, which will disappear in the process of finishing the system, as happened with Windows 10. The second reason for joy is the interface itself. Windows 11 takes the best of what Microsoft has been preparing as part of the Windows 10 Sun Valley UI Renewal Projects and the launch of the now discontinued Windows 10X release. The new version has a new design concept focused on gradients, blurring and abstraction. Stylish, sophisticated, effective, in line with modern trends, looks great with Fluent Design. The system has an updated logo.

Windows 11 comes with 6 preinstalled themes that embody its spirit.

The default Windows theme is traditionally with a blue accent color, wallpaper with abstraction, light. It has alternative implementations – light in grays and dark on a dark blue background. Dark looks impressive in tandem with elements from Fluent Design.

Glow and Captured Motion themes with abstraction objects look no less impressive in a dark design.

And there is a light theme with Sunrise nature pictures.

Windows 11 in-wall search is completely inherited from Windows 10.

The new version has changed animation of interface elements – smooth, harmonious, pleasant, absolutely not twitchy, like in previous versions of Windows. New effects of shadows cast by windows and interface elements. Windows 11 has new sounds, again, more pleasant and harmonious, not as annoying as its predecessor versions. One of the main features of the updated interface of the new Windows is rounded corners of windows and menus. System menus and context menus have been rounded off, and drop-down menus, however, the latter have not been rounded out everywhere, in some places there is still a lack of design. The modern WinUI interface with rounded menus looks good.

Well, the format of the classic functionality is unlikely to help in principle, its interface is hopelessly outdated, whatever one may do with it, it will still smell like mothballs. But this is not the same software that we use every day.

The Microsoft Store hasn’t undergone any changes, it is the same as in Windows 10. But it is assumed that the store in Windows 11 will be expanded, and it will be able to supply third-party developers of Win32 programs. From the start, 64-bit Windows 11 Pro takes up just over 18 GB of disk space.

In the preliminary unofficial assembly of Windows 11, the implementation of the system tray, notification center and the “Settings” application is the same as in Windows 10, but there is, friends, information on the network that these elements of the system will also receive transformations. Now let’s go through the individual system areas. 

↑ Start Menu

Another key feature of Windows 11 is the new Windows 10X-style Start menu, redesigned for desktops. It is completely different from the Windows 10 Start menu, with a different organization, simpler and faster. And I would even say more thoughtful in terms of usability. There are no living tiles in it, just simple small labels. And this is the first Start menu in Windows history to change its location from the lower left corner to the middle of the taskbar. Yes, my friends, now the “Start” menu is unusually located in the middle of the taskbar, and the shortcuts placed on it, when replenished, move evenly along the sides. The centered “Start” button – as for me, is a damn convenient thing, now each of us does not need to drag the cursor to the left corner to the very edge when starting the menu. At the same time, getting used to the new position of the “Start” button occurs rather quickly. At the top of the new Start menu is a scrollable list of pinned apps. At the bottom – recommendations, profile options and computer shutdown.

If necessary, we can customize the usual location of the menu in the left corner.

The All Apps menu button gives you access to all applications installed in Windows 11. Among them, by the way, there are no longer folders with shortcuts to launch standard, utility and administration tools. Microsoft has separated only the system notepad from these tools and left it as a separate shortcut. But the old system utilities have not gone anywhere, they can be launched without any problems using the in-system search or the “Run” command.

The “Advanced” menu button opens a list of the latest files synchronized with the Microsoft account that we worked on on this or another computer.

↑ Taskbar

The Windows 11 taskbar comes with buttons for the Start Menu, Search, Task View, Widgets, the default pinned Explorer, Microsoft Edge browser, Windows Store. Its context menu has only one option for sending us to the “Settings” system application, to the personalization section, where the panel is configured. Here we can choose the location of the alignment of the taskbar in the center or in the lower left corner (the mentioned possibility of moving the “Start” menu back to the left corner).

And friends, perhaps a shock to some of you – the new system removed the ability to set the position of the taskbar at the top and sides of the screen. The taskbar may only be at the bottom, perhaps for now. Other settings include the ability to remove widget buttons, task views, search buttons from the taskbar, the ability to display buttons on the touch keyboard and the Windows Ink Workspace panel, and the ability to configure automatic hiding of the taskbar. In the context menu of the Windows 11 taskbar, there is only a link to its settings in the Settings application. If you, friends, started the Task Manager using this menu, you can still do it with the Ctrl + Shift + Esc hot keys, or you can pin its shortcut to the Start menu. For the “Start” button, the possibility of its context menu, which is also called by the Win + X keys, is left. This menu has got Fluent Design support. Perhaps, in the future, the same pleasant fate awaits other context menus of the system interface.

↑ Presentation of tasks

The environment for presenting tasks has changed in terms of the location of desktops, now this functionality is at the bottom. The Timeline function has been abolished, it is also the “Timeline”, if, of course, this is not just a problem of a preliminary, and even an unofficial assembly. There have been no new features since Windows 10.

↑ Widgets

The widget button on the taskbar opens a sliding panel on the left with information about the weather, exchange rates and news. Works when authorized with a Microsoft account in Windows 11 itself or in the Microsoft Edge browser. This is nothing more than the News and Interests ribbon transformed into a sidebar, introduced back in Windows 10. 

↑ Notification Center 

The Action Center has received rounded buttons, but hasn’t changed dramatically. Again, there is a possibility that it will also be revised in the future.


↑ Explorer

The new Windows 11 is awesome, but its look and feel is spoiled by the vestige of an essential part of its work – the old explorer. It has not changed significantly, neither the rounded corners, nor the new icons in any way level the Win32 archaic it translates. If Microsoft focuses on usability in the first place of the modern man in the street, and such a conclusion can be drawn from the rethought Start menu, then the paramount task could be set yourself – to make a modern explorer, then the application with which just the same simple modern users work every day … Old school people are unlikely to replace advanced file managers like Total Commander with anything. But, perhaps, the new conductor is also among the functionality that was not included in the preliminary assembly of the system.

↑ Appendix “Parameters”

The application of system parameters in Windows 11 is the same as in Windows 10. But this is with the caveat, again, that not all of its transformations were included in the pre-build of the new system.

The Settings app includes the device usage feature tested in Windows 10 Insider and is part of the personalization settings for the operating system. Microsoft didn’t even implement it in the latest Windows 10 21H1 update. This is a function of optimizing the operating system for our user tasks – games, family functions, creativity, learning, entertainment, business. But this is not an optimization of the system for performance, as many might think. This is an optimization regarding the use of the functionality of the system and applications. Based on the choice of custom tasks, Microsoft will supply recommended applications, tips, perhaps pre-set some kind of focus type settings. This feature is still a dark horse.

↑ Windows and Snap Assist

But, friends, where it is not dark for sure is in Windows 11. Figuratively, of course. They have smooth collapse-expand animation. And rounded corners are smart – they are rounded, unless they are displayed in full screen, and when they are open to full screen, the corners are transformed into straight ones, and the windows fill the entire screen space without gaps at the edges. In Windows 11, the improved Snap Assist feature is the ability to pin windows to the edges of the screen. She has new animation and new features. When attaching a window to one of the edges of the screen, we are still presented with applications for placement on the other side of the screen.

We can still use the dock and adjust the position of the windows on the screen with the Win arrow keys. But we now have the opportunity to choose the layout of the windows. The choice of schemes appears when you hover the cursor over the button for minimizing-maximizing windows.

↑ Windows Ink Workspace

In Windows 11, friends, in addition to the taskbar and the “Start” menu, we have another quick launch environment for the necessary applications – the Windows Ink Workspace panel. In Windows 10, this panel provides shortcuts for launching the Microsoft Whiteboard application and the standard screenshot snippet. In Windows 11, Microsoft expanded its capabilities and made it customizable. We can put any application on the Windows Ink Workspace panel – system UWP, system Win32, third-party UWP or Win32. Such a mini-dock turned out to be something like that.

In Windows 11, the Win + W keys are no longer responsible for invoking the Windows Ink Workspace panel, these keys are given to the widget panel. The Windows Ink Workspace panel is launched by a button on the taskbar, which must be activated in the settings of the latter.

↑ Installing Windows 11

Well, let’s talk, friends, about installing Windows 11. It is installed like Windows 10, and, incidentally, like Windows 8.1 and 7. A preliminary unofficial assembly of the new system exists in the familiar installation ISO image. The installation process at the first stages is the same as for the predecessor versions. Starting stage.

The stage of choosing editions.

The stage of choosing the installation location of the operating system.

But at the stages of the initial setup of Windows 11, we will see a new interface for the installation process. But, friends, only the wrapper has changed, the filling has remained the same. We indicate the country.

Keyboard layout.

Skip adding new layouts.

We are waiting for updates.

Choosing an account for personal use.

If you do not want to log in using your Microsoft account, select “Sign-in options”.

Here we can create a local Windows account by selecting “Offline account”.

We choose “Limited experience” ostensibly for limited use of the system.

We create a local user.

If necessary, create a password.

We understand the privacy settings.

And we are waiting for the completion of the installation of Windows 11, observing on the screen the same theses as in early Windows.

↑ Summing up …

This is the new Windows 11, my friends. All this, I repeat, is just what is in the preliminary unofficial assembly leaked to the network. Probably, after the official presentation, Windows 11 will go to the Windows Insider project for revision and testing. Microsoft marketers will try to create a lot of hype and intrigue around the new system. Windows 11 is activated in the same way as Windows 10. Without activation, as in the latter, personalization settings will not be available to us either. It is very likely that it will be possible to upgrade to Windows 11 while keeping the license, starting with Windows 7.

As for Windows 11 itself, its beginnings look very encouraging. Perhaps this operating system will become a solution for weak and old computers, give them a second life. Lightweight nimble WinUI, running on an optimized C ++ core, will allow the system to interact faster not only with UWP applications, but also with Win32 software. For example, WinUI 3.0 is a complete user interface environment with enhanced interoperability for all types of applications – both Win32 and UWP. WinUI 3.0 has been implemented in Windows 10 starting from version 1809 and, in my opinion, is perfectly represented in Windows 11. But, alas, it cannot be said that it is only a small matter – that third-party software developers either create programs based on UWP, or use WinUI in as the interface layer of Win32 programs. Third party developers have their own goals, their interests, perhaps their difficulties, and WinUI still needs to prove its worth in order to interest them. Microsoft is dependent on third-party developers, can’t push hard on them, or move forward towards Windows perfection itself. Consider the epic failure of Windows 10S, a system with only modern UWP functionality. But in any case, friends, the beginning of perfection has been made. If you have a weak computer, you can simply choose lightweight programs to solve your problems. So, friends, weakly, sluggishly, with respites and smoke breaks, but still we go into the future of IT. Consider the epic failure of Windows 10S – a system with only modern UWP functionality. But in any case, friends, the beginning of perfection has been made. If you have a weak computer, you can simply choose lightweight programs to solve your problems. So, friends, weakly, sluggishly, with respites and smoke breaks, but still we go into the future of IT. Consider the epic failure of Windows 10S, a system with only modern UWP functionality. But in any case, friends, the beginning of perfection has been made. If you have a weak computer, you can simply choose lightweight programs to solve your problems. So, friends, weakly, sluggishly, with respites and smoke breaks, but still we go into the future of IT.

Updated : in order to try Windows 11, you can install its insider build by upgrading to it from insider Windows 10, or by installing insider Windows 11 from scratch. For details, see the article “How to install Windows 11 Insider Preview”.     

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