Windows 11: What we love – but also hate
Windows 11 is now as a free upgrade for Windows 10 available and read here our big Windows 11 test. But of course the question arises: should you grab it or wait? our recommendation for most users is to wait to install Windows 11, with an emphasis on “most”. While Windows 11 has some great new features, it still has a lot of rough edges and removes some important features that you may have used in Windows 10.
We therefore list three reasons in favor of an upgrade and three reasons why you should wait to upgrade.
Almost a decade after the new Settings menu appeared in Windows 8, Microsoft has finally made an effort not only to fill this menu with more options, but to keep it organized well.
Microsoft has done away with the start screen of the Settings menu and instead relies on a navigation bar on the left. At the top there is a navigation system with which you can jump back and forth within a certain directory. A search function is also available. Each page in the settings provides a wealth of information without being cluttered, with drop-down menus and graphics to assist you. It is very useful.
So in Windows 11, most of what you’re looking for can be found in Settings.
Yes, Microsoft removed the live tiles. But the really bad thing is how badly the whole thing is now arranged. In Windows 10, you can click the Start menu and see your app group icons and documents next to an alphabetical list of your apps. In Windows 11, the apps are first moved to the secondary “All Apps” overflow menu. From there, you can then add them to the main Start menu, also known as “pinned apps”.
These pinned apps can be moved, but not actually grouped. While the live tiles can be resized to give an app more visual weight, this is not possible with Windows 11. The Windows 11 start menu now looks lifeless and less functional.
You may only see the Out of the Box Experience (OOBE) once when you set up a new Windows 11 PC, but it’s great. Setting up a Windows 11 PC only takes a few minutes, and Microsoft makes the most of that time by taking you on a virtual tour of the most important features of Windows 11, including some you might find after some poking around. A significant improvement over Windows 10, which wasn’t bad either.
When OOBE is done, find the Getting Started and Tips apps. Microsoft doesn’t point out these two apps directly, but they do provide some additional useful aids.
If you already use a Microsoft account to sign in to your Windows PC, this will not affect you. (You must enter a personal Microsoft email address and password to sign in with a Microsoft account.)
If you prefer to use (or even require) a “local” or “offline” account with an anonymous login, this is only possible for Windows 10 Pro users who are upgrading to Windows 11 Pro. Windows 10 Home users for whom this is important must first upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro and then switch to Windows 11 Pro.
The “router trick” that Windows 10 made possible has disappeared. Windows 11 Home doesn’t even give you the option to proceed without connecting to a network, nor does it allow you to bypass the login screen for the account. Windows 11 Pro, on the other hand, does.
Widgets, the huge bar that folds out on the left side of the screen, contains all sorts of useful information: the local weather, your calendar, photos you took that day a few years ago, and so on. The Microsoft Start service also displays a lot of superfluous things if you do not configure your settings accordingly.
Microsoft Windows 11’s widgets window is configurable so you can customize it however you want. The widgets settings are available from your account picture in the top right corner.
Lots of people use the built-in Edge browser. However, more users use Google Chrome, Firefox, Vivaldi, Opera, Brave or other niche browsers. Yes, you can download Chrome and use it however you want. But if you want to make Chrome the default browser on your PC, the “Set as Default” option that was available in Windows 10 is gone.
Instead, you’ll be presented with one of the most confusing option screens Windows has ever presented, asking you to base your browser choices on individual file types. No, there is no “Select All” option. If you still want to switch the file type, Microsoft asks again if you’d like to try Edge instead. This is annoying and does not cast a good light on Microsoft or its operating system.
Whichever you choose, upgrade or not, both Windows 10 and Windows 11 have their advantages and are generally not a bad choice.