June 26, 2021

Microsoft officially announced Windows 11 on June 24, 2021. Windows 11 has been rumored for at least a few weeks and was all but confirmed when a suspected build of the operating system was leaked.

First of all, can we get Panos Panay a nomination for an Oscar on this presentation. The pure emotion he puts into this presentation is inspiring, yet a little inordinate. You can check out the presentation from Microsoft here .

That being said, after watching the presentation, I am quite excited by this announcement. There are some nice features being introduced and others that are being enhanced that I am quite excited for.

First Impressions

The very first thing that came to mind when seeing the new Windows 11 UI is, wow that looks like Google's Chrome OS. It has a very similar desktop resemblance. While watching the video, there are quite a few similarities. I will touch on those more in depth through this post.

My assumption is this was supposed to be the new Windows X designed for tablets and they decided it just port it to desktop as well to have an OS that would work on desktop platform as well as tablets. Let's hope they don't try putting it on a phone.

The Start Menu

As mentioned previously, Windows 11 initially resembles Chrome OS. The start menu is one of the things I am referring to. A noticeable difference is the Start Menu on Windows 11 does look much sleeker than Chrome OS. One big point for me is I like that it doesn't fill up the whole screen like it does in Chrome OS. The only ask I have for Microsoft is please let us sort the start menu icons. The lack of ability to do this in Chrome OS is unnerving. Overall, the start menu looks clean and is appealing. It is a separation from traditional start menu which may not go over so well with some users as we saw in Windows 8.

Concerning the design choice of the UI, my personal thought on this is Microsoft is trying to appeal to Chrome OS users which are abundant in this new generation of PC users due to many schools now issuing Chromebooks as a standard device from learning. That is just my two cents though.

The last thing worth mentioning on the Start menu is the search screen. This to me is a major improvement. In the past I have not been a fan of the many different ways Microsoft has tried making the search more in your face. I typically like hitting the start button, and then typing what I am searching for. To me, that is a natural way of doing it. Other people probably have different opinions on this, but I like having the search bar is the start menu and not on the task bar.

Windows Settings

This is one aspect of Windows 10 that has bothered me since its inception. Windows 10 settings had a shaky acceptance. For me it was annoying that they hid a majority of the things that I use the settings for. To get to the useful areas, you had to go to a traditional control panel that took you back to a Windows 7 style of settings that was much more useful. There just didn't seem to be a solid unified experience.

Seeing the preview of Windows 11, I am encouraged. It looks like they mixed the views of Windows 7 and Windows 10, and created a unified experience, which Windows 10 majorly failed to give us. I hope that this holds true once I get my hands on a copy of it.

Window Management

While the ability to “Snap your apps” already exists, and can be further enhanced in Windows 10 by installing Power Toys and using Fancy Zones, I like that Windows 11 gives this to us natively using “Snap Layouts”.

A new feature that they presented that looks very handy is Snap groups for switching between groups of Windows. The demo on this was very brief, but it looks like a very interesting concept.

I had previously heard rumors about improvements in the docking and undocking experience in Windows 11 over Windows 10. This feature was briefly shown as well. Hopefully on release it performs as well as the quick demo we were given.

Another thing that was briefly mentioned was Desktops. This feature does exist already in Windows 10. You can check it out here . I have used this feature in Linux before, but I didn't realize it already existed in Windows 10 until doing a little more research on it.


This is a throwback that I am personally excited about. In the past, I wasn't very fond of the implementation of widgets in Windows and they didn't seem to stick around very long. However, I use widgets a lot on my phone for checking certain information quickly. For example, I have a whole screen on my phone with a Google Calendar widget. This allows me to have a quick place to flip to for keeping track of my day. Another widget I would love to have is one for watching my stock ticker watchlist. It annoys me having to go to a website and have yet another Chrome browser open just to be able to see my calendar or stock tickers.

Microsoft Store

The Microsoft Store in the past has had a rather shaky welcome. It is a good idea, but the implementation was less than great. It also lacked any real useful apps. The only time I can ever recall recommending people to use the Microsoft Store is when having clients install Power BI Desktop. I usually recommend using the Microsoft Store because it keeps your Power BI Desktop app up to date as opposed to installing it from powerbi.com where you have to redownload and install the app for each update.

Just as a random bit, I am curious if they utilize the Windows Package Manager app for managing app installations. If you haven't heard of it yet, you can read about it here .

Additionally, taking yet another cue from Chrome OS, Microsoft Store is bringing Android apps to Windows 11 through the Amazon Marketplace. I am interested to see how that is going to work. I am interested to see how they integrate Google accounts into the store.

In talking to people, I have seen mix responses on this, but I am rather excited about this. I personally would prefer using Android apps as opposed to having a tab open in a web browser for each particular service I am using. On the downside, this does leave a large potential for having a ton of apps running in the background eating resources.


It seems like they have put a lot of work into the visual aspect of Windows 11. Graphics design has never been an area of expertise of mine, so I am not going to touch much on this. All I can say is I am glad they have a dark mode.

Windows Updates

I found the mention of this a little intriguing. They are claiming Windows Updates are 40% smaller. As opposed to what? They also claim they will happen in the background for a seamless experience. Does this mean they will not cause my PC to do weird things and cause my system to reboot while I am working on things.

This is one area that Microsoft really needs to make more advances in managing. Maybe this will change more with the recent introduction Windows Package Manager.

A few other thoughts

As a pen and paper note taker, I am interested to see how well the handwriting OCR technology in Windows 11 works. It might be worth getting a tablet again if that functionality is good enough. I would love to drop the pen and paper, but have not found an affordable option that is accurate and responsive enough for me yet. Most of the options I have tried have been Android based since I owned Android devices. I have looked at some other options such as remarkable, but having something built into a tablet that has many other functions is much more appealing to me.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Windows 11 has some Chrome OS resemblance so I can't help but compare the two operating systems. Chrome OS has added some features in the last few years such as allowing use of Android and adding the ability to use Linux apps. With the introduction of Windows 11 allowing users to run Android apps along with the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL2) introduced in Windows 10, Chrome is going to have to step up to keep being competitive. I am curious to see how this affects Google's hold on the educational community. Specifically, if adding these new features will at all affect integrations into systems and applications such as GoGuardian which is widely used in schools.


Overall, I am surprisingly quite excited about Windows 11. It looks like Microsoft took the time to really think about user experience, instead of just throwing “something new and innovative” out there. Someone at Microsoft must have rewatched Jurrasic Park and stumbled on the quote “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.” Windows 11 looks like an operating system that Microsoft should have came out with a long time ago. Hopefully the end product lives up to the hype we were given earlier this week when Microsoft introduced it.

I don't have a comments section yet, so feel free to send me feedback on this blog.

Kevin Williams

Kevin is a data engineer and is the Business Intelligence Practice Lead at Software Design Partners specializing in data warehousing. He is a father, an occasional gamer, and lover of many different types of music.

The opinions expressed on this site are my own and may not represent my employer's view.
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Let's take a look at Microsoft's Windows 11 announcement.


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