A day early, Microsoft has decided to release Windows 11.
Today marks an exciting milestone in the history of Windows. As the day becomes October 5 in each time zone around the world, availability of Windows 11 begins through a free upgrade on eligible Windows 10 PCs and on new PCs pre-installed with Windows 11 that can be purchased beginning today.
This is the first release of Windows I haven’t personally used or even tested, but much like Android 12 that’s also been released today, it seems to be a version heavily focused on giving Windows a fresh coat of paint, while sadly removing features and customisations and adding strict system requirements. As the detailed Ars Technica review concludes:
Here’s the thing: I actually like Windows 11 pretty well, and as I’ve dug into it and learned its ins and outs for this review, I’ve warmed to it more. The window management stuff is a big step forward, the new look is appealing and functional, and the taskbar regressions mostly don’t bother me (the more you customized the taskbar and Start menu in Windows 10, though, the more the new version’s lack of flexibility will irritate you).
Unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows 11 is going to be starting its life with some of the same public perception problems that made Windows Vista and Windows 8 relatively unpopular.
Meanwhile, AnandTech concludes:
I’ve only a had a short time with Windows 11, and that is partially due to how short of a public beta that it got compared to Windows 10. Already there are some features that I really enjoy. The new interfaces are well thought out and easy to use. But for me, the true test is using a new version of the OS and then stepping back to an older version. How painful is it? How many of the new features do I miss? There is no single item right now that is a must-have, so swapping between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is not a huge deal. And that’s good because Windows 10 is going to be around for years to come still. Some of the biggest new features announced for Windows 11 won’t even be shipping until next year. Perhaps if and when they arrive that will make the difference.
Windows 11 just doesn’t seem like that big of a release to me, and depending on how much you enjoy using Windows, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. To me, it seems like this new UI theme is skin-deep, and underneath it all still lie countless layers of UI cruft dating all the way back to Windows 3.x.