Windows 11 does not have an official release date. Although Microsoft says “Holiday 2021”, many speculators believe that the actual date is closer to mid-October. Several Windows 11 demo videos and images show the date and time as October 11th at 11 am.

There are a huge number of articles covering the upcoming Windows 11 changes. We’ve put together a list of the changes that we believe will affect users the most.

Windows 11 Installation

For Windows 10 Users, that’s most of us. Windows 11 will be free and will come as a Windows Update. In order to download and finish setup, you will need to remain connected to the internet and be signed in to your Microsoft account.

Although Microsoft did not mention specifically they state that, “A Microsoft Account is required for some features”. Our assumption is that the Windows 11 installation will run fine for users with a local account. Yet, you will need to sign in with your Microsoft account in order to get all of the updates.

Microsoft partners are able to download and test the Windows 11 Preview build (22000.51). This build includes most of the features we will experience later this year.

Windows 11 Error if your hardware is not compatible
Windows Alert if your PC cannot run Windows 11

CPU Limitations

Windows 11 introduces new minimum hardware requirements. One of the most notable things we found is that it appears any pre-Zen AMD CPUs will not be supported. If you don’t have a relatively new PC, check these CPU compatibility lists for your hardware. Intel CPUs, AMD CPUs, Qualcomm CPUs.

We expect there to be quite a few disgruntled users. Although there will always be upset users, our opinion is that the current chip shortages and supply chain constraints will limit some user’s ability to upgrade to compatible CPUs.

Features Removed from Windows 11

Cortana

Bye! You won’t be missed! Microsoft will be removing Cortana from the startup as well as the taskbar. As a Windows 10 user, I can tell you that I have not – purposefully – used Cortana in over 2 years daily-driving Windows 10. For the longest time, Cortana has felt like nothing more than a glorified audible paperclip, with fewer tricks.

Applications

Several apps will be missing from the Windows 11 clean install. Skype can be installed after the fact, yet, it is being phased out in favor of Microsoft Teams.

Paint 3D and Viewer 3D; it is weird that these will not be part of Windows 11, but, I can tell you that I personally find Paint 3D less user-friendly than the old-school Paint application. Paint 3D tries too hard and fails.

Internet Explorer is officially dead! Windows 11 will include Edge as the default browser. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Task Bar

The taskbar you’re familiar with will be zapped from existence. Instead, the taskbar and Windows Start Menu Icon we’ve all become familiar with are morphing into a center-justified toolbar just like MacOS has been doing for years. Additionally, there will be some enhancements coming for the new taskbar for audio and video control.

Also, the taskbar will be fixed to the bottom of the screen. My preference is to have the taskbar on the left side of my screen, but, as long as the new taskbar auto-hides, I’ll survive.

Features Added to Windows 11

3 Column Snapping

Currently, Windows 10 allows you to snap two windows, one to either half of the screen. However, if you are using a large monitor that is more than 1920 pixels wide, those two windows are still pretty huge. Previously, you could use a tool like Windows PowerToys “FancyZones” to get the same behavior, but, now it’s right out of the box.

Fun Fact: I highly recommend Windows PowerToys to anyone who is a developer. There are a bunch of helpful tools, but, none as handy as the built-in color picker. You’ll thank me later.

Audio and Video Controls

Windows 11 will include easy to access mute buttons for audio and video. This will be extremely helpful when using various conferencing apps; you no longer need to worry about where to find the in-app controls. Instead, just switch your camera or mic on/off with a keyboard shortcut or easy click on the taskbar.

A Note For Developers

Microsoft just announced that Microsoft app developers will be able to keep 100% – you read that right – of the gross revenue from apps that use their own or third-party payment systems. This is a huge divergence from the Android and iOS platforms that currently force transactions to go through their store so they can take a cut.

However, this only goes for apps, not for games. Microsoft does not have a clear definition of what constitutes a game vs an app, but, I’m sure more guidelines will come out over the coming months.

Although game transactions must still a cut to Microsoft, they are reducing their cut on PC from 30% to 12%. That’s honestly a “game changer” and it’s just the type of massive move that Microsoft needs in order to incentivize more developers to build apps compatible with their platform instead of simply building an OS agnostic web app.