Windows 11 is coming, but what tangible reasons do you have to upgrade to it compared to Windows 10? In this article we answer that question by running you through all the major new features coming to Windows 11 and what they mean for you.
1. Stay Up to Date (for Free If You’re on Windows 10!)
The first and most obvious incentive for users to upgrade to Windows 11 is to stay up to date, especially in today’s era of ransomware attacks. Windows 11 will be the first to get all the major security updates and fixes that could impact users of previous versions of Windows. Even if you have absolutely no interest in the new features, staying secure and up to date should matter to you.
2. Android App Compatibility
Windows 11 will offer support for Android apps through Amazon Appstore and will even integrate them into the taskbar when in use – like a native Windows app. Sideloading your own APKs should be possible according to a Windows developer, though Windows 11 hasn’t made this feature possible yet in the preview. (The Insider Preview available at the time of writing doesn’t yet have any Android support.)
3. DirectStorage Support
Everyone knows a Solid-State Drive (SSD) makes your PC faster, but most modern games aren’t made to utilize all that extra speed. But with the PS5 and Xbox Series consoles being built on top of NVMe SSDs as a baseline, games are being made with that level of storage speed in mind, greatly increasing the possibilities. DirectStorage brings that technology to Windows but is only going to be available on Windows 11.
4. Snap Layouts for Improved Windows Snap
Snap has been a core feature of Windows since Windows 7 but hasn’t gone through very many changes until now. Pre-set and customizable Snap layouts have been added to the Snap feature in Windows 11, allowing any number of unique window layouts to be easily accessible at a given time.
5. Snap Groups (for Remembering Snap Layouts)
In addition to the new preset and customizable Snap layouts, Snap Groups have been added. Snap Groups are used to save specific layouts of specific applications. For instance, if you need to edit video and have your video editor on one half of the screen and media player on the other, a Snap Group would remember that for you.
If you’re savvy with Windows, though, you may actually recognize some of these new Snap features from FancyZones/PowerToys. We don’t consider this equal to actually having the feature included in the OS, but if you want a taste of this Windows 11 feature now, check out our PowerToys article!
6. Microsoft Teams Integration
The realities of 2020 have made good video-conferencing software more important than ever. Microsoft Teams has done well in this regard, so it’s integrated directly into Windows 11. It’s quite the turnaround from Teams going down at the beginning of work-from-home, huh?
7. Auto HDR to Automatically Add HDR to Newer Games
HDR can add quite a lot to a game, but unfortunately, it isn’t natively supported by all games. This makes sense since HDR is somewhat complex, but with Windows 11, Microsoft has taken Xbox’s Auto HDR technology and applied it to all DirectX 11 (or newer) games running on the operating system.
At least for people with HDR TVs and HDR monitors, this will make quite a few games look better than ever with no extra work needed from the developers.
8. Improved Multiple Desktop Support
Previously, multiple desktops in Windows all had to share the same background, barring the use of third-party programs. Windows 11 will have desktops with individual backgrounds built into the operating system, allowing for that extra level of customization
9. DirectX 12 Ultimate Support
DirectX 12 Ultimate is where all of the next-generation gaming features are going to be on Windows, especially for games using features like real-time ray-tracing and mesh shading. If you want the highest graphics settings and in-game framerate, having DirectX 12 Ultimate will be a necessity for Windows gamers moving forward.
10. Last But Not Least: The New Interface
The new interface will have a taskbar with centered icons, a heavy focus on glass-like transparency we haven’t seen since Windows Vista, and it looks genuinely promising, especially if you’re used to centered taskbars from other operating systems.
It’s okay if that doesn’t interest you, as we’re sure developers will step up and create classic-styled taskbars for Windows 11, just like they’ve done for every version of Windows since Vista. That’s why we put this feature last – ultimately, a pretty new UI is just that: a pretty new UI.
What are you most looking forward to in Windows 11? Comment below and let us know.
Image Credit: Kārlis Dambrāns