Friday, September 30

Windows 11: 3 big changes I want to see in 2022

Windows 11 launched in October 2021 as a surprise follow-up to Windows 10, and now that it’s been out for a few months, it’s clear Microsoft’s latest operating system needs some work.

That’s significant because Windows 11 embodies Microsoft’s vision for the future of Windows, and right now it’s hard to recommend even as a free upgrade. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad operating system; Rather, Windows 11 refines much of what’s great about Windows 10 without compromising many of its strengths.

The problem is that Windows 11 isn’t compelling enough to warrant an upgrade right now if you’re already enjoying Windows 10. Fortunately, you don’t have to, as Microsoft has promised to continue supporting Windows 10 until 2025. the holidays I’ve answered a few questions from people in my life about whether Windows 11 is worth upgrading to and so far I’ve had to say no.

That could change next year, after Microsoft has time to develop Windows 11 and make some much-needed updates. To give you an idea of ​​what I’m talking about, here’s a rundown of some of the major Windows changes I’d like to see in 2022.

Compatibility with native Android applications

This is the most noticeable and glaring feature missing from Windows 11 because it was a major part of Microsoft’s marketing plan. A native Android version of Tiktok that runs on the same desktop as Excel was unveiled during the Windows 11 unveiling in June 2021, and despite disappointing news that Windows 11 users (at least initially) would be Limited to downloading Android apps from the Amazon Appstore, we were cautiously excited about the possibilities of native Android app support (via Intel’s Bridge technology) on Windows.

The promise of Android apps (like Genshin Impact, pictured) running natively on Windows 11 is compelling and must be delivered. (Image credit: Future)

Now almost four months have passed since the debut of Windows 11 and the operating system still lacks this promised feature. Sure, there’s a limited selection of Android apps available for download in the Windows Store as Progressive Web Apps (rather than native Android), so you can at least get an idea of ​​what running apps on your desktop will feel like.

We probably won’t have to wait long for full support for native Android apps in Windows 11 either, as Microsoft turns to Windows Insiders to help beta test native Android apps ahead of their full release in 2022. Don’t forget that there are already some ways to get Android apps running on your Windows PC, without any additional help from Microsoft.

But when people ask me about Windows 11, many times they ask me if they can actually run their Android apps and games on their laptop smoothly. And right now, I have to say no; I must say that Android app support in Windows 11 is still MIA, and even when it arrives, it will be limited by what Android app stores allow Microsoft to enter the Windows Store.

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So far, there’s no indication that Windows 11 will gain full access to Google Play’s Android app library, which is a glaring weakness, though Google has committed to making a large chunk of Android games playable. play on Microsoft’s new operating system by committing to launch a Google Play Games desktop app on both Windows 11 Y Windows 10. If Microsoft wants to drive the migration to Windows 11, it needs to deliver on its promise of native Android app support as soon as possible.

Windows 11 isn’t just a fancier Windows 10 with a focused Start menu and Android app support. Microsoft has made a number of changes to the way Windows works, and many of them seem like smart improvements. For example, Snap Assist is one of the best new features in Windows 11, giving you more granular control over how you arrange windows on your desktop, while also making them easier to organize.

But if Snap Assist is an example of a Windows 11 feature that adds obvious value right out of the box, the Widgets menu is an example of a promising new feature that needs a little more work before it’s really worth mentioning.

Widgets in Windows 11 looked promising, but so far they’ve been so-so at best. (Image credit: Microsoft)

If you’re not familiar with Windows 11 Widgets, know that they’re self-updating tiles that reside in a hidden tray that slides in from the left side of the screen when you press the Widgets button. Said Widgets button is a new addition to the Windows taskbar, one you’ll find next to the newly centered Start button by default on every fresh install of Windows 11. However, you can and should hide it (via the Settings menu in the taskbar accessed by right-clicking the Start bar), because so far the Widgets offered in Windows 11 have been disappointing.

The problem is that, at least as of this writing, Windows 11 widgets are too rigid and limited to offer much value to users. There are currently eight widgets you can enable, showing up-to-date information on everything from your Outlook calendar to local traffic, stocks, and weather. These are decent offers, but none of them are more useful or quicker to access than a bookmark in your browser to a page with the same data.

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The Widgets menu in Windows 11 displays an endless smorgasbord of news and articles, but it doesn’t give users enough control to make it worth using. (Image credit: The Verge)

Beneath the Widgets themselves is a Featured Stories module that displays a selection of six stories from outlets like USA Today, Politico, and more. Beneath that is what seems like an endless river of more stories from media outlets around the world, a river you can choose to “customize” by selecting broadly worded interests from a list provided by Microsoft.

You can also choose to hide stories from outlets you don’t like, which I appreciate, but overall I’ve found this river of stories completely skippable. Again, you probably already have the websites you like to read bookmarked in your browser or news reader of choice, and the Widgets menu doesn’t give you enough control over the information it displays to make it worth using.

That’s really a shame, because when Windows 11 was first introduced to the public, I thought Microsoft’s decision to bring back Widgets was promising. I’ve always liked the idea of ​​widgets in Windows, though I thought their implementation in Windows Vista and Windows 7 wasn’t ideal. But the idea of ​​quickly opening a widget to monitor my CPU performance or quickly jot down a note always seemed like a great thing to do on my PC, which is why it’s so frustrating that Windows 11 doesn’t have widgets that let you do these basic tasks.

On the plus side, that means there’s a lot of room for Microsoft to improve on Windows 11 in 2022. I’m hoping one of the first big improvements will be a significant overhaul of Windows 11 widgets, with more options and more granular controls, because now I myself can’t help but recommend that newcomers to Windows 11 hide the Widgets button as soon as possible, and never look back.

Internet connection is not required to install Windows 11

The onerous Windows 11 system requirements have inspired a series of articles like this one, for good reason: They’re not easy to meet and they exclude a lot of PCs built before 2018, plus they have some confusing workarounds that let you bypass some or all of them, effectively revealing that they are not all that is required after all.

But I don’t expect Microsoft to change the requirements for installing Windows 11 much in 2022. What I do expect the company to do is reassess why you need an Internet connection to install Windows 11 Home, but not Windows 11 Pro.

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This may not be a big deal for the many people who won’t have a problem connecting to the Internet to finish setting up Windows 11 Home, but it’s a frustrating requirement that doesn’t seem to offer the user any benefit for the hassle. to meet him. It’s deeply unfair to people who don’t have easy or reliable Internet access, and it can cause real headaches if you suddenly need to reinstall Windows without a Wi-Fi connection.

I know from experience. Not long ago I had an issue with a laptop running Windows 11 Home that caused it to somehow lose its network adapter drivers, thus disconnecting it from Wi-Fi networks. I tried some tricks to get it back on Wi-Fi but to no avail. I eventually tried rolling back the drivers and then, in a moment of desperation, tried resetting the PC to factory defaults using the Reset this PC option in the Windows 11 Recovery menu.

Microsoft’s requirement that you have an internet connection to install Windows 11 Home is onerous and needs to go. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Big mistake. When it was all over, I found myself staring at the setup screen of a fresh install of Windows 11, with a problem: the network drivers hadn’t magically reappeared. That meant I could only go partway through the Windows 11 setup process before I was forced to stop and connect to the Internet, only I couldn’t connect to the Internet without first going to my Windows desktop to install drivers, so which was actually stuck. with a useless device where my laptop used to be.

I eventually resolved the issue by downloading the required drivers on another PC, placing them on a USB drive connected to the laptop, and then installing them through a complicated series of commands entered through the command prompt. It was, frankly, a ridiculous set of hoops to jump just so Windows 11 could attach a Microsoft account to my copy of Windows.

It’s even more ridiculous that I learned how to do that from Microsoft Support page for this issue, which describes the expanded series of steps users must follow to reinstall network drivers in order to bring their PCs online before they have finished setting up their operating system. While I appreciate that the company has at least put the information in an easy-to-find place, it’s disconcerting to imagine some of my less tech-obsessed friends and family trying to reinstall network drivers via a command prompt.

Is especially It’s ridiculous that Windows 11 Home users have to put up with this garbage requirement while Windows 11 Pro users don’t. Of course, you’ll have to pay for the privilege of bypassing it, as Microsoft charges $99 to upgrade to Windows 11 Pro from the Home edition.

I have no problem with Microsoft charging more for the Pro edition as it offers some useful upgrades like Bitlocker device encryption. I have a problem with the company putting this arbitrary requirement in the most common version of Windows 11, creating a lot of opportunity for frustration without offering anything to customers in return. Hopefully, Microsoft will see fit to remove this particularly onerous requirement from Windows 11 in 2022.

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