I read the Premium article “The Little Improvements in Windows 11 That No One is Talking About” yesterday, and was disappointed in the things Paul selected to highlight — neither of which I felt are really anything significant.
So after using the most-recent “Dev” version of Windows 11 that you can currently download an ISO image for (Version 22H2, Build 25140.1000), I thought I would try and put-together 11 actual improvements I think are more worthwhile mentioning:
(1) Dark-mode in more apps: Notepad, Paint, Problem Steps Recorder (except the settings dialog), Task Manager
In the Feedback Hub, users had been asking for dark-mode in Task Manager for literally years!
(2) New accessibility features: “Live Captions” and “Voice Access” (and the new, natural-sounding voices for Narrator)
Good-stuff, though new accessibility-features really should get backported to Windows 10, where possible.
(3) Android app support — perhaps the only “killer-feature”, for those who may use it
And many of you on this site have said previously you never will, and cannot see the point in this feature… so that bodes well!
(4) File Explorer: a nicer, cleaner-look with a new, single-line toolbar
Plus you can finally hide “This PC” and “Network” from the left-hand panel, too! (Tabs will be coming-soon too, but weren’t in the build I had.)
(5) Improved Windows Update
If an update required accepting a separate EULA (e.g. “Microsoft Office File Validation Add-In”), it would constantly fail to install in Windows 10.
In 11, a bar below the update now prompts you to view the terms, and after clicking “Accept”, they do now install. Progress!
(6) Improved security: SecureBoot, TPM, Core-Isolation all on by-default; Internet Explorer app (but not engine) removed
Helpful, I’m sure, though the first three features listed are things you can enable right-now in Windows 10.
Likewise, if you go into “Turn Windows features on or off”, you can also remove the “iexplore.exe” app from Windows 10 also.
(7) Unsafe-option that would delete everything in your “Downloads” folder finally gone
In Windows 10, both Disk Cleanup and Start > Settings > System > Storage > Temporary Files used to offer a “Downloads” option, which would delete everything inside the “Downloads” folder. They removed it from Disk Cleanup after user outcry, but not from the Settings app. Windows 11 finally removes the latter option also.
(8) Window-management improvements: “Snap Assist”, and window-location restoration when switching between displays
The latter is something which is long overdue, and reminds me of how long it took Microsoft previously to make it so your desktop icon layout would be saved so that changing screen-resolution wouldn’t re-order them (Windows 7, I think, is when that was introduced?).
(9) New hardware support: CPUs with efficiency-cores; Auto HDR; Dynamic Refresh-Rate control; USB 4.0; PCI Express 6.0 (upcoming)
Great, but only if you have a new PC or monitor that supports such features.
(10) 32-bit Windows finally gone!
Windows has finally joined-the-ranks of iOS/iPadOS, macOS, Android and some Linux distros in realising it’s not-worthwhile maintaining a 32-bit kernel edition, given how few people use them now! As-such, developer-time can be freed-up once the final Windows 10 edition retires (January 2029, I think… unless an IoT one exceeds that?).
(11) New Media Player app, which finally adds CD-ripping
So one-more reason the Windows 7-era Windows Media Player app is still retained can now be crossed-off, bringing the app closer to full-retirement.
(Though why they don’t just integrate this into the File Explorer app I don’t know. Plus… good-luck finding a laptop with an optical-drive in them thesedays!)
In the comments below… anything I’ve missed?