The ACTUAL Improvements in Windows 11

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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?

Comments (6)

6 responses to “The ACTUAL Improvements in Windows 11”

  1. Paul Thurrott

    Yes, you completely missed the point of the article, which suggests you didn't read it (or even its title) very closely.


    In the title is the word "little" and the phrase "that no one is talking about." Those were both purposeful: we all know about the BIG things that Microsoft improved in Windows 11, and we've all written about it ad naseum. Hell, I wrote an entire series of articles about the major changes in 22H2 alone:


    https://www.thurrott.com/?s=new+in+22h2


    I noticed something much less obvious. That was the point. And I telegraphed it in the title.

    • dftf

      I can assure you I did read your article, Paul, but I think you are incorrect in the things you highlighted.


      Crapware: I'm not-sure what your exact issue is here. It seems you're saying both "Windows 10 has way-more crapware than Windows 11", or that "while there are still crapware apps in Windows 11, they're less-crappy than those in 10".


      Which simply isn't true. I've done a test clean-install of both the latest Windows 10 21H2 and Windows 11 21H2 versions inside a VM, and both installed a total of 7 third-party apps:

      Windows 10 and 11 both came with: Adobe Photoshop Express • Amazon Prime Video • Disney+ • Spotify • TikTok

      Windows 10 came with: Hidden City • Roblox

      Windows 11 came with: Facebook • Instagram


      So I guess part of your statement is true only-if one considers "Hidden City" and "Roblox" to be worse than "Facebook" and "Instagram". But the first part isn't true: both come with the exact same number of third-party apps.

    • dftf

      Crapware (continued): next, let's consider first-party apps (i.e. those from Microsoft themselves). Does Windows 10 come with more of those apps than 11?


      Windows 10 only: 3D Viewer • Mixed Reality Portal • OneNote • Paint 3D

      Windows 11 only: Microsoft To Do • News • Power Automate • Windows Security • Windows Terminal


      (Beyond these, both offer the exact-same apps, except "Skype" in 10 gets replaced by "Teams" in 11. Also, on both 10 and 11 the exact-same apps can be uninstalled, both of the "Modern" apps, or legacy ones via either "Optional Features" in Settings, or "Turn Windows features on or off" in Control Panel).


      So, again... no difference I can see, really?

    • dftf

      Lastly, on your other two points:


      Start Menu advertising via "Suggested apps": on a clean install, I didn't see this category, but I would imagine it does drop-in over-time. But it's straightforward on Windows 10 to turn off: Start > Settings > Personalisation > Start, then turn "Show suggestions occasionally in Start" to off.


      File Explorer advertising (e.g. banners for OneDrive): one of my laptops runs the Home version of Windows 10 21H2, which is the edition that usually gets the most adverts. And yet I've never seen an advert in File Explorer now for years. So either this is one of those region-specific things, where US users might see them, but others don't. Or maybe if you go into the File Explorer options and untick "Show sync provider notifications" that might stop them?

      • navarac

        Start Menu adverts....Discover Melbourne


        This has been seen on relatives PC. Bear in mind this in the UK, a "suggestion" to 'Discover Melbourne' was in the search box, Merlbourne is in Australia to remind people - why the f*** would you want that there? Do MSFT get paid for this utter crap? Surely they are not THAT short of cash to infest an OS in such a way? Glad I'm not using this crap that is Windows 11.

  2. lwetzel

    Paul you have my vote to keep on keeping on! It's today's world.

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