Windows 11 Pro versus Windows 11 Home

Windows 11 Pro versus Windows 11 Home

Microsoft left one major feature out of Windows 11’s initial release: Android apps. We know that eventually Android apps will be integrated in Windows 11, probably looking quite a bit like the Linux apps running in the Windows Subsystem for Linux and the Android apps in the Your Phone Companion app. It’s also not clear how deeply they’ll be integrated into your PC. Will Android apps have access to the camera, for example? Will they go full screen? Based on what Microsoft said in August, we’d doubt we’ll see Android apps in Windows 11 before 2022.

Intel, oddly, might be responsible for the delay, as it’s Intel’s Intel Bridge Technology that seems to be the foundation for Android apps. Intel has also told us that Windows 11 will be the operating system that best supports its upcoming Alder Lake hybrid processor, via the Windows 11 Thread Director thread scheduler that best optimizes that chip’s performance.

Microsoft still has some bugs and other issues to fix, too. With just a week to go before Windows 11’s October 5 launch date, some of the bugs we experienced included a blank Widgets app, a Widgets app that failed to accommodate a resolution change on the display its was shown on, a black screen in the Windows 11 Settings menu where the theme should have been shown, an Edge window that expanded to cover the Taskbar, and more.


Essentially, Microsoft places the most disconcerting aspects of Windows 11 front and center, while its best features are hidden deeper within. That puts Windows 11 at a marked disadvantage out of the gate.

We can applaud Microsoft’s efforts for trying to visually refresh Windows while acknowledging that, functionally, it isn’t entirely successful. Defending Windows 11 means trying to explain why Windows 11 robs certain functionality from the Start menu and Taskbar, while adding frankly extraneous apps like Widgets and Teams Chat. Of the features that we do think make Windows 11 worthwhile, such as Android apps, DirectStorage, and AutoHDR, too many are specific to certain hardware, or simply aren’t yet available. And, of course, the hardware support controversy and issues with local accounts in Windows 11 Home muddy the waters further.

Windows 11 is absolutely usable in its current state, and, like Windows 10, will improve over time. There’s already some evidence that Microsoft may be backtracking on certain aspects, such as dragging and dropping icons onto the Taskbar.

With Windows 10, Microsoft discarded the troubled tiled interface of Windows 8 and strode boldly forward into an optimistic future of biometric logins and virtual assistants. Windows 11 feels practical and productive, but less so than its predecessor in many aspects. Microsoft lost some of its magic along the way.

This story was updated at 1:00 AM on Oct. 4 to note that the Photos app and Paint app have now been updated within Windows 11.

The best overall Backup software

A small but vocal portion of the Internet also has complained bitterly about Microsoft eliminating drag-and-drop functionality from the Windows 11 Taskbar. In Windows 10, you can drag a file onto an open File Explorer folder, for example, and it will simply drop in. Other apps work similarly. I don’t use this feature myself, but others swear by it.

In Windows 10, the lower right-hand corner of your screen is known as the Action Center, and each little icon is clickable. Not so in Windows 11, which groups the icons into two clickable “buttons,” each of which can be seen when you hover over them with the mouse. (To the left of those icons is the taskbar’s overflow menu, which hides icons like OneDrive, Windows Security, and others behind a caret menu.) As you may have intuited from our discussion of the Taskbar, Notifications and the Action Center are only accessible from the primary or active display.

Instead, Microsoft has scattered search bars around Windows 11 seemingly willy-nilly There’s a Search icon on the taskbar, and a search box at the top of the Start menu, and another at the top of the new Widgets pane, which we’ll talk about later. Only the former two search your PC; the latter only searches the Web, using the Bing search engine by default. It doesn’t matter whether you use the Search app or the Start menu, or even the search box that appears when you hover your mouse over the Search icon on the taskbar, however. You’ll end up in the Search app regardless.

But from a user’s perspective, Widgets can be a distraction, too. Microsoft evidently took its News Bar concept and rejiggered it into a quasi-Facebook feed: an endless scroll of celebrity gossip, news, and more. If Microsoft still had its network, it would live here. Widgets can be “removed” from Windows 11, but I’m not entirely sure they deserve to be there in the first place.

The revamped Microsoft Store

We’re not seeing changes to other built-in apps like OneDrive, To-Do, and Maps, some of which continue to toil in obscurity. (Did you know that Maps has access to traffic cameras, so you can actually look at your commute before you set out?) We should also note that you should see Office apps like Word and Excel finally reflect the thematic choices you’ve made in Windows, flipping to Dark Mode if you’ve selected it for the operating system.

That flies in the face, somewhat, of what Microsoft calls foreground prioritization, a fancy name for simply giving the apps you want to work on their fair share of CPU and memory resources. Microsoft has previously showed this off by opening Word and Excel while a resource-intensive application was already running in the background. In Windows 11, some of the resources that “big” app consumes will be routed to those foreground apps, allowing them to run more smoothly. I’m not wholly convinced.

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