My Short, Hopefully Unbiased Take on Windows 11

It’s fine.

Seriously, I’ve been running Insider Preview builds on one laptop and recently moved to it on all my physical machines, with zero trouble so far.

Some key highlights:

The big game changer for me - and layouts change depending on your monitor as well
  • The Snap Assist window management feature is so good (simple, quick, intuitive) that I’ve stopped using the Fancy Zones PowerToy and am for something that does the same on the Mac (Moom can’t match it, and I wrote a Phoenix script to emulate some of the layouts, but it still needs to be keyboard-driven). I’m a bit weirded out by this, but, overall, the multitasking UX on Windows is actually better than on the Mac for me right now.
  • The entire experience is rock solid. I’ve had zero software issues or perceptible bugs.
  • Most of the (relatively few) extras I usually installed (like Windows Terminal) are now bundled in.
  • I’m not sold on the new taskbar – first thing I did was to move it to the left because Fitts’ Law makes it easier to use accurately, the second (since it cannot be made slimmer) was to auto-hide it.
  • I honestly don’t get the news widgets. Those were the first thing I disabled, since they’re just a distraction and were pretty sluggish on my older machines. Sorry to anyone who thought those were a good idea, but I’m the kind of person who’s still trying to disable all the Bing News stuff on all my Edge profiles as well.
  • New Edge is fine, too. I use it to run Teams inside (I live almost completely inside Edge, from e-mail to 80% of my document editing) and save memory by using a single browser instance.
  • Things feel snappier in general (except stand-alone Teams and , which still feel slow).
  • There’s still a weird moment when you drag windows between HIDPI and normal displays (with comically large title bars during the drag, etc.). It’s OK, but still weird.
  • I have had zero compatibility issues (but have very little extra software installed).

I have not yet tried to upgrade my Windows 10 VMs and use them via Remote Desktop (a critical use case for me), but I don’t expect there will be any problems with the new UX–only the TPM workarounds I might need to do.

All in all, I’d say it’s a solid upgrade–let’s see if I’ll be able to say the same of Monterey in a month or so, shall we?

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