Microsoft’s upcoming operating system, the much-rumoured and nebulous Windows 11 has leaked online, with footage revealing a new, more-simplified user interface, start menu, acoustics and much more.
check out our full Windows 11 hands-on for more. And yes, there's a dark mode and you can move the Start menu back to the left side
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) June 16, 2021
The Verge writes that the new operating system features a UI very similar to that which was originally running on Windows 10X. Window 10X featured a simplified version of the UI for dual-screen devices, but this was scrapped in favour of Windows 11.
It seems that Microsoft has cannibalised large parts of the now-cancelled Windows 10X OS for this new version of Windows.
Windows users will notice that the taskbar in Windows 11 is one of the largest visual changes – app icons are now centred, instead of starting from the left.
The Start Menu, now appearing from the centre of the screen, has also been updated and the tray areas have been tidied somewhat, perhaps in an effort to get more users to interact with the Start Menu. During the XP era, the Start Menu was your PC’s principal hub for accessing apps, Windows 10’s current Start Menu isn’t as vital to running your PC as it once was.
The simplified Start Menu in Windows 11 shows pinned apps, recent files and an even more streamlined process to shut down or restart your PC.
For users who wish for a more traditional Windows experience, Windows 11 carries an option to return all taskbar apps and the Start Menu itself back to the left of the screen.
Users will also notice that Microsoft has sprung for more rounded corners and a floatier, Mac-like presentation. This leaves Windows 11 looking like a more refined and user-friendly version of Windows 10 than something refreshingly new.
Windows 11 is definitely a cleaner, more sterilised presentation, solidified by its simplicity-fueled new startup sound.
this is the new Windows 11 startup sound pic.twitter.com/UQZNFBtAxa
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) June 15, 2021
The leaks represent an early version of Windows 11 which carries a limited number of features. Users should expect release versions to be different to what has been seen so far. The Verge suggests that since much of the OS appears to be finished, users should expect a beta version to ship sooner rather than later.
Windows 11 comes with an icon labelled “Widgets” upon the taskbar. It has been rumoured for some time that widgets would be returning to Windows at some point in the future. So far in the leaked, early version, the widgets function doesn’t seem to be fully functional as of yet.
Windows 11 also includes new icons for Downloads, Desktop, etc. and impressive snap controls accessible from the maximise/minimise button on the top right.
These snap controls will further simplify app-screen adjustments.
This leak comes one week before Microsoft is expected to announce the new OS at a virtual presentation on 24 June. The Windows developer has been teasing the new OS for months.
An earlier leak described Microsoft’s new OS as “Windows Sun Valley”, but it appears this may have only been its WIP name as the developer has clearly decided to stick to its numbered naming convention. This is despite statements from Microsoft that Windows 10 would be the last OS of its kind.
Users should expect a more presentable version to be shown on the 24th.