Windows 11 will become generally available Oct. 5. The release will come six years after Windows 10 launched, the longest stretch between releases in company history.
- The first and most immediately apparent — is one that has been around since that earliest preview build: The operating system’s design has been refreshed for a cleaner feel throughout.
- That includes new Snap Layouts, Groups and Desktops designed to offer a more organized approach to multitasking.
- A number of the company’s online services have been more deeply integrated into the OS. Microsoft 365 is built into the Start menu, offering up access to recently viewed files, for more cross-platform integration.
- Teams, meanwhile, has been added to the taskbar (Microsoft really wants you to use Teams, folks). You’ll find Widgets there, as well, with quick access to information like news, weather, sports and stocks.
- Windows 11 brings a modern look, with rounded corners and app icons displayed in the center of the taskbar.
- new sounds are designed to be less jarring. Microsoft redesigned the Start menu, the app store and the Settings app, and it’s easier to arrange multiple app windows on screen.
- Android apps will be available, by way of Amazon’s Appstore.
- The refresh comes as Microsoft faces rising competition from Chromebooks running Google’s Chrome OS, and Chromebooks are capable of running Android apps.