Windows 11 vs Windows 10: Windows 11 is coming out later this year, which means you may be wondering how it differs from Windows 10.
Visually, they are quite different, but there are other changes that differentiate the next generation of Windows from the current one. You probably have questions about whether you should upgrade, and we’ll help you sort that out by looking at all the differences between the two.
Should you upgrade?
Just as Windows 10 was a free upgrade for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7, Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for Windows 10. But there’s one catch. This update is only valid as long as your computer passes the tests in Microsoft’s PC Health Check app, which has already caused quite a bit of controversy, especially regarding the TPM 2.0 requirement.
Even if you pass the test, you may be wondering if you should upgrade. Before we get into the differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11, we’ll give some advice on possible upgrade paths.
Currently, Windows 11 is still in beta stage. You’ll only be able to get it through the Windows Insider program starting the week of June 28. If your computer is compatible, you’ll be testing Windows 11 with a lot of bugs and other problems. We advise you to wait to upgrade to Windows 11 just in case.
Microsoft says it will roll out Windows 11 to PCs by the end of 2021 and during 2022. That’s when Windows 11 will be the most stable and you’ll be able to safely install it on your PC. Even so, we think it’s best to wait a little longer. Obviously, Microsoft will recommend a long-term upgrade to Windows 11 because it will be the latest version of Windows, but you can stay on Windows 10 if you want.
Windows 10 will be supported until 2025, but Microsoft hasn’t said how many updates Windows 10 will officially receive going forward. There’s not much need to upgrade to Windows 11 right away, unless you want to try out the new features we’re about to talk about.
Start menu and taskbar
If you’re looking at the differences between Windows 11 and Windows 10, the biggest differences are the Start menu and the taskbar. In Windows 11, Microsoft places the taskbar and Start menu in the center of the screen. This makes it more similar to MacOS and ChromeOS. However, you can move it back to the left if you want.
As for the Start menu, Windows 11 has simplified it a bit. You’ll only see a static list of apps, with the most frequently used documents at the bottom. You can expand the app list, scroll through it, and pin apps as you see fit. This may sound familiar, but it’s important to note that Windows 11 is dropping support for Live Tiles. If you really want to see the information in the Start menu at a glance, Windows 10 is best.
As for the taskbar, note that Windows 11 has a few significant changes from Windows 10. Microsoft has minimized the search box to an icon and also removed the Cortana features in Windows 11. If you need Cortana, you’ll have to download the app. Search has also moved to the center of the screen, with a floating design and tab layout like in Windows 10.
Even Windows Timeline is gone. Windows 11 gives up that Windows 10 feature in favor of the Microsoft Edge sync option. The place where Windows Timeline used to be has been taken over by virtual desktops.
But if you want to pin the taskbar to the right or left side of your screen, we have some bad news. You won’t be able to do that anymore, as the taskbar will only remain at the bottom in Windows 11. Apps won’t be able to customize the taskbar either.
Many of these changes are just visual. Windows 11 and Windows 10 have the same features, only the appearance differs.
Multitasking and external monitor support
You may have seen Microsoft’s demonstration of multitasking in Windows 11 and wondered if it will be carried over to Windows 10. As far as we know, it’s a Windows 11 exclusive feature and you won’t see it in Windows 10.
In Windows 11, you can enhance multitasking with Snap Layouts, which groups windows and saves them to the taskbar. Hover your cursor over the maximize button and you can group windows of different sizes. Windows 10 won’t have that. It retains the traditional “Snap” feature, where you’ll need to manually group windows using a key combination or by hovering your cursor over a particular side of the screen.
Then there’s a note about external monitors. Windows 11 remembers how your windows were positioned on an external monitor, and will keep them in that state when you disconnect from the monitor and then plug it back in. This is one of the most annoying problems with Windows 10 that Windows 11 will finally fix.
Windows 10 has a traditional tablet mode where the computer goes to a full-screen Start menu. In Windows 11, that feature has been removed.
Instead, Windows 11 behaves more like an iPad, where everything feels lighter to the touch when you switch your device to tablet mode. You’ll even see an effect under the window when you tap your finger on it. Microsoft has also added gestures for opening and closing windows, switching between desktops and new options in the Windows Ink workspace. All of this isn’t present in Windows 10’s tablet mode, which many people didn’t understand.
The app store in Windows 11 and Windows 10 will be quite similar, but with a key difference. The Windows 11 app store will come with support for Android apps through the Amazon App Store. Windows 10 won’t have that option because Windows 11 depends on the new Windows Subsystem for Android.
The updated Microsoft Store design in Windows 11, which makes it easier to find apps and movies, will eventually appear in Windows 10. Microsoft confirmed this at a developer session after the Windows 11 event on June 24. You just won’t get Android apps in Windows 10. The store will still allow you to download all Windows apps for both operating systems. This includes Win32, UWP and Progressive Web Apps.
Other differences and remote features
We’ve spent a lot of time covering the major differences between Windows 10 and Windows 11, but there are still some changes you need to be aware of if you’re planning to upgrade. This is because Windows 11 has removed some features from Windows 10.
You will no longer be able to sync your desktop wallpaper, Internet Explorer and the math input panel will be removed, and some apps will be removed. Among the apps removed in the update will be 3D viewer, OneNote for Windows 10, Paint 3D and Skype. However, you can still find them in the store. Microsoft offers a full list if you’re worried.
If you’re a gamer, note that Windows 11 has some exclusive features for you. Auto HDR will make your games brighter, and Direct Storage will provide faster loading of games from your graphics card.
Support and update cycle
It has been confirmed that Windows 11 will receive updates once a year. This is the same as with MacOS. Windows 10, meanwhile, remains somewhat of a mystery. Microsoft is committed to supporting Windows 10 until 2025.
We don’t know if it will still receive biannual updates, but if you really want the latest and greatest version of Windows, Windows 11 is the way to go.