Windows 11 build leaks
For the first time since Microsoft unveiled Windows 10, there’s cause for excitement. On June 24, Microsoft is going to reveal “what’s next for Windows,” and it’s expected to be a big virtual celebration.
Why is it a big event? Rumor has it that Microsoft may announce a long-announced “Sun Valley” visual update for Windows. The new version of the operating system, which may be called Windows 11, is expected to include a major upgrade to the Windows user interface.
We recently experienced a leaked version of the Windows 11 build, which confirms not only the name, but also some of the newest features.
Price and release date
It’s almost confirmed that Windows 11 will be announced at the June 24 event, but that doesn’t mean we have an exact release date for the update.
At this point, based on how previous Windows releases have been planned, a release late this fall or early next year seems likely. Microsoft will first need to beta test the operating system in the Windows Insiders program before releasing it to manufacturers and the general public.
The company has already prepared for this by suspending Windows Insider builds for the next few weeks while it “tests the maintenance pipeline.” A leaked version of Windows 11 has also surfaced, giving a first look at the near-final version of the operating system, as shown in other images in this post.
As for pricing, we can’t say anything definitive here. But we can judge the price of Windows 10, since the prices of this OS have not changed much compared to Windows 8 and Windows 7. If Microsoft continues with the consumer versions of Windows “Pro” and “Home,” Windows 11 Home is expected to cost around $119 and Windows 11 Pro $200. That’s the price of new fresh copies, of course.
Again, we’ll have to wait and see what Microsoft decides. There’s even a chance that Windows 11 could become a regular free “upgrade” to Windows 10, just like Windows 8.1 for Windows 8 or Windows 10 for Windows 7.
Or Microsoft could simply continue its current “Windows as a service” phase. In that case, Microsoft could continue to upgrade the current Windows 10, providing elements of Windows 11 as a feature-packed experience in Windows 10 to anyone who wants it. And all of this would happen while allowing other users to stay on the current version of Windows 10, known as 21H1.
But this is all just speculation. It looks like Windows 11 could be an entirely new OS, separate from Windows 10, and Windows 10 could be left as an option for those who still want to use it before 2025. However, there is no word yet on what devices Windows 11 will run on. Based on our hands-on experience, we believe that any device that runs Windows 10 will also be able to run Windows 11.
Visual redesign of the taskbar and Start menu
There are many rumors about features that may appear in Windows 11. They all point to a redesign of Windows codenamed Sun Valley. So we think that elements of the Sun Valley visual update will eventually appear in Windows 11. We say that because a new batch of leaked information about Windows 11 has just revealed the kind of work Microsoft is doing on the new OS.
We’ve installed a leaked build of Windows 11 and included some screenshots of what might be new in Windows 11. The floating and centered Start menu and centered taskbar are the two most noticeable new elements. They give Windows a radically new feel, both throwing in Live Tiles and applying a more touch-friendly design. Instead of Live Tiles, you have standard icons that connect to your apps and that you can “pin” for your convenience.
Under the icons, you’ll find a list of recommended documents and files powered by OneDrive, or the files you go to most on your device. This is one of the biggest changes to the Start menu since Windows 10 came out.
In addition to the Start menu, another new element is the floating jump lists on the taskbar, though we haven’t seen them yet in the leaked build. Rounded corners and menus are also new in Windows 11, as is the redesigned Action Center, which places more emphasis on cleaner sliders and rounded buttons. Microsoft has even changed the window system in Windows 11, at least in this leak. Hovering over the maximization icon reveals new ways to separate apps for multitasking.
New animations, sounds and widgets
The animations in Windows 11 have also been updated to look smoother and more natural. This is best seen when you click on the Start menu itself or minimize and close windows. The animation looks and feels smooth, unlike what you see on mobile operating systems.
Windows 11 will also come with a new collection of sounds that also help transform the Windows vibe to feel fresh.
Like the old version of Windows Vista, Windows 11 has a new “Widgets” section. Widgets function much like the News and Interests feature in Windows 10. Click on the widget icon in the taskbar and you’ll see things like weather, top news, stocks, sports scores and more. We assume the widgets may be expanded after Windows 11 is released.
Other features include more touch-friendly windows, a new split-screen feature for better multitasking, and new gestures for tablets.
The legacy of Windows 10X
Even before the leaks appeared, many rumors were fueled by a blog post in which Microsoft announced the Windows 10 May 2021 Update. In that post, Microsoft mentioned that it would move some features of its now-cancelled Windows 10X operating system to “other parts of Windows.” Note that the post refers specifically to “Windows,” not “Windows 10,” which further reinforces the speculation about Windows 11.
Windows 10X promised to provide a redesigned taskbar, Start menu, action center and tons of new visuals for a new Windows flavor for budget and dual-screen devices. Due to the pandemic, Microsoft has refocused those plans. Now most of these features appear to be carried over to Windows 11. A demonstration of these features can be made in a leaked build that can be installed on any modern PC if you have an ISO file.
Microsoft has already officially hinted at some of these new features. These include new application container technology, which is already integrated into Microsoft Defender Application Guard. Also included are improved voice typing capabilities and an upgraded touch keyboard with optimized key sizes, sounds, colors and animations. Microsoft has even worked to improve fonts in Windows.
Windows 11 features we want to see
There are visual elements in the leaked build of Windows 11 that have been left out. We hope Microsoft can tidy them up by June 24 to provide a more unified approach to the entire interface.
In addition to the visual redesign, Windows 11 may have many other things that we haven’t yet seen in the leaks. The first is a redesigned Microsoft Store, which puts more money in the hands of developers and allows classic Win32 apps like Google Chrome. New icons are another thing, as is a redesigned settings app that recently leaked online on a French publication.
Most of our impressions of Windows 11 so far come from the leaked build. The situation may yet change, so we’ll have to wait until June 24 to see what happens officially. But for now, the bar is set very high. A redesigned Windows is on its way, and we can’t wait to see the finished product.