back to article What Microsoft's Windows 11 will probably look like

Microsoft's Windows 11, expected to debut at a company event scheduled for June 24, has leaked online and is now appearing in screenshots on various websites. Screenshot of Windows 11's About page The leaked Windows 11 'About this OS' page showing off Windows 11 Pro. Source: Baidu Windows 11 build 21996.1 showed up on …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Will it still be a mish-mash of rewritten apps that lack half of the functionality of their predecessors, and ... the predecessor apps - hidden away to try and hide MicroSoft's embarrassment that they can't come up with complete and coherent replacements?

    Windows 10 is just a warmed over rehash of the f*ck up that was Windows 8. I don't expect 11 to be any better.

    1. The Sprocket

      Answer—probably. It's Microsoft. *yawn*

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        You mean will it have a toolbar in the bottom middle of the screen (just like Mac) with icons that popup and do pointless animations (just like Mac) but have configuration dialogs from NT4 once you get down into the weeds of disk management ?

        You may think so - I couldn't possibly comment

        1. karlkarl Silver badge

          The sad thing is that I am begging Microsoft to leave those few remaining NT4 config dialogs!

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            It's ok, the Load Font dialogue from Win 3.1 (or 95?) is still there.

    2. Refugee from Windows

      Same underlying code, just a different GUI, there won't really be much change under the bonnet. Absolutely.

      I'm sure that it'll regularly break anyone's other than Micro~1's software and give us all a new generation of undocumented features and orphaned devices.

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Facepalm

        You're thirty years late with your post.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          But still up-to-date?

          1. LDS Silver badge

            No, those days are long gone - since the market changes, and anti-trust cases against MS forced it to change its beahaviour.

            Windows is broadly documented now ,and does you can still find applications that don't run? Actually you can easily run quite old applications without issues. You've even got an embedded Linux to run Linux applications.

            Not that MS became a charity or a truly nice company - just it has no need to act like it did in the 1990s. Very different landscape and competitors.

            1. Peter-Waterman1

              Not that MS became a charity or a truly nice company - just it has no need to act like it did in the 1990s. Very different landscape and competitors.

              Really - how come they keep changing licencing laws if you want to go to any cloud other than Azure.

      2. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
        Devil

        Anyone other than Micros~1? I still remember having clients screaming down the phone that IIS 4 broke IE 4, while Netscape carried on quite happily.

        I still have an IE 4 install CD that came with my Windows 98 one. Maybe I should auction it on eBay as nostalgiaware?

    3. vtcodger Silver badge

      Should I care?

      Windows 11 appearance? Do I care? Should I care?

      My opinion. A quarter of a century has done little or nothing to improve on the mundane, but serviceable UI of Windows 95. In fact, I find Windows 10 to be a confused shambles if you are forced by circumstance to burrow deeper than left-clicking on a handful of desktop icons. Sort of like trying to find a book in a library organized by the library of congress system which nobody except (possibly) a few librarians understands.

      Why not just go back to the Windows 95 UI by default and get on with life? Everyone from kids who haven't quite mastered this alphabet thingee to the very elderly seemed to be able to master Windows 9 without much difficulty. Add an optional workspace/desktop capability for advanced users who want to multitask. Let those who want something different bring their own UI.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: Win95 . (was: Should I care?)

        XP for me. I've not used Win95, mind.

        But of all the extant UIs I've used (all the MacOSXs, all the Windozers bar 95 & ME), XP remains dominant. XP is basically Panther (MacOSX 10.3) with more regard for the user. (After 10.3, Apple switched to increasingly aggressive user-contempt.)

        .

        .

        [Of the extinct OSs, MacOS 8.6 by a country mile + fundamental step-change, then BeOS & AtariOS tying for 2nd.]

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: Win95 . (was: Should I care?)

          In terms of fundamental interface, no OS has ever beaten Amiga Workbench in my mind, except in the number of available resolutions.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Win95 . (was: Should I care?)

            No, let’s go back to GEM :)

            1. Dabooka Silver badge

              Re: Win95 . (was: Should I care?)

              GUIs are for lightweights.

              CP/M FTW!

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: Win95 . (was: Should I care?)

                Obviously this is going to be very subjective.

                Personally, I'm happiest and most productive using command-line tools under bash or ksh. (Second place probably goes to OS/400, now i, of all things. Its weird awkwardness made getting anything done rewarding.)

                That doesn't mean I think everyone who uses a general-purpose computer should switch to command-line use with bash or ksh; I put a great deal of personal resources into learning those interfaces. I much prefer to edit in vim, but I'd never argue for other people to learn it, because it's arcane and optimized for use cases that most people will never encounter. That it works for me says nothing about its suitability for some other random user.

                I've never really liked any GUI, except X11 with uwm or the window manager I wrote for myself. At least X11 offers a wide range of window managers, some of them reasonably customizable. And Windows can be forced into being less awful than its defaults, with things like implicit focus (though Microsoft and other ISVs manage to screw that up royally with menus and dialogs that disappear when they lose focus, an astonishingly stupid UI decision).

                1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

                  Re: Win95 . (was: Should I care?)

                  Personally, I'm happiest and most productive using command-line tools under bash or ksh. (Second place probably goes to OS/400, now i, of all things. Its weird awkwardness made getting anything done rewarding.)

                  For me OS/400 comes first, the unusual command interface makes it very easy to use once you are used to it.

  2. Andrew Williams

    I look forward to the return of blue screens… the type associated with death.

  3. The curmudgeonly one

    Why bother?

    I spend all day USING computers, rather than LOOKING at or admiring them. Windows I use grudgingly because of some tricky software.

    I cannot imagine that I would even notice that rectangles were no longer rectangles and had rounded corners. All this tweaking the UI is a load of cobblers.

    Now if the apps all worked, and in a coherent manner, I'd notice that.

    1. Captain Hogwash

      Re: Why bother?

      Home users.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why bother?

      > All this tweaking the UI is a load of cobblers.

      That's because they're NOT tweaking the UI -- just the GUI, ie, graphics, and some twiddly bits/chrome.

      All the extant OSs are minor variations on the same design: a primitive file system with an app launcher.

      > Now if the apps all worked, and in a coherent manner, I'd notice that.

      Now THAT would be a genuine change of UI :)

      1. CRConrad

        Re: Why bother?

        That's because they're NOT tweaking the UI -- just the GUI, ie, graphics, and some twiddly bits/chrome.
        Huh?!? A GUI is a UI.

    3. Timbo Bronze badge

      Re: Why bother?

      "I cannot imagine that I would even notice that rectangles were no longer rectangles and had rounded corners!"

      For various reasons, I still use Windows 7 and I've avoided the Windows 8/10 scramble that many have gone through.

      And looking at this website, using Chrome browser I notice: The program window has rounded corners. The tabs have rounded corners.

      And checking my desktop, the icons on my tool bar has slightly rounded corners...

      Clicking the start button gives me a vertical menu with rounded corners...highlighting an icon on my desktop shows it has rounded corners...and I just opened a spreadsheet in Excel and it has....rounded corners.

      So is this just a case of the Emperors New Clothes...?

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Linux

    Just

    give up m$ and make office available for linux.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Just

      What? Linux does not have an Office replacement?

      All the FOSS horses and all the FOSS men couldn't put a replacement together again?

      Anyway it's exactly the $ you put in m$ explaining why there's no Office for Linux - no money to be made.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Yes there's money to be made.

        Nobody says Borkzilla can't make a closed-source Linux version of Office. There's nothing in any Linux license that says you have to use Open Source Software.

        1. LDS Silver badge

          The problem is the user base - there are not enough Linux users willingly to buy Office for Linux. There's a tiny percentage of desktop users, and among them, even a smaller one willingly to buy a closed source office suite.

          If you create an environment unfriendly to commercial software - but on the server side, maybe - you can't complain if such commercial software doesn't come.

          1. ThatOne Silver badge

            > there are not enough Linux users willingly to buy Office for Linux

            I think you got it backwards: Forget the Linux users, it's about the Windows users who can't use Linux, because Office doesn't work on it.

            Which AFAIK is an awful lot of people, both private and corporate.

            1. LDS Silver badge

              They are awful people, I'm sure <G>

              Actually you keep on dreaming on a market that does not exist.

              Sure, if Office existed it could ease the transition somehow for those who need to use Office only - but why MS should ease that transition? In the business space it does still sell Windows.

              Moreover Office for macOS does exist, but still not everybody jumps on Apple, and it's not the price only - it's the whole ecosystem - people don't use Office only.

              1. ThatOne Silver badge

                > if Office existed it could ease the transition somehow for those who need to use Office only

                Which makes a big part of the corporate world. Yes, some professions use more exotic or specialized software, but most departments rely on some flavor of Office (mostly Excel with a rickety framework of Visual Basic macros...) for the everyday grunt work. I have tried a couple times to push (smaller) companies towards Linux, but the blocking issue was always the lack of Office. *shrug*

                .

                > but why MS should ease that transition?

                I agree that would be stupid.

                (Didn't downvote you.)

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              >I think you got it backwards: Forget the Linux users...

              But if Office worked on Linux, MS wouldn't need Windows for business users...

              Interestingly, it would make a huge differentiator between MS business products and MS consumer/home product lines. For Windows MS could either re-introduce Works or just force consumers to use Microsoft 365 online (ie. browser version of Office) only.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Just

      "make office available for linux."

      Why? It's not needed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just

        It really isn't.

        And what exactly are the insurances in using commercially licensed office software? ... that is runs? A nice thing about not using commercially licensed software is that you can instantly reinstall it anywhere in a pinch since you don't have to worry about some magic license key.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: Just

          > And what exactly are the insurances in using commercially licensed office software?

          That the people you hire will most likely be immediately fully operational, as opposed to calling support every 5 minutes asking where to find or use a given feature.

          Power users and software developers are just a tiny minority of the general population, most people just use a computer to do their job, and don't want to waste any more time than absolutely necessary learning computer stuff. It's not where their expertise is at, not what they're paid to do.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just

            "That the people you hire will most likely be immediately fully operational, as opposed to calling support every 5 minutes asking where to find or use a given feature."

            Until the next Office release when the ribbon is replaced with the next brilliant idea and everyone in accounts payable freaks out because they can't find where to change the font color.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: Just

              Yes, but that's a different thing: Microsoft has them by the short hairs, so this kind of change goes to profit and losses / act of God...

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Just

            "That the people you hire will most likely be immediately fully operational"

            Or appear to be fully operational.

            Three words:

            Covid. Statistics. Excel.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge
              Devil

              Re: Just

              > Or appear to be fully operational.

              That's all it usually takes, doesn't it...

    3. M_W

      Re: Just

      The only user friendly version of Unix (that does everything they expect it to do) is MacOS.

      Linux will never be a mainstream OS for day to day end users until they sort out the fact that it's not only techies that use computers. Whilst you and I may be able to mount a USB device via the command line, most dense home users cannot. They just want stuff to work. And unfortunately Linux is too much of a change for them to make.

      It's why Apple is so successful - whilst it may annoy us techies that they limit access (and if you go under the hood with the Unix command line it's OK) the home users just love it as it's not complex like Windows or Linux. It generally just 'works' for them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just

        I'm assuming you haven't used the latest KDE or Gnome Linux desktop distros, as they do more out of the box than you want. It's starting to resemble how Windows forced Clippy on you... forced it on you everywhere. Don't _EVER_ install with the option "Full" or else the update icon will forever be alerting you.

        I use KDE preferably and by default it's probably the worst of all of them as far as "assuming" you want things (key ring prompts, ballon pop-ups, odd window grouping, system tray icons for everything, etc...), but if someone walked into a Best Buy (or whatever) and used a Gnome or KDE distro, I seriously doubt anyone would have problems or even care what it is.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Just

          "but if someone walked into a Best Buy (or whatever) and used a Gnome or KDE distro, I seriously doubt anyone would have problems or even care what it is."

          And unlike Windows since Win8, you can choose how it looks. Windows these days is so much more Apple like in it's walled garden approach. It looks like how the designers want it to look and the user has minimal control over how it looks. Just look at the latest MS puff piece on choosing a new default font. Who the fuck cares? There a loads of fonts out there, just let the user choose which one(s) they want the OS to use.

          In a corporate environment, you don't want the users messing about with the GUI of course. But even in a corporate environment, there will be GUI and workflow changes forced by updates that at best can only be put off for a while.

        2. badf

          Re: Just

          I'll believe in a world of linux desktops when pulse audio doesn't get munted every time I look at it funny.

          I'm lucky to get 2 speakers working, let alone the 5.1 my motherboard and speakers can do. Currently it is using the left front and sub as the 2 channels - that is when I don't open chrome to watch YouTube and get garbage through... and the sound is then stuffed until I cold boot the pc.

          Sound has been a solved problem on windows and mac for what... a couple of decades?

          1. Binraider Silver badge

            Re: Just

            Sound gives me grief under PulseAudio, consistently. Firstly; I can't use an external audio interface of choice, a MOTU 828 Mk3. Second, connecting plugging the output of the 828 via a 1/4" jack into a sound card gives very intermittent results. The output behaves (except after the system goes to sleep), but input; I often have to shut everything down, then power up devices in the right order to have them reliably work.

            The TOSlink on the sound card is not recognised at all by PulseAudio.

            I say linux gives me grief; under Windows 10 audio latency has increased enormously; to the point that the ONLY reason for me to keep windows (Propellerhead Reason) is no longer a compelling use case.

            The replacements for WDM audio in 8/10 are awful compared to 7. And ASIO doesn't seem to behave nicely on my hardware under 10. I'd keep 7 around, though re-installing 7 in this day and age is nasty. Driver support drying up too.

            There is a non-Poettering replacement to PulseAudio in the works though I've not tried it out yet.

            It's enough to make someone want to go Mac. (If you want high quality audio recording).

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Just

              >I say linux gives me grief; under Windows 10 audio latency has increased enormously

              I seem to remember that one of the reasons for Android was that standard Unix/Linux wasn't up to the job of handling the real-time demands of voice processing and mobile communications. It would seem with high quality audio you are hitting similar barriers - perhaps the time has come for an Android style Linux desktop/laptop fork .

              What is going to be interesting is what happens in the coming year - there is a clear and user noticeable difference between Zoom from a iPad/iPhone (video and audio quality) and a typical laptop with 720p HD webcam. I would hope that laptop manufacturers will step up and start supplying sub £1K laptops with 1080p HD webcam and decent noise cancelling mic and audio playback, however, suspect this would cripple many low end platforms.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Just

          I don't quite recognise the KDE you describe. I don't know what you're doing to get keyring prompts. The only pop-ups I see frequently are from Cookie Exterminator telling me it's exterminated cookies but that's neither KDE not the underlying OS but a browser add-on.

          Update notifications - maybe that depends on the distro - Mint seems to put them out with great frequency, less bleeding edge distros such as Debian & Devuan less so. But at least they're notifications to install at leisure and seldom require a reboot.

      2. Dr. Vagmeister

        Re: Just

        I'm using F33 and KDE, and no issues of using a USB stick - automatically mounts and is usable in Dolphin. You do have to eject the USB stick, rather than just pull it out, if it has NTFS.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Just

          Same here, but KDE on FreeBSD. USB storage device "just mount". Even a never before seen one mounts without waiting for the OS to install drivers like Windows still does. Although I still ALWAYS unmount before removing one on any OS. It feels safer. Something learned through hard experience. Even back in the days of the BBC micro, you could damage floppy disk contents by powering on or off when the drive door closed and heads in contact with the disc. Always make sure things are "safe" when adding or removing storage :-)))

      3. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Just

        Such reckless hate for a simple idea.....

        With office running on Linux, those linux geeks will make damn sure office will run.

        For m$ it opens up a whole new revenue stream, plus the chance they can move away from the legacy of windows(and all its faults)

        But FOSS.... whaa

        I used closed source applications on Linux EVERY DAY, the machine tools run a custom Linux OS, then they install a closed source application on top to interface with the hardware.

        If you so wish, you can contact the manufacturer and get a copy of the OS (asking for the source of the application gets a robust f-off)

        It is possible to make money selling software that goes on Linux and m$ should do it(by making office for Linux)

        PS Mount a USB via the command line in linux?. ... I've never done that once and I go back to Fedora 6 !

    4. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
      Linux

      Re: Just

      They'll get there. Teams is already available for Linux.

      1. Col_Panek

        Re: Just

        And it works, um... well, the same on Linux as on Windows. Too bad the same can't be said of Skype. I dunno about any other Microsoft apps, that's all I use.

    5. Col_Panek

      Re: Just

      Yes, there are dozens of customers who will gladly pay for Office rather than LibreOffice!

      Present company excepted.

  5. Unbelievable!
    Big Brother

    Marketing. "Oops. a leak.. how did that happen?"

    *SIGH*

    This is a classic marketing "official leak".

    aka 'Look at this, not at that pointy object closing in on your sensitive bits that you'd usually protect and guard against' (privacy).

  6. cb7

    FFS. 6 bleeding years they've had to improve on Windows 10 and this is all they could come up with???

    The task bar now look like a flat copy of the macOS Dock. And who gives a flying monkey of the window corners are square or rounded?

    Here's a short list of the sort of real issues that need urgent long overdue attention:

    - A UI that doesn't suck. Eg active windows that stand out from inactive windows (like they used to in WinXP). A cursor I can actually see on multiple high res screens.

    - Give me a slicker way to work with multiple recently used folders.

    - Multi windowed control panel (like it used to) - not just a single Settings window that sometimes goes AWOL.

    - Better integration with iOS and Android devices now that Windows mobile is a rotting corpse somewhere.

    Instead, all we get is more pussying around with stupid minor tweaks to the UI that don't deliver any kind of tangible benefits for the end user. You know, like the ones that make the OS slicker and improve productivity.

    Someone please line up and shoot whichever muppets are running the show at MS and replace them with real enthusiastic people who genuinely want to deliver a world class OS.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      I'd settle for a single control panel.

      1. Rich 2 Silver badge

        I would be a bit happier if I could change the colours, and have borders on the windows. You know; basic functionality that has been in windows for aeons - right up to when it was removed for no good reason

        1. DJV Silver badge

          ^^^^^ This a thousand times over!!!!

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "Better integration with iOS and Android devices"

      With Samsung phones it does have an interesting integration with "Your Phone" - yet look at the app name, is not "My phone" as something connected to "My computer" - it's "Your Phone" connected to a MS controlled computer...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: "Better integration with iOS and Android devices"

        That's because it's Your Phone but MS' Computer. What, you thought "My Computer" meant you and not them?

    3. coconuthead

      muppets

      I do not think muppets are behind this. If it were muppets, there would be more colour.

      Neither Kermit nor Miss Piggy were ever such a tedious grey/blue.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: muppets

        Like the Telletubbies inspired default WindowsXP desktop?

        1. William Towle
          Angel

          Re: muppets

          > Like the Telletubbies inspired default WindowsXP desktop?

          One of my managers (who was more of a fellow engineer at heart) liked saying this, so I switched my desktop background to see if any comment was passed.

          Despite my screen facing him as he left our cluster (meaning the team saw, but few others would notice) he was the one that stuck out as saying nothing.

        2. Col_Panek

          Re: muppets

          Wasn't Windows 10 kind of like that? Or am I thinking of Microsoft Bob?

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "And who gives a flying monkey of the window corners are square or rounded?"

      If I used it I probably would because I expect it takes a little more screen estate - in order to stop the corners encroaching on the menu contents the window will be bigger than it has to be. Alternatively they could really mess up by letting the corners encroach on the menu content.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Devil

        > the corners encroaching on the menu contents

        Menu contents? Which menu contents? There is only a big button "Yes, I admit you know better what's good for me. Go on".

        Less options = less workload for support.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        >If I used it I probably would because I expect it takes a little more screen estate

        What????

        Chrome on W7 has 'rounded' corners on a 'standard' 1366x768 laptop screen the saving over a square corner is 6 pixels max. and allowing for shading probably only 3.

        To me a much bigger and more useful change has been that MS have finally enabled vertical tabs in Edge; although they still insist on a horizontal Favourites bar. Whilst it doesn't 'save' screen estate, it does enable me to better use the HD screen estate for real work.

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The task bar now look like a flat copy of the macOS Dock."

      Apart from the transparency, the dock looks like the one I used to have on Amiga Workbench back in the dark ages!

    6. dajames

      FFS. 6 bleeding years they've had to improve on Windows 10 and this is all they could come up with???

      Methinks all most Windows users want in a new release is that they don't have to spend ages relearning the UI. Significant improvements are worth the effort, change for change's sake is not.

      I used to quite like the UI of Windows 2000, but it's all gone to pot since then.

  7. stuartnz

    Less is more, maybe?

    I like that the new startup sound is barely there - which also kinda sums up the extent of the changes, it seems. After viewing the screenshots though, The BIG question, one I'm deeply embarrassed to have to ask, is - what are the official El Reg units of temperature?

  8. llaryllama

    I'm sure lots of people agree that Windows 7 was the last usable version. I finally gave up on OS X (brand new expensive audio hardware becomes "incompatible" after 6 months) and Windows 10 (just a total disaster) and went all-in on Linux desktop. Ubuntu has made massive strides in daily usability even over the last few years, I have had it as the sole OS on my main laptop and productivity is way up as I don't have to deal with black screens on login and 6 hours updates in the middle of a work day.

    1. s2bu

      Sounds like your anger should be pointed at the vendor of said high priced audio gear.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Apple broke a lot of peripherals and software by unannounced unnecessary changes.

        We had to completely rewrite a USB firmware stack - and being firmware, it had to be installed on the device by the end user.

        Using Windows, because Apple had broken the USB stack so Macs couldn't see it to update it.

        There have been a lot of similar breaking changes in many areas on macOS. For many companies the cost of macOS just isn't worth it - do you burn six months every year simply keeping it running (and likely breaking it for older macOS versions), or spend that time on new features and products?

        Microsoft has historically been very good at adding OS features without breaking existing hardware and software. If they fail at this then Windows will die - if my users have to learn something new then they might as well learn something free, eh?

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      >I'm sure lots of people agree that Windows 7 was the last usable version.

      However, it only became 'usable' due to Vista...

      From what I remember, it was still a big step from XP, where most users were upgrading from.

      Interestingly, seeing the new W11 'widgets' made me think of the widgets initially shipped with W7 and for which MS rapidly dropped.

  9. JWLong Bronze badge

    Ŵhen...........

    .........they come up with an OS that doesn't need an anti-virus, a firewall or a host file to block shit websites and/or protocols. Then I'll be impressed.

    Round fucking corners and a new startup sound, really!? That's the big lead in to a new OS.

    GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK.

    1. Synkronicity

      Re: Ŵhen...........

      So an OS that doesn't do networking? TempleOS has got you covered!

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Ŵhen...........

      Yeah, I want an OS that does not have viruses or allows spam ... so that I can safely browse Facebook and Twitter.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Ŵhen...........

        New service idea... Twitter / Facebook / Instagram - by-Post!

        Want to post content to any of those services? Worried about viruses? Solved!

        Simply mail us a print-out of your posting (up to 3 sheets of 80gsm A4 supported), and we will post it online for you. Responses will in turn be printed out and mailed to you by 1st-class Royal Mail within 3-4 weeks.

        You may also be interested in our G-Mail service - no, not what you're thinking of - it's Google-by-Mail. Send us a postcard or fax with your search query, and we'll post you back the results, neatly printed out onto A4, within 28 working days.

        We're still working out the kinks in our Youtube service - bulk freight rates for shipping 30 sheets of A4 per second of video are extortionate and we're not certain the market will support them...

  10. itsborken

    So looking forward to the next two years...

    where vendor's admin interfaces cease to work and vendors prioritize the changes to the new shiny kit and the production kit yet to be written off is deemed Fix TBA. Corp IT locked in limbo for a few years as the home users clamor 'Why are we still in Windows 10?'

  11. mmm_yeah
    WTF?

    I really hope this is a joke.

    1. Lon24 Silver badge

      If you look at the first image - the day is 15/06. But the installation date was 16/06. No wonder the timeline is missing!

      I'm awaiting the next phone call from 'MS Support'. "Our servers have detected you are using an outdated version of Windows. Luckily we can upgrade it for you if you install this"

  12. Kev99

    Talk about putting lipstick on a pig. And the start up sound? I turn OFF all system sounds as they're royal pain in arse and add nothing. Looks like microsoft is just trying to keep its coders busy and trying to hit three double blue-ray discs of gar-baj for installation. Oh, to be able to get rid of all the bloat and crap after install, let alone during install.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      as for lipstick on a pig - the oinky end would have been better

      Let's hope Micros~1 gets a clue and AT THE VERY LEAST let's US choose 3D Skeuomorphic and a "Classic" Start Menu/Button over 2D FLATTY McFLATFACE FLATSO [which they're apparently TRIPLING down on now] and a Mac-like look on the task bar...

      Granted I can get that with certain desktop managers but I use Mate and want my WINDOWS SYSTEMS to be equally CONFIGURABLE BY ME. And 3D Skeuomorphic, not 2D FLATTY.

      Not expecting much else. Too much disappointment and "not listening to customers" LAST time around. It is my strong belief that this practice isn't going to change no matter HOW hard the end users complain.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Trollface

        > CONFIGURABLE BY ME

        Nope. Yours, Microsoft.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge

      > Talk about putting lipstick on a pig.

      You're sure there is still some pig under all that lipstick?...

  13. sreynolds

    Whatever they come up with....

    It will always be like lipstick on a pig.

  14. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Pint

    Already Disabled (Icon)

    News and interests on the taskbar.

    The weather was quite ho-hum semi useful.

    The various news, non entity sorry I mean "celeb" gossip, having to sign in to a Microshift account & use Edge to customise wasn't useful or desired.

  15. Piro Silver badge

    Oh dear

    Doesn't look all that great. Centred tasks mean that your start button will fly around the taskbar all the time. Horrible for usability. What's the betting that they still haven't finished migrating all settings from control panel, too?

    I firmly believe they need to ditch almost all UI work done since Windows 7, and start from there, with a gentle polishing.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear

      Looks rather ugly and annoying to me. Perhaps a bit more so than the Win10 look. Rounded corners don't give me anything useful.

      Like some other folks posting here, I already turn off all the crap they've removed.

  16. UCAP Silver badge
    Joke

    Rounded corners???

    ... implements rounded corners ...

    That scraping noise you hear is Apple's lawyers sharpening their knives.

    1. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Rounded corners???

      No, probably that patent expired, even Firefox spent time to design new widgets with rounded corners, I believe it's a safety feature, children can't cut their fingers with rounded corners... nor a window falling on a foot can hurt much...

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Rounded corners???

        Unfortunately I'm pretty sure this is just the result of a quick "now what can we change so it looks different" brainstorming.

        Next: Spherical windows, or windows with wavy contours. No straight lines whatsoever. So cool!

  17. Richard 12 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Centred task bar

    Idiots. Idiots.

    There goes the very last two pieces of Microsoft corporate memory of the entire history of human-machine interface research.

    Rule Zero: Important UI elements MUST NOT MOVE

    Rule One: The corners are easiest to hit. Put the four most important things in the corners.

    So what do they do? Move the Start menu button around, move it away from the corner.

    Idiots.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Centred task bar

      Ahhhh, Fitt's Law etc. Those were the days.

    2. VicMortimer

      Re: Centred task bar

      At least Apple still puts the menu bar at the top of the screen where it f***ing belongs.

  18. LenG

    Oh, yawn

    Why the obsession with rounded corners? I vaguely remember they were a thing about 2 decades ago (along with non-rectangular windows) and seem to have quietly disappeared since.

    I tried the new sound. Unfortunately I had my speakers turned off. Amusingly just as I clicked on it a police siren went off outside. This was actually far better than the tedious bing-bong which finally managed to hear.

    At least they are removing live tiles. Mind, with Classic Shell running I've already done that for myself.

  19. Potemkine! Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Will everything useful to manage the OS be located at another place again ?

    1. Pete B

      "Will everything useful to manage the OS be located at another place again ?"

      NO - some settings will be moved from their current location to yet another application, in addition to the current ones, so you'll have an *extra* place to look for them in.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        As per W10 expect some settings to ONLY be available via an application.

        For example: The only place you can actually get Windows to recognise the webcam as being colour and not monochrome is in the Skype settings. Useful to know if Windows decides your new laptop only has a monochrome webcam when you know a colour camera is installed.

    2. AnotherName
      Facepalm

      Of course they will - they will move directly to Microsoft and away from "your" computer.

  20. katrinab Silver badge
    Gimp

    Can I suggest a couple of improvements:

    Move the clock and task tray to a bar along the top, and stick some menu items on the left of that bar

    Have the task bar on the bottom shrink to fit the items on it

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      AKA MacOS (ie, the original, not X)

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      That's the standard W10 view ... change the GUI and call it a new OS, it looks more like Windows 10.5 to me.

  21. Binraider Silver badge

    The underlying mishmash of "Windows Technologies", whether thats win APIs, .NET, universal applications etc. isn't going away. Compatibility with many short lived standards of any given day is perversely, a requirement of Windows purchasers.

    This means the UI can't really change very much, for fear of broken compatibility and business users saying get lost to the upgrade. Cue WinXP or Win7 hold-on for 5 years longer than MS wants anyone to do so.

    Honestly; if they could release a copy without all of the fluff I'd consider going back to it. Will there still be 3 control panels; regedit, powershell and completely obscure routes to configuring stuff? (Yes, I know, systemD is also awful). But, yes, absolutely. Will there still be a Windows Store (yes, changing). Baked in advertising and a bottomless pit of telemetry? Yes.

    And worst of all, the unreliable and vicious activation system that prevents legitimate re-installations without re-purchases. E.g. Replace a laptop motherboard; old windows install sees it as a new PC (semi-understandable why it thinks this). Go buy a license (Bugger that). Or rather more clumsily, replace a video card from one of another manufacturer and add an NVME, get told you have a new PC and go buy a new license. I don't really care that a license can be had for a fiver, legitimately, if you shop around. On a point of principle why should either of these scenarios force a repurchase?

    While I miss certain applications and games I've spent quite a bit of cash on buying over the years; the PITA that Windows is just isn't worth the time sink that it represents. I have better things to do than burn a couple hours a month on administration of a PC.

    In the meantime, I send nice emails to developers releasing titles that I'm interested in to ask where's the Linux version. Vulkan APIs mean there's not much excuse at this stage. We might be down in the 1-2% of desktop use, but build it and we will come (and buy stuff). I don't buy anything now that doesn't at least have a known, working compatibility bodge; and preferably a linux native release.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Compatibility with many short lived standards of any given day is perversely, a requirement of Windows purchasers."

      The perversity is in multiple short-lived standards. There's nothing perverse in customers wanting to keep whatever they' run on top of Windows running.

    2. Snake Silver badge

      Re: licence

      You know that the is this "high tech" device, called a telephone, that you can use to contact Microsoft in order to correct many license problems?

      Worked for me. In all my years I've only has a Windows license deactivation problem *once*. A phone call to Microsoft got the problem resolved with no charge to me at all.

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: licence

        What, the useless helpdesk that will waste your time for about 90 minutes and then direct you to a sales line to buy a replacement license?

        If you had a different experience, you are lucky, I've seen activation problems on hardware changes on everything from XP forwards. 10 is the first one where they have actively refused to fix it. Therefore, I will fix it myself by using a different ecosystem.

        I'd chuck a sueball at them but honestly it's not worth the paperwork or cost, as there's probably something buried in the EULA to say caveat emptor.

        I don't need windows for anything other than the work laptop. I don't manage windows installations personally as part of my business activities. The folks that do manage windows in my organisation have all said as much that it's more of a pain in the arse than ever to administer. And yes, I've seen embarrassing activation warnings on poster displays around the office.

        It is a crock of shite, badly supported by an organisation hell bent on perpetuating bad experiences, because if they ever did get it right they'd never have to sell a copy again.

    3. LDS Silver badge

      "Replace a laptop motherboard; old windows install sees it as a new PC"

      That happens only with OEM licenses - which are cheaper for that reason. And you may still obtain to re-activate it in some situations.

      My retail copies of Windows moved from old computer to new computer without issues - but they are more expensive.

      Of course if your license keys comes from somewhere on the internet....

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was looking at an old academic article the other day and there were screenshots of plots from Mac OS 7. It was refreshing to see minimal white window bars with clear contrast around the controls and labels, not to mention less distraction from the content. It would be nice if Microsoft provided a minimal contrast theme like this, rather than the material design which dominates everything these days. Although any theme customisation would be nice in Windows 11 in comparison to Windows 10 which stripped customisation options considerably.

    I guess the best feature remains WSL, and the only function of Windows will be to install another operating system!

  23. Elledan Silver badge
    Meh

    But is it better than Window 7?

    Considering that Windows 7 has all of the rounded corners, dropshadows, transparency and other fluff that people are gawking over right now with Win11, along with an actual themable UI that's also not the trainwreck of inconsistency that is WIn10's burning pile-up of Settings app & the Control Panel. The question comes to mind is whether this would finally get me to motivate me to upgrade from Win7 on my main desktop to Win11.

    Don't get me wrong, I got Win10 on my laptop (thanks, UEFI), and I hate every moment of it, even after doing my best to fix some of the worst flaws in its interface. When after a recent service pack update, Win10 then also has the nerve to try and get me to 'upgrade' to an online MSFT account instead of just a local account... yeah, that's not me using the OS or it enabling me to use the system.

    That's me and this 'OS' locked into an eternal war, where it attempts to coerce, beat and otherwise abuse me into giving into things I'd otherwise not consider. When I put that consideration next to my Win7 desktop that's... just a Windows OS that runs apps and cannot even do this 'online account' thing or do random system updates which can wipe one's hard drive contents... yeah, I'll stick with Win7.

    Maybe if Win11 turns out to be just an OS again, and not some trojan horse for MSFT's web services. Maybe then it might be a consideration, but I somehow doubt that's going to happen.

    1. robinspat

      Re: But is it better than Window 7?

      FLS slot linit increased - worth having finally - can't load compressor X slots no available slots

      https://planetnine.jp/wp/2018/03/25/fls-checker/

      free vst download tool :)

      musicians were running up against a FLS (Fiber Local Storage) slot allocation ceiling that prevented them from loading into their DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) as many unique plugins as they’d like.

      This build greatly raises that per-process FLS slot allocation ceiling, allowing loading potentially thousands of unique plugins.

      Beyond musicians, this change will positively impact any application that dynamically loads hundreds or thousands of unique DLLs that have statically-linked Visual C++ runtimes, or otherwise allocate FLS slots.”

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: But is it better than Window 7?

        Not that you as an end-user can do anything about it, but fibers were only added to NT to make it easy to port from other OSes that had tried them and not yet found them to be more trouble than they were worth. The advice to Windows programmers has always been "don't use them in new software".

        That was over 20 years ago. Very sad to hear they are actually used by any software still on sale.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But is it better than Window 7?

      Windows 7 was a GUI downgrade of Vista. Vista was far nicer visually than XP and NT but because they introduced "user security" everyone hated it. Windows 7 wasn't an "upgrade" it was just easier to use (I'm writing this on a Windows 7 PC).

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: But is it better than Window 7?

        Win 7 was a service pack for Vista. Nice visually, no over done, but you COULD make Vista/7 almost like 98 / XP / Server 2003.

        But File-manager and access to settings WORSE in Vista/7 than XP.

        I'm using Server 2003, Win9x and Oxygen Icons as the theme components on my Linux Mint with Mate Desktop, and I can log-on with alternate desktops. Win10 is the least configurable GUI since Win 3.0.

        NT 3.51 with the Explorer Preview Desktop and original style File-manager was better than NT 4.0 or Win 10, though NT 4.0 could use the old style File-manager. Explorer File manager is a disaster. Especially on 7 & 10 with the fake paths.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: But is it better than Window 7?

          >Win10 is the least configurable GUI since Win 3.0

          However, with Win 3.0 you could easily replace Program Manager with a third-party desktop manager; hence why MS then tightly bound the desktop into the OS for W95...

          Interestingly, if MS reverted and followed Unix/Linux then they could release new desktop shells whenever they wanted without forcing users to 'upgrade'.

  24. Dr. G. Freeman

    Come back windows 3.1, all is forgiven.

    1. Binraider Silver badge

      UI - mostly yes, execution... Remember how flakey OLE was. And the memory management, oh, it made writing for a DOS extender look tame.

      For giggles I cobbled together a K7 with 3.1 a couple weeks ago. One forgets how simple tasks like deleting files stuff in file manager requires multiple steps; and how clunky it all was. Explorer in 95; for all the issues with the system as a whole, they did streamline the most common tasks right down to a fine point.

  25. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    Sigh ...

    I see they still are all-in on that stupid stupid ribbon. I fear that one of the most annoying UI decisions of all time may never die.

  26. Mage Silver badge
    Windows

    Stupid

    Still totally flat buttons and text that might or might not be a menu or a link or text.

    MS has lost the plot on Desktop GUI design with the Ribbon, Tiles and featureless windows where you have to already no what to click on or where to hover.

    1. Pete B

      Re: Stupid

      "featureless windows where you have to already no what to click on or where to hover."

      In fairness to MS most website designers seem to have headed down this path as well.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "most website designers"

        Actually all this craziness started on the web - and especially in many Google applications.

        Microsoft was and is so stupid to follow blindly.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "most website designers"

          When it comes to interface designers I'm not inclined to single out individuals for blame. It's all of them.

  27. FuzzyTheBear
    Thumb Down

    Was

    Windows always was a mess , is a mess at the moment and always be a mess. Nu'ff said

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Was

      I'm trying to figure out what you're eliding in "Nu'ff". That's a head-scratcher.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Was

        Perh'aps h'es a greengrocer?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "visually appealing interface refresh" ? It looks like a desktop Linux build from about a decade ago.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Linux build from about a decade ago.

      No, I've used Red Hat from 1999, Ubuntu in 2007. Also plain Debian, Suse, DSL etc. It's nothing like any Linux desktop ever was. I've tested loads of Linux desktops for usability and CPU resource on Netbooks and servers.

      Win10 is worse than any Linux ever was since 1999. Win 11 looks like a minor change.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Linux build from about a decade ago.

        What I find odd is that indy Linux UI component lists are full of W10 themed stuff just as they were full of W7 years ago (and still are because it never gets deleted).

  29. batfink Silver badge

    It's clear why the new version is coming

    There are a lot of people out there who actually own their copy of Win10. That goes against the "we want to be on your direct debit list" philosophy that M$ is trying to pursue (along with most other companies).

    So, they've realised that they've fucked up with declaring W10 the "last version". That means that those people don't need to give M$ more money. So, now they're going back to their old habits of releasing new versions regularly so the people who own a copy then need to pay again.

  30. robinspat

    The only thing that is tempting me... long overdue... to consider finally moving up to this new 11th OS x64 version is as follows:

    "There are an increasing amount of us windows users that are running into the limitiations of FLS 'slots' when using plugins from multiple vendors causing plugins not to load.

    128 FLS limit. FLS (Fiber Local Storage) limitations in Windows.

    "(In the current Windows 10 Insider preview build, we've increased the slots from the Vista-era 128 to over 4000. If all goes well, this new cap will be in the Windows 10 19H1 release in the first half of this year.)"

    Most of us affected are fully aware that this is down to a limitation of the windows OS and of course people are pressing MS to address this issue BUT Some vendors are 'hungrier' than others when it comes to using FLS slots and i'm sure it must be possible to 'economise' on the coding to some extent on plugin vendors part?....

    The best performing appear to be Waves, once waveshell is opened then only 2 slots are used no matter how many other Waves plugins are loaded, Slate VMR is the same in this respect too so WELL DONE to those companies!"

    https://www.synthtopia.com/content/2019/01/10/microsoft-windows-10-update-will-let-you-use-more-virtual-instruments-effects-in-your-daw/

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A data leak in China? You couldn't make it up...

    Ooh look, the (alleged) new Windows OS has somehow managed to escape from a lab in China! Let's all go and download it and see what it does...

    Have you people learnt nothing over the last two years?

    1. Dr. Vagmeister

      Re: A data leak in China? You couldn't make it up...

      Didn't the Chinese get their own version of Windows from Microsoft, as the telemetry was an issue for the Chinese, reporting to the wrong servers outside China ?

      So, i expect this to be a legitimate version, but the Chinese one.

  32. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request

    Probably trapped in some interminable update.

  33. jonathan keith Silver badge

    11

    All I can say is that I hope they've signed Nigel Tufnel up for the marketing campaign.

  34. MJI Silver badge

    Where is the start button?

    No orb with flag in it in corner, nor an inverted Cornish flag.

    I like the coloured flag myself

    Start buttons go in bottom left, no button there no start menu.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's in a name?

    Looks like the Microsoft marketing team was missing OS launch events.

  36. Blackjack Silver badge

    Then on the first month of using Windows 11...

    One of most popular searches about Windows 11 turns to be "How do I install the Classic Windows theme?"

  37. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Who cares if MS have decided to redesign the Windows GUI yet again? Looking at the screenshot Its hardly a radical change and certainly not enough to warrant a new Windows version. Under the hood it will still be the same old code going back decades, as Microsoft have to include backward compatibility with legacy software to keep their cash cows of enterprise customers happy.

    I wonder if Microsoft are planning on offering a free upgrade to Win 11 when it is released like they did when Windows 10 came along or are going to try and charge for it? As I for sure won't be paying to upgrade.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Windows 11 disc image"

    Yep, 11 discs to install sounds about right...

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: "Windows 11 disc image"

      720KB/1.44MB floppies, or 50GB bluray discs?

  39. MikeLivingstone

    Won't it be a GUI on Ubuntu?

    What with WSL, why not go the whole hog, or indeed Hirsute Hippo!

  40. TheSkunkyMonk

    Considering Windows 10 has done nothing but get slower and slower(like every MS OS) for me even though its still doing the same old stuff, and the fact that it reports massively back to MS I am now pretty much full Linux for my studio apart from my test machines. Lol even getting better audio performance now, used to get around 7ms delay in real-time applications, its under 1ms with Ubuntu Mate an insane improvement that my musicians love! Apart from the odd game and the fact people are comfortable using windows, does Microsoft have anything to actually offer these days? Not seeing personally, and there Data collection policies have seriously gone to far when all the OS is supposed todo is provide a platform for launching our apps.

  41. MJI Silver badge

    The one thing I would dread is.

    I had to use a really shitty version of windows a while ago after my work 7 machine fried itself. It was worse than 10 simply because the window titles were not where they should be.

    I had to search each title bar to find the name, and it added a lot of time to my coding time.

    Window open, now were is the module name? Oh over there.

    It was actually painfull.

  42. s. pam
    Facepalm

    Always advertise Windows with a Blue anything!!

    Meh, what Marketroid decided that showing a Blue something on a desktop was a good idea obviously hasn't experienced the BSOD enough.

    Off to find a tube of airplane glue to sniff....

  43. martinusher Silver badge

    You know you're old when....

    ...you look at a user interface and ask yourself "What has this got to do with an operating system?".

    A GUI is just a fancy shell. Its obviously a lot more complex than a typical shell but the system should run fine regardless of whether the GUI is running or not.

  44. UnEu

    Every time I read a review of a new OS, all I see is a description of how it looks and feels. There is no word of what is actually changed under the hood.

    Back in the days I was working for a company building network adapter, I was hearing from our software guys about features comings in the next release of Window, such us TCP Chimney, and so on. I would like to hear about these features, because that's a really important part of a brand new OS.

    Otherwise it's like reading a review of a car that mentions everything about how it looks and feels (which is good), but does not mention anything about the powertrain.

    1. Col_Panek

      Ever met anybody who buys a new Cadillac when the ashtrays get full? That's the Microsoft upgrade mentality. More chrome (not the Google kind), more spyware "for the convenience of out customers", etc.

      Well, it looks a little like Elementary or Gnome, so I guess that's good.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Windows OSes, most important feature.

      How is the WIN32 API?

      To many people that is the most important thing.

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