Windows 11 launches with redesigned start menu

Windows 11 launches with redesigned start menu BLOG  Wednesday 6th October 2021


Windows 11 launches with redesigned start menu

Windows 11, the latest version of Microsoft’s computer operating system, launches worldwide on Tuesday 5th October 2021 as a free upgrade for Windows 10 users.

Windows chief product officer Panos Panay, told the BBC the latest version was built to be “clean and fresh and simpler” for the user.

He promised that the new operating system would not be an “extreme departure” from what people know.

And even the least tech-savvy users can upgrade easily, he added.

“I use the frame of my father – he’s 89,” Mr Panay said. “I’m so excited for him to hit that button and upgrade, you have no idea.

“Not because he’s my dad – because I just want it to be easy for him.”

He said expert users had already tested it extensively through Window’s Insider trial programme and was confident there would be no teething issues, adding the upgrade is “ready now”.

Press Start

Windows 11 has some significant design changes, along with some alterations on how the system works under the hood.

By default, the Start menu is centred on screen, along with icons in the taskbar. When clicked on, the Start button opens a menu of frequently used apps.

In some ways, it mimics the appearance of a smartphone app menu or launcher. Microsoft has also dropped the “tiles” which were present on Windows 10’s start menu.

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Mr Panay said the team had learned from Windows 8, which got rid of the start menu entirely, upsetting many users.

“You learn from that, of course, and then you adapt,” he said.

Developing Windows 11’s interface involved watching how people use their computers – “what they want to click on, where their eyes are on the machine when they come into our labs,” he explained.

“You get this confidence of learning from history,” he added.

For Windows 11, “the Start button is right there. It’s right in the middle of the screen. It’s not gone.”

‘New era’

When Windows 10 came out, Microsoft declared it would be the “last version” of the system. That has obviously changed.

“We’re in a time where there is a bit of a new era for the PC happening right now,” Mr Panay said.

“I think Windows 11 kind of stamps that moment and it is a signal for that moment.”

Across the operating system, the design favours rounded corners, and has simplified most menus and folder views. And there are new, improved options for arranging windows and “snapping” them into grids.

Widgets, a major selling point of 2007’s Windows Vista, also make a comeback – but instead of “floating” on the screen where the user puts them, they live in a sidebar on the left, and are also linked to Microsoft services.

Some changes go deeper than the interface and design.

System integrations for Microsoft Teams – replacing Skype – and the Xbox app both feature heavily in Microsoft’s advertising.

The Microsoft Store – the Windows version of an app store – has been completely redesigned and will allow third-party apps to sell inside it, without taking a substantial cut.

And one new feature which raised eyebrows in the technology world was that Windows 11 would run Android smartphone apps through the Amazon app store.

Early adopters have reported that the in-built search function of the new version is significantly faster on most devices – but also that it favours Microsoft’s own services, Bing and the Edge browser, when delivering web results.

Upgrade time

For gamers, Microsoft promises that its new drive technology – Direct Storage – will lead to much better loading times in games by allowing a graphics card to access storage drives without going through the central processor.

But that feature, like some others, needs newer hardware to work.

As a result, not every computer will see all the potential advantages to upgrading – and some machines may not be able to upgrade at all.

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The minimum requirements include a type of security chip – called a TPM – only installed on modern computers.

“If your device does not meet these requirements, you may not be able to install Windows 11 on your device and might want to consider purchasing a new PC,” Microsoft says.

The company has just launched a range of its own new hardware devices to coincide with the new Windows version.

But users already running Windows 10 do not need to go to this expense if the computer is still working. Windows 10 will continue to be supported and receive security updates until October 2025.

How and when to upgrade to Windows 11

It might be months before you can install the OS through Windows Update, though.

Windows 11 is here and Microsoft has detailed how the phased rollout will work. The first systems to get the operating system are new devices on which it’s pre-loaded. Starting on October 5th, Microsoft will initially offer the free upgrade to new PCs, laptops and tablets that ship with Windows 10.

Next, Microsoft says it will look at hardware eligibility, reliability metrics and other factors on existing Windows 10 devices to determine when to offer the latest OS through Windows Update. It’s a similar approach to how the company has handled Windows 10 feature updates over the years. You can find out whether your device is compatible using the PC Health Check app.

Microsoft will let you know when Windows 11 is ready for your system via the Windows Update Settings page or when you check for updates. You might be in for a wait, though. The company expects to offer the upgrade to all eligible Windows 10 devices by mid-2022.

Windows 11 Microsoft

Windows Update is Microsoft’s suggested Windows 11 upgrade method, and likely the easiest one for most people. However, you can install the OS manually if you prefer. You can download the Installation Assistant or use an ISO install.

Microsoft doesn’t recommend installing Windows 11 on devices that don’t meet the system requirements, but you’ll still be able to do so. It’s worth noting that you might not get Windows 11 updates on PCs with unsupported processors.

However you decide to make the switch to Windows 11, it’s probably best to back up all of your files first. The OS is likely stable at this point, but it’s not worth taking the risk that something will go awry and cause you to lose important data.

Meanwhile, Microsoft says today marks the start of the 24-month lifecycle for Windows 11 Home and Pro editions, as well as the beginning of 36 months of servicing support for the Enterprise and Education versions.



                Name                                     Release date         Version                  Editions

1              Windows 1.01                      20/11/1985           1.01                        N/A

2              Windows 1.02                      14/05/1986           1.02                        N/A

3              Windows 1.03                      21/08/1986           1.03                        N/A

4              Windows 1.04                      10/04/1987           1.04                        N/A

5              Windows 2.01                      09/12/1987           2.01                        N/A

6              Windows 2.03                      09/12/1987           2.03                        N/A

7              Windows 2.1                        27/05/1988           2.1                          N/A

8              Windows 2.11                      13/03/1989           2.11                        N/A

9              Windows 3.0                        22/05/1990           3                              Windows 3.0a

10           Windows 3.1                        06/04/1992           3.1                          Windows 3.1

11           Windows NT 3.1                 27/07/1993           NT 3.1                   Windows NT 3.1

12           Windows 3.11                      08/11/1993           3.11                        Windows 3.11

13           Windows 3.2                        22/11/1993           3.2                          Windows 3.2

14           Windows NT 3.5                 21/09/1994           NT 3.5                   Windows NT 3.5 Workstation

15           Windows NT 3.5                 130/05/1995         NT 3.51                 Windows NT 3.51 Workstation

16           Windows 95                         24/08/1995           4                              Windows 95

17           Windows NT 4.0                 24/08/1996           NT 4.0                   Windows NT 4.0 Workstation

18           Windows 98                         25/06/1998           4.1                          Windows 98

19           Windows 98 2nd Edition    05/05/1999           Windows 98 Second Edition

20           Windows 2000                     17/02/2000           NT 5.0                   Windows 2000 Professional

21           Windows Me                        14/09/2000           4.9                          Windows Me

22           Windows XP                         25/10/2001           NT 5.1                   Windows XP Starter

23           Windows Vista                     30/01/2007           NT 6.0                   Windows Vista Starter

24           Windows 7                            22/10/2009           NT 6.1                   Windows 7 Starter

25           Windows 8                            26/10/2012           NT 6.2                   Windows 8

26           Windows 8.1                        17/10/2013           NT 6.3                   Windows 8.1

27                                                                                                                           Windows 8.1 Pro

28                                                                                                                           Windows 8.1 Enterprise

29                                                           23/05/2014                                           Windows 8.1 with Bing

30           Windows 10 version 1507 29/07/2015           NT 10.0[f][g]        Windows 10 Home

31           Windows 10 version 1511 10/11/2015           1511                       Windows 10 Home

32           Windows 10 version 1607 02/08/2016           1607                       Windows 10 Home

33           Windows 10 version 1703 05/04/2017           1703                       Windows 10 Home

34           Windows 10 version 1709 17/10/2017           1709                       Windows 10 Home

35           Windows 10 version 1803 30/04/2018           1803                       Windows 10 Home

36           Windows 10 version 1809 13/11/2018           1809                       Windows 10 Home

37           Windows 10 version 1903 21/05/2019           1903                       Windows 10 Home

38           Windows 10 version 1909 12/11/2019           1909                       Windows 10 Pro

39           Windows 10 version 2004 27/05/2020           2004                       Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

40           Windows 10 version 20H2 20/10/2020           20H2                      Windows 10 Pro Education

41           Windows 10 version 21H1 18/05/2021           21H1                      Windows 10 Enterprise

42           Windows 10 version 21H2 Late 2021 (expected)          21H2      Windows 10 Education

43           Windows 11 version 21H2 05/10/2021                                           Windows 11 Home

44                                                                                                                           Windows 11 Pro

45                                                                                                                           Windows 11 Pro for Workstations

46                                                                                                                           Windows 11 Pro Education

47                                                                                                                           Windows 11 Enterprise

48                                                                                                                           Windows 11 Education


REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

– Nicolas Chamfort



I tell you, in this world being a little crazy helps to keep you sane. Zsa Zsa Gabor


Happiness is…A new version of Microdoft Windows O/S.


I just wrote a book on reverse psychology – don’t buy it!


Love is…a daily balancing act.


A time to use Windows 1.01, it must be 20/11/1985…A time to use Windows 11, it must be 6/10/2021.


6th October

1891 William Henry Smith, (WHSmith) English newsagent, bookseller and statesman died.

1968 The first three places in the US Grand Prix were taken by British drivers: Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill and John Surtees.

1978 Ann Dadds became London Underground’s first woman Tube driver.




©2021 Phil M Robinson