Windows 11: the Ars Technica review

Windows 11: the Ars Technica review


Microsoft wanted everyone to use Windows 10.

Faced with the slow adoption of Windows 8 and the stubborn popularity of Windows 7, Microsoft made Windows 10 a free update for anyone using either version; The offer technically expired years ago, but to this day, old Windows 7 and 8 product keys still activate Windows 10 without protest. The operating system was billed as a return to form that would appeal to people put off by Windows 8’s divisive touchscreen-oriented interface, while retaining touch functions for people who had bought a tablet PC or computer. laptop with touch screen.

Windows 10 would also be long lasting. Some members of the company saw it as “the latest version of Windows”, a large and stable platform that would simultaneously placate the users reluctant to change, the big IT stores that would have continued to use Windows XP forever if they had been allowed , and software developers. that you no longer have to worry about supporting several wildly different generations of Windows at once. Windows could still change, but a new twice-a-year service model would keep that change at a slow but steady pace that everyone could follow.

Microsoft really achieved its main goal with Windows 10: however you look at it, it is the most widespread and universally accepted version of Windows since XP. Statcounter says that nearly 80 percent of all Windows systems worldwide run Windows 10; Steam Hardware survey indicates Windows 10 usage at or above 90 percent, suggesting an even higher level of acceptance among enthusiasts.

Those front-line numbers require some context. Microsoft has released a dozen different releases They are all called Windows 10, and the most recent version of Windows 10 is at least as different from the version that was released in 2015 as (let’s say) Windows 7 was from Windows Vista. But in theory, almost every computer with Windows 10 installed will eventually update to the latest version, and that gives Microsoft a larger and more consistent platform than it’s had in a long time.

The problem for Microsoft is that achieving one goal – the same version of Windows that runs on almost every PC – hasn’t necessarily delivered the results Microsoft hoped for. Windows 10 was thought to be big enough, and developers would be more willing to migrate from their old Win32 apps to newer Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and facilitate distribution through the Microsoft Store. And since applications for UWP could run not only on PC but also on Xbox and Windows Phone, the rapid adoption of Windows 10 in the Windows-dominated PC industry would initiate a virtuous cycle that would reinforce other Microsoft hardware and software efforts.

That part never really happened. UWP apps never took off, and Microsoft’s new move to make the Microsoft Store relevant is Allow developers to submit any type of applications they want.. The Xbox, while successful, is still very focused on gaming and streaming media. And Windows Phone is dead, killed by a combination of user and developer disinterest fueled by garbled messages and puzzling corporate negligence.

And that’s at least part of the reason why, after a launch that treated mainstream adoption as its primary goal, Microsoft is releasing a new version of Windows that isn’t even compatible with computers older than 3-4 years. “Windows Everywhere” was ambitious, but the dream is dead. Microsoft has shifted its focus to providing robust versions of its apps on iOS and Android, and even modern Microsoft phones run a Microsoft-flavored version of Android rather than something Windows-related. The new version of Windows is more concerned with where Windows already is and is likely to remain: risk-averse, money-rich, and security-conscious businesses. There are a lot of user-facing changes, sure, but PCs running Windows 11 (at least officially) need to support a variety of hardware and firmware level security mechanisms that are fully supported but optional in Windows 10.

(The more cynical view is that the new requirements are meant to boost sales of new PCs, an interpretation made all the more plausible by the shortage of PC parts and ongoing price increases due to the pandemic. Personally, I find compelling Microsoft’s security justification, but there is no no evidence to support this more dire reading of the company’s intentions).

We’ll focus on those security features and system requirements in this review, while also covering the redesign and general strokes of new and updated apps and the other changes Microsoft has made to Windows under the hood. We are also planning separate coverage on some specific areas of the operating system, including games, new features of the Linux subsystem, and how it runs on older, “unsupported” hardware; we’ll link those pieces here as they go live.

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