The Windows 11 bashing continues

Now I don’t hate Windows by any means, and I use it as a daily driver myself, and that being said, I want what’s best for its development and future. It can only get better through criticism imo.

I keep seeing articles about Windows 11, so I collected some thoughts here for consideration.

In my last post about Windows 11, I pointed out that Windows 10 should have been iterated upon instead of Windows 11 being released. That post includes a few reasons I won’t mention again here including the taskbar button being moved to the center and destroying a key UX design feature that Windows themselves must have forgotten they implemented so long ago.

Let’s talk instead about more bad things about the OS that have come to light.

Duh

As usual, the new release of Microsoft’s major operating system has lots of bugs.

warning issued for millions of Microsoft windows 11 users
Did anyone not expect this?

This is why I still recommend waiting for a while after release to upgrade, even if you like the new look of Windows 11.

When asked about the performance issues of the OS, Microsoft had this to say:

tl;dr: we know it’s slow – we’re working on it

While they are aware Windows 11 is slow – this is a key reason I’m choosing to stay on Windows 10 for now. It took a long time for Windows 10 to get to a reasonably stable version, and I’m expecting the same for Windows 11. Give it a year or two and then see where it is.


Default apps settings

Surprise again, Microsoft is making it harder to change your web browser away from Edge. In Windows 11, you must change every file protocol related to html documents, links, and other web related entries as opposed to having a simple “Web Browser” option like in Windows 10. This is anti-consumer and doesn’t make using the OS easier at all.

Context menus

Context menu options that before were one click away are now hidden for “ease of use”. This may or may not be preferred by some though, I can see users who don’t typically need the extra context menu options being more encouraged to right click and use the simplified menu.

You can restore the full context menus with a registry hack though, so this isn’t as big of an issue. Still annoying that this is the direction they’re heading though.

Widgets

Here are the list of widgets currently available:

  • Calendar shows you the current date and lists any upcoming events you’ve added.
  • Entertainment lists films and TV shows that have recently released on the Microsoft Store.
  • Esports displays recent Esports matches and results.
  • Photos cycles through photos and images saved to your Microsoft account.
  • Sports displays current sports scores and recent results. You can adjust which leagues and teams are shown.
  • Tips provides brief advice for using various Microsoft software, including Windows 11 and Edge.
  • To Do lets you create a list of tasks and displays it in the widgets menu. You can mark individual tasks as completed.
  • Traffic displays a small map and describes the traffic conditions in your area.
  • Watchlist shows stock values. Similarly to the Sports widget, you can choose which stocks appear.
  • Weather shows current weather conditions in your area, as well as the forecast for the following three days.

info from (https://www.tomsguide.com/news/windows-11-widgets-everything-you-need-to-know)

Personally I don’t find the widgets they have interesting or useful in the slightest, and the widget pull out goes halfway across the screen, so it’s almost useless for multitasking. There are no community or custom widgets, so you are stuck with what Microsoft decides to develop. If I know them, they may release one or two more before forgetting about the feature entirely or disbanding the division of developers that work on it.

Removed Features

Courtesy to a reddit post,

As always Windows team takes a good step forward (New Design, store, settings, etc) with Windows 11 and then takes two steps back. Here are some of the lost features from Windows 10

harshag11

Start Menu

  1. Live tiles replaced with boring grid of icons
  2. No option to choose different App Icon sizes and end less customization options available in tiles grid
  3. No App Folders
  4. No option for Named Groups
  5. No way to resize start menu
  6. No option for full screen start menu
  7. No show more apps option (Current view displays only 18 apps without scrolling)
  8. Ability to remove pinned apps and show all apps view only
  9. Usability – Not mouse friendly, lot of mouse travel for every action. No way to remove recommended section, app and all apps buttons are far away from reach. Also you need additional click to reach All Apps. Even for touch users it is very difficult to reach new start menu or apps in two handed mode.
  10. No badges in start menu
  11. No option to pin settings to start menu

Task Bar

  1. Drag and drop files to running apps
  2. Cannot drag and drop app icons to pin to task bar
  3. No option to choose task bar location
  4. No option to choose task bar size
  5. Never Combine Labels options missing
  6. No option to turn system icons on/off in tray
  7. No clock on secondary monitor
  8. System time doesn’t show seconds
  9. Task bar context menu only settings option. No option to launch task manager, etc
  10. No toolbars in taskbar. Cannot add Address, Links, Desktop and Custom folders to Task Bar
  11. No screen snip in quick actions menu
  12. Shift + Click – No longer open new instance of an app
  13. No option to quickly change Power Mode (Best Battery Life, Best Performance, etc) from task bar
  14. Apps can no longer customize areas of the Taskbar
  15. Cannot view or add Calendar events from Taskbar
  16. People bar has been removed

Windows Explorer

  1. No refresh option in context menu, there are many instance where explorer fails to auto refresh.
  2. Context menu is missing many options like shortcut, send to, share with, restore previous version and 3rd party customizations (Windows has poor history of developers embracing new platform features, so not sure when Devs will add these to new menu)
  3. Quick access toolbar has been removed. So no option to pin my favorite commands like copy path
  4. Missing thumbnail previews for folders

General/Settings

  1. Extremely difficult to change default apps
  2. Cannot setup Windows 11 Home with local account
  3. Cannot setup Windows 11 Home without internet connection
  4. Desktop wallpaper cannot be roamed to or from device when signed in with a Microsoft account.
  5. Timeline has been removed
  6. No show windows stacked option
  7. No option to disable all background apps
  8. Win + K no longer works for Bluetooth devices (Even new quick settings also missing Bluetooth connection options similar to WiFi)
  9. New touch gestures doesn’t work well when holding tablet with two hands. Swipe from left edge has been replaced with widgets, switching apps now requires 3 finger gestures.
  10. When “Turn off the store application” and “Disable all apps from Microsoft store” group policies are configured, basic windows apps like notepad, mspaint, etc will not work. This also blocks users from launching cmd or powershell from Windows + X menu

To sum things up, Windows 11 is having some issues, as is expected of a needless full OS upgrade for feature removing UX and UI changes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Remember, you can still customize your Windows 10 tiles without Windows 11 and get centered taskbar here.

And, if you aren’t afraid to install some tweaks onto your system, this ExplorerPatcher project aims to bring back a Windows 10 experience to Windows 11. Might be worth checking it out if you want to be on the bleeding edge updates, but also have a productive working environment.


Quick Links to My Stuff
Published 2021-11-21 19:09:40

Windows 11… completely unnecessary.

I started writing this post a few times and honestly I just can’t figure out how to write this intro, so I’m going to get straight into it.

Windows 11 is wholly unnecessary, and shouldn’t even exist.

If we ignore the fact that Microsoft stated Windows 10 was the last version of their operating system, and the seemingly obvious missed opportunity to simply rebrand Windows 10 to “Windows” alone like Apple did, then we can look at their proposed reasons for the change.

Why Microsoft is Rebranding

When Windows 10 came out, it was supposed to usher in a new standard of operating under the Microsoft family. The start menu was brought all the way back in comparison with Windows 8.1, and they finally fixed a number of graphical issues users were having.

The rebrand to Windows 10 was for the numerous changes they’d done to the operating system, back then.

So what changes to instigate a new OS now?

A New Name Means Distance from Old Identity

Changing a name is a great way to distance a person, place, or thing from old actions or non applicable qualities that exist currently. It’s a way to signal change, that something is not the same as before.

Microsoft and other corporations use this strategy often to create positive attention for their brand or distance themselves from negative attention.

And Windows 10 has had a lot of negative attention:

A quick search will pull up almost unlimited articles complaining about Windows 10.

With the recent failure of Windows 10 X, Microsoft had enough.

So What’s New?

Really, that’s the most important thing, isn’t it? Are the changes any good?

Well, no.

Unless you want a bunch of features you could already achieve in Windows 10 with more bloat, more integrated applications, less customization, and more restrictions on which hardware you can install it on.

Windows 11 still has bloatware in the preview builds, and they’ve had updates before which has reinstall all preinstalled apps. Microsoft Teams will now be integrated into the taskbar. I don’t have high hopes for the Teams integration if the weather icon they tried to add to the taskbar and failed miserably with is any indication. The “News and Interests” taskbar option causes the taskbar to update arbitrarily and File Explorer to lag, and the font is grainy and pixelated on a monitor with higher than 1080p.

Well what about the centered taskbar?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could already do that in Windows 10?

Center Taskbar Windows 10 Dark Theme

Oh wait. You can.

This is what my desktop looks like currently on 21H1. I also have a custom dark theme installed to properly theme some of the discrepancies out of the OS like the Task Manager, the dialogue options, and even Notepad.

Using TaskbarX, SecureUXTheme, and a few other dependencies, you can already create what I believe to be a better look than what Windows 11 delivers out of the box.

Changing UX Design

Notice that the start button is on the bottom left in the image above. Now look at a picture of the new Windows 11 taskbar:

The start button has moved to the center with the other icons.

THIS IS BAD UX DESIGN.

Why?

Because when a button is on an edge that you can move your mouse against, it has an infinite width. If you drag your mouse against the left edge of your (leftmost) monitor, it cannot move outside the screen and thus any button on the edge of the screen would be easier to quickly whip the mouse over and click.

In the same way, when a button is in a corner such as the start button was in most previous versions of Windows, it is much easier to drag your mouse to the corner quickly without aiming at all, as two sides have infinite width. This makes it extremely efficient to locate the start button, no matter the cursor location.

However, by moving the start button to the center of the taskbar, Microsoft eliminates that smart UX choice they made all those years ago.

Perhaps Microsoft will realize this and provide an option to restore the default alignment in a later update. As of 8/2/2021, this is not possible.

Additionally, they eliminated the option to align the taskbar to the left or right in the latest version.

The main concern for me as Microsoft continually whips around GUI updates is… how has Windows fundamentally changed since the last big update? And how are they fixing the small issues that continue to plague normal operations throughout the working day? Well, the answers to both of those questions are pretty disappointing.

A) It hasn’t changed that much, so don’t expect to notice much difference

B) They haven’t fixed that much, so don’t expect to notice much difference

And that’s where we are. Another graphical change to an OS in an era where to this day, on the latest Windows build, you can open command prompt and hold F11 down to see the old Windows 7 UI underneath for a split second as the GUI is overwritten with the new theme.

Split second after you hit F11 to minimize the CMD prompt window out of fullscreen.

Progress Is Not Bad

But there has to be progress. Windows 11 is completely unnecessary for what they are bringing to the table in the new versions. In a perfect world, maybe Windows 10 would have been rebranded to “Windows” with thematic naming to keep versions clear, saved the sweeping UI upgrades until AFTER THEY’VE FINISHED THE EXISTING DARK THEME FOR THEIR CURRENT OS, and maybe don’t make yet another “Settings” app before the old Control Panel is even removed.

I’ll say it again, I would love for Microsoft to be innovating here, but where is it? What can be achieved on Windows 11 that can’t already be accomplished on existing hardware and software?

“Windows 11 has all the power and security of Windows 10 with a redesigned and refreshed look. It also comes with new tools, sounds, and apps. Every detail has been considered. All of it comes together to bring you a refreshing experience on your PC.”

I suppose nothing. It’s not like I would consider whatever Microsoft is shipping with their OS to be essential apps, probably just a new version of candy crush 😉.

At the very least, Microsoft says they will still support Windows 10 for 4 more years, until 2025. Maybe by that time, Windows Infinity will have hit shelves and I can skip 11.

Honestly, just please make one settings app and I’ll be happy. 🙏


If you want to improve your Windows 10 experience by searching with any browser and Google from your start menu instead of Bing, read this.


Quick Links to My Stuff
Published 2021-07-27 18:55:20