Microsoft is preparing Windows 11 for a post-pandemic world


Microsoft’s most important software is about to undergo an overhaul.

Angela Lang / CNET

The coronavirus has irrevocably changed the way we live and work. Soon this will also have changed our devices. Microsoft on Thursday is expected announce the next big iteration of its Windows software and, with it, new features designed for living in the modern age.

The new software, likely to be called Windows 11, will have the usual updates you would expect after six years. Early leaks suggest it will have a new look, offering more subtle pastel colors, rounded corners, and breezy alert sounds. It will have little widget programs to tell you the weather or track a shipped package. Its iconic start menu, usually placed on the left side of the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, will migrate towards the middle, with app icons arranged in the center next to it, apparently inspired by a smartphone, from an Apple Mac tablet or computer.

Watch live: How to watch the Microsoft Windows 11 announcement live Thursday, June 24 at 11 a.m.ET

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But the biggest changes will be under the hood. Microsoft should revamp Windows computers for a new world, where people no longer work just in an office and, when they are at home, can work on their home computers.

When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introduced the new Windows software to app developers last month, he spoke about the tone the upgrade would set. “When the storefronts have closed and you’ve helped us reimagine where humanity can go and what we can do, transcending time and even space – and that’s just the beginning,” he said. he declares.

It may seem silly to think that software on a computer can change our lives, but thanks to highly effective vaccines injected in guns around the world, people are increasingly looking to the future.

Read more: Features we hope Windows 11 will include

People vaccinated in some countries are already venture to disneyland, on board airplanes and attend concerts. Meanwhile, employers are also finding their workforce doesn’t necessarily want to go back to office life and instead pushed more and more to allow more flexible layouts instead.

This is where Microsoft’s Windows can come in. The company has spent the last few years developing technologies, like the timeline, that make it easier for people to switch to another computer and open all documents and documents. windows they used before. In the new world, Microsoft may find opportunities to target these types of features for people who have computers to work in the office and at home.

And there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that they are. Despite shortages of chips and other supplies in the tech industry, analysts believe laptops and desktops could see their highest sales on record this year.

All the rumors: Everything we know about Windows 11 so far

With that in mind, Microsoft’s choice to release its latest software as a major upgrade can help the industry respond to these trends with new computer designs highlighting the new look and working features from. anywhere from Windows 11.

“Making work and home computers work better together was an ‘oh, that’s a good idea’ years ago. Bob O’Donnell, analyst at Technalysis Research. “If there is nothing else that is clear from the pandemic, it is that the PC has an incredibly important role to play in people’s work and personal lives.”


Microsoft has left some not-so-subtle clues on its next version of Windows, including this logo that shines a light in the form of the number 11.


Changes needed

Microsoft isn’t just going to revamp Windows, throw a party and declare mission accomplished. The company should also address long-standing concerns about the behavior of its computers.

At CNET, for example, we’re hoping Microsoft will fix its Settings app, which competes with another program called Control Panel, to change functions on a Windows computer. That’s right, there are two. It’s maddening.

Other longtime Windows users have expressed hope that Microsoft will change the way their computers perform software updates, which have long been a slow and painful process.

“We are in 2021, updates and security patches shouldn’t take 20 minutes,” said Carolina Milanesi, analyst at Creative Strategies. “You don’t feel the same pain on the Mac or the iPad or even the iPhone.”

It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will take the opportunity to address some of the long-standing, admittedly out-of-date complaints. Either way, the company believes the software will live up to the hype.

Shortly after a version of its Windows 11 update leaked online, Microsoft tweeted: “This is just the beginning. “


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