Windows 11 vs Windows 10: What’s the difference?

Almost a decade ago, Microsoft announced Windows 10 as their final OS version. Surprisingly, Microsoft has now introduced a new iteration of Windows. This latest Windows version was suggested to be more than just another Windows 10 update.

It aims to replace Windows 10, offering substantial updates, fresh features, a tidier desktop, and an enhanced user experience for improved productivity and creativity in our increasingly interconnected world.

Which Operating System Should I Choose Windows 10 or Windows 11?

Both Windows 11 and Windows 10 offer unique benefits to users, with the choice largely hinging on personal preferences and needs.

Windows 11 stands out for its sleek interface, enhanced multitasking capabilities, including Snap Layouts and Snap Groups, and an expanded Microsoft Store. It signifies a leap forward in style and functionality, appealing to those who value a cutting-edge experience.

On the other hand, Windows 10 remains a reliable workhorse, prized for its stability, familiarity, and extensive support. It caters to users who favour a traditional computing environment or rely on specific legacy software.

Deciding between Windows 11 and Windows 10 should factor in considerations like hardware compatibility, desired features, and comfort with change.

Windows 10 vs Windows 11 Key Differences

Let’s explore the differences between Windows 10 and 11 to make it easier for you to decide what’s best for you.

Advantages of Microsoft Windows 10

Windows 10, while older, offers a stable and familiar user interface that businesses and casual users alike have come to trust and rely on over the years.

  • User friendly interface

Windows 10 has a modern and clean interface that is intuitive and easy to use, making it accessible for all skill levels. The Start menu has been improved, offering quick access to frequently used apps, files, and settings.

  • Regular safety updates and features

Microsoft releases regular security updates and new features for Windows 10, ensuring users have access to the latest and most secure technology. Windows Defender, the built-in antivirus program, provides real-time protection against threats, and Windows Hello offers secure authentication for logging in to your device.

  • Compatible with older software and hardware

Compatibility with older software and hardware is a major advantage for Windows 10 users. It supports a broad spectrum of older applications and devices, enabling individuals to seamlessly utilize their current software and hardware setups. This backward compatibility ensures that transitions to Windows 10 from previous versions do not necessitate substantial investments in new programs or equipment, thereby protecting the investments that users have already made in their technology infrastructure.

  • Virtual Desktops and Snap Assistance

Windows 10 offers the ability to create multiple virtual desktops, making it easy to separate work and personal tasks. This feature is particularly beneficial for users who multitask or require different workspaces for various projects. Additionally, Snap Assist helps you arrange and manage open windows on your screen, enhancing productivity by allowing for more efficient multitasking and organization of apps and documents.

  • DirectX 12 support for games

Windows 10 has improved support for DirectX 12, making it an excellent platform for gaming, with enhanced graphics performance and reduced system requirements. This advancement allows games to run more smoothly, even on devices with less powerful hardware, ensuring a quality gaming experience for a wider range of users.

  • Cortana personal assistant

Cortana, the virtual personal assistant, is built into Windows 10 and can help you complete tasks, answer questions, and manage your schedule. This feature allows for hands-free operation of your device, enhancing productivity by enabling you to focus on the task at hand while Cortana handles minor tasks. Whether it’s setting reminders, sending emails, or gathering information online, Cortana aims to streamline your digital experience and make day-to-day tasks more manageable.

  • Continuum mode for 2-in-1 devices

Windows 10 provides a Continuum mode, which automatically adjusts the interface for the best experience when using a 2-in-1 device, such as a laptop with a detachable screen. This feature allows users to seamlessly switch between tablet and desktop mode, ensuring optimal usability regardless of the configuration. Continuum intelligently recognizes the change in device setup and adjusts the operating system accordingly, making it intuitive for users to transition between modes without disrupting their workflow.

  • Integration with Microsoft Office and other services

Windows 10 integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office, OneDrive, and other Microsoft services, allowing users to access and collaborate on documents, files, and other data from anywhere. This connectivity ensures that your important documents and communications are always within reach, whether you’re working from home, in the office, or on the go. The seamless integration enhances productivity and collaboration, making it easier for teams to work together and stay connected.

User friendly interface

Disadvantages of Microsoft Windows 10

Despite its many advantages, Windows 10 also has its share of drawbacks, particularly when it comes to system requirements and user privacy concerns.

  • Mandatory updates

Windows 10 requires compulsory updates, which can sometimes cause compatibility issues or slow down your device. These automatic updates, while intended to keep systems secure, can be a significant inconvenience for users with limited bandwidth or those who prefer manual control over their update process.

  • Privacy concerns

Some users are concerned about the level of personal data that Windows 10 collects and shares with Microsoft. The operating system includes numerous data collection and telemetry features that aim to improve user experience but raise questions about user privacy and data security.

  • Cost

Windows 10 can be expensive, especially for users upgrading from an older version of Windows. While there were initial free upgrade offers, many users now have to pay for a license, making it a considerable investment, particularly for organizations needing to upgrade multiple devices.

  • Bloatware

Some users find that Windows 10 comes with many pre-installed apps and software they do not need or want, taking up valuable storage space. This “bloatware” can affect system performance and frustrates users who prefer a cleaner, more streamlined operating system.

  • Compatibility issues

Although Windows 10 is compatible with a wide range of older software and hardware, some users may encounter compatibility issues with specific programs or devices. These issues can disrupt workflow and require additional time and resources to resolve, presenting challenges for those reliant on specific applications for business or personal use.

The Pros of Microsoft Windows 11

Building on its predecessor’s robust framework, Microsoft Windows 11 introduces several key enhancements aimed at improving user experience and productivity.

  • Beautiful Glass

Windows 11’s new desktop aesthetics try to mimic the look of glass. As a result, there’s a lot of transparency on many desktop elements, from windows to menus. Windows 11 taskbar and updated Start menu with dark theme active. This transparency goes hand-in-hand with related effects like a background blur, drop shadows, and rounded corners.

All GPU-accelerated for a buttery-smooth user experience. Still, it’s not radically different compared to Windows 10, which also used the GPU to “accelerate” its desktop. It also seems that Microsoft toned down the semi-transparent effects of its new OS after some updates to increase text legibility.

  • Bar to Dock

Like Mac OS and many Linux Desktop Environments, Windows 11’s taskbar can turn into a dock. The icons on it can be centered, which helps when using Windows 11 on a touch-enabled device. Windows 11 centered taskbar and updated Start menu. Fans of the classic taskbar can still align the Start button and app icons to the left. In action, Windows 11’s new taskbar looks cleaner, sleeker, and more welcoming to new users. Combined with the streamlined Start menu, it renders Windows 11 one of the most user-friendly versions of Microsoft’s OS.

  • Return of the Widgets

Now, in Windows 11, widgets appear in a new pane sliding in from the left. These new widgets focus on providing information rather than acting as mini-apps. While not revolutionary, you can bring back widgets on Windows 10 too. Many users aren’t using Windows 11 widgets, similar to how they overlooked Vista’s gadgets and Windows 8-to-10 tiles. Limited availability and lack of unique features are reasons for this.

  • Easily-Accessible Snap Layouts and Groups

One of the most notable Windows 11 features is the organised screen layout with snap windows. The latest version of Windows 11 introduces this feature to all users, placing it in a convenient menu that hovers over the maximize button. We’d love to think that everyone is utilising both Snap Layouts and Groups in Windows 11, but it appears that these features have gone unnoticed by many.

However, those who do use them have nothing but positive feedback. It seems that more users are discovering and integrating these features into their daily workflow. It’s undeniable that when it comes to managing multiple windows, Windows 11 excels compared to its predecessors.

  • Android Apps on Windows 11

Windows 11 now has built-in support for Android apps, but it’s not perfect. When you hear about this feature, you might expect to install almost any Android app or game, click on it, and see it on your screen like regular Windows software. In reality, Windows 11’s “compatibility with Android apps” is limited to Amazon’s store and works with only a fraction of the available software. It comes across more as a marketing point than a truly useful feature. Nonetheless, it’s a nice addition to have (or, as pessimists would say, “better than nothing”).

  • Next-Gen Gaming

The new Xbox and PlayStation consoles feature interconnected CPU, GPU, and storage systems. DirectStorage boosts performance for data-heavy applications, especially gaming. Auto HDR improves visuals by adjusting brightness levels. Despite Windows 11 support, many lack hardware requirements. DirectStorage needs specific hardware and software for full utilization. Progress is ongoing to align games and PCs with these features for future benefits.

  • Teams for Everyone

A single click on Windows 11’s taskbar is all it takes to chat via text, voice, or video with friends and contacts. Windows 11 Teams are integrated into the OS taskbar. Thanks to Microsoft Teams, which Microsoft has placed front and center as Windows 11’s primary solution for communicating with family, friends, and colleagues.

A default video conferencing solution baked into the OS could be a great addition for many users. In practice, as some are quick to point out, there are better alternatives available. Do you have many contacts on Skype already? Have you been using another alternative for years? Then, you may not see a reason to switch. Teams excels at what it does, but its usefulness depends on whether your contacts also use it.

Accelerated Desktop

The Cons of Microsoft Windows 11

Despite the array of improvements and features exclusive to Windows 11, it’s important to also consider some of the criticisms and drawbacks that users and experts have pointed out.

  • Accelerated Desktop

Due to a hardware shortage, finding affordable GPUs remains a challenge. While the USA market stabilizes post-cryptocurrency boom, prices elsewhere remain high, leading many to delay upgrades. Windows 11 relies on GPU acceleration, but isn’t drastically more demanding than Windows 10. Older hardware can still run it with tweaks. The new OS simplifies the desktop, but some changes may irk long-time users. Transparency effects have been reduced in recent versions.

  • Where Is Skype?

Skype was the pioneering app that brought peer-to-peer video calling to the masses. Nowadays, Skype seems to have faded into the background among a sea of other video calling options, some even better. This is likely why Microsoft has practically replaced it with Teams in Windows 11.

While Teams may outshine Skype in many aspects, we reckon Microsoft didn’t need to position it as a complete replacement or downplay Skype to boost Teams. Ultimately, it feels like nothing much has really changed. For current Skype users or fans of similar tools, they can easily reinstall their preferred communication apps on Windows 11 and continue not paying much attention to Teams, just like before.

  • Less Taskbar

Windows 11’s taskbar may look great, but it’s more of a step back from a usability standpoint. Initially, the freedom to place the taskbar on any side of the screen you preferred was lost. Although it’s now back, it still comes with frustrating limitations. The days of simply dragging it wherever you wanted in previous Windows versions are gone.

Microsoft even admitted that Windows 11’s taskbar fell short of expectations and made adjustments in subsequent updates following the release of Windows 11. It seems there’s a lack of a clear vision on how it should appear or function, making it an ongoing Work-In-Progress as Microsoft experiments to see what resonates with users.

  • A Forgotten Timeline

Remember when Microsoft introduced Timeline as a visual way to keep things organised? It tracked our computer activities, showing apps, docs, and visited sites in order. It sounded good but hardly anyone used it. If you were a fan, stick to Windows 10 – Timeline’s gone in Windows 11. Its removal showed that sometimes less is more. Some of us may have used it before, but it’s not a must-have feature.

  • Bye-Bye Cortana

Cortana represents Microsoft’s version of A.I.-powered assistants, akin to Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa, with whom you engage through voice. However, it may be apt to refer to Cortana in the past tense as it is no longer integrated into the OS. If you see yourself as a fan, have a look at our guide on how to download, install, and utilize Cortana on Windows 11 as a standalone app.

  • Fewer Layouts, More Delays

With Windows 11, you can easily snap any window to the screen using predefined window layouts. In Windows 10, if you had Microsoft’s PowerToys installed, you could create your own layouts, though not as straightforward, they were more flexible.

In Windows 11, to snap windows, hover your mouse cursor over a window’s maximize button. Hovering means keeping the cursor steady over a desktop element until the OS senses you want to access quick pop-up layouts. While the wait isn’t too long, it’s longer than using a hotkey or clicking a hotspot on the screen.

  • Let Microsoft Know You

We may suspect that Windows 11 is collecting more data about our computers and how we use them. The feeling is certainly there, especially since Windows 11 mandates a Microsoft account login right from the installation process. This becomes even clearer after installation if you want to access all its features, no matter the edition. Moreover, reports suggest that Windows 11’s desktop widgets use AI to provide personalised information (and ads) based on tracking your interests. Fans of George Orwell’s 1984 may want to consider holding off on upgrading.

  • You Can’t Run It

Microsoft values top-notch hardware to enhance user experiences. As a result, older PCs may struggle to meet the requirements, especially systems with CPUs predating Intel’s 7th gen Core or AMD’s Zen 2. Another challenge comes from the necessity of TPM 2.0 compatibility, a feature lacking in many older DIY PCs. Without TPM 2.0 support, Windows 11 isn’t officially available, although some have found ways to work around these requirements, enabling it to run on outdated hardware.

However, achieving hardware compatibility with Windows 11 remains intricate. Unofficially, installing Windows 11 on older hardware is feasible, even on dual-core CPUs with limited RAM, though performance may be compromised. The general consensus is that newer PCs are better suited for Windows 11, while older machines pose a risk.

Is Windows 11 Better Than Windows 10?

Windows 11 builds on its predecessor in several areas. For instance, one notable advancement in Windows 11 is the integration of Android apps directly through the new Microsoft Store, allowing you to download them directly to your PC. Windows 11 also provides access to approximately 500,000 apps from the Amazon Appstore, including popular choices like Disney Plus, TikTok, Netflix, Pinterest, and Uber.

Another notable feature of Windows 11 is the inclusion of Widgets – an AI-powered customizable feed that offers access to useful information such as the latest news, weather updates, calendar events, photos, videos, and various other interests.

Additionally, Windows 11 incorporates Microsoft’s video conferencing platform, Teams, directly into the operating system for enhanced usability in daily office routines. This integration allows seamless video calls across Windows, Android, Mac, or iOS devices, facilitating unified usage between Windows 11 laptops and desktops for both professional and personal activities, be it work, school, or gaming. Compared to Windows 10, setting up and using this feature is now much more straightforward.

FAQs

What is the new feature of Windows 11?

One of the standout new features in Windows 11 is the addition of Snap Layouts and Snap Groups. These advanced tools for managing windows make multitasking easier and boost productivity. Snap Layouts let you effortlessly arrange open windows in a preset layout on your screen, simplifying working on multiple tasks at once.

Snap Groups, on the other hand, allow you to save and quickly access sets of apps you often use together, streamlining your workflow. These features demonstrate Windows 11’s dedication to enhancing user efficiency and creating a more organised desktop environment.

Can you still upgrade to Windows 11 for free?

Yes, users with compatible Windows 10 PCs have the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 11 for free. Microsoft has been rolling out the upgrade to eligible devices gradually. To check if your device is eligible and to initiate the upgrade, you can visit the “Settings” menu on your Windows 10 PC, click on “Update & Security,” and then select “Windows Update.”

If the upgrade to Windows 11 is available for your device, you’ll see the option to download and install it. It’s important to ensure that your device meets the minimum system requirements for Windows 11 before proceeding with the upgrade.

Can I use both Windows 10 and Windows 11?

Sure, you can run both Windows 10 and Windows 11 on the same computer using a dual-boot setup. This method lets you install both operating systems on separate partitions of your hard drive. You can then choose which OS to boot into each time you start your computer.

This setup suits users who wish to test or gradually switch to Windows 11 while keeping access to Windows 10. Remember to back up your data before creating a dual-boot system. Partitioning your hard drive and installing an operating system can be intricate and may lead to data loss if not done correctly.

Is there a classic Start menu for Windows 11?

With the debut of Windows 11 comes a fresh Start menu, designed for simplicity and easy access to apps and files. However, it marks a significant departure from the classic Start menu of past versions. If you prefer the more detailed Start menu of earlier Windows editions, third-party software can help. These tools let you tailor the Start menu to your liking, even bringing back a classic look reminiscent of Windows 10 or earlier versions. Be sure to choose reputable software for compatibility and system security.

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