Windows 11: Ars Technica’s review | GeekComparison

Windows 11: Ars Technica's review

Microsoft

Microsoft wanted everyone to use Windows 10.

Faced with the slow adoption of Windows 8 and the persistent popularity of Windows 7, Microsoft made Windows 10 a free upgrade for anyone using either version. 10 without protest. The operating system was billed as a return to form that would appeal to those put off by Windows 8’s divisive touchscreen-oriented interface, while preserving its touch-friendly features for those who bought a PC tablet or laptop with a touchscreen.

Windows 10 would also have a long lifespan. Some in the company called it “the latest version of Windows”: one big, stable platform that would simultaneously appease change-averse users, huge IT stores that would forever use Windows XP if they had allowed it, and software developers who wouldn’t worry. need to worry more about supporting multiple vastly different generations of Windows at once. Windows can still change, but a new maintenance model that runs twice a year would ensure that change comes at a slow but consistent pace that anyone could keep up with.

Microsoft has accomplished its main goal with Windows 10: Either way, it’s the most widespread and most widely accepted version of Windows since XP. Statcounter says nearly 80 percent of all Windows systems worldwide run on Windows 10; the Steam Hardware survey finds Windows 10 usage at or above 90 percent, indicating an even greater level of adoption among enthusiasts.

Those top-line songs do require some context. Microsoft has released a dozen different releases all called Windows 10, and the latest version of Windows 10 is at least as different from the version that launched in 2015 as (say) Windows 7 was from Windows Vista. But in theory, almost every computer with Windows 10 installed will eventually be updated to the latest version, giving Microsoft a larger and more consistent platform than it has had in a very long time.

The problem for Microsoft is that achieving one goal — the same version of Windows that runs on nearly all PCs — hasn’t necessarily had the results Microsoft was hoping for. Make Windows 10 big enough, it was thought, and developers would be more willing to migrate from their old Win32 apps to newer Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and easy distribution through the Microsoft Store. And given that UWP apps could run not only on PCs, but also on Xbox and Windows Phone, rapid adoption of Windows 10 in the Windows-dominated PC industry would kick-start a virtuous cycle that will transform other hardware and software platforms. efforts by Microsoft.

That part never really happened. UWP apps never got off the ground and Microsoft’s new game in making the Microsoft Store relevant is to allow developers to submit any kind of apps they want. The Xbox, while successful, remains limitedly focused on gaming and media streaming. And Windows Phone is dead, murdered by a combination of user and developer disinterest, driven by confusing messaging and mind-boggling business neglect.

And that’s at least part of the reason why, after a release that saw wide adoption as its primary goal, Microsoft is releasing a brand new version of Windows that isn’t even supported on computers older than 3 or 4 years. “Windows Everywhere” was ambitious, but the dream is dead. Microsoft has shifted its focus to delivering solid versions of its apps on iOS and Android, and even Microsoft’s modern phones use a Microsoft-flavored version of Android rather than anything Windows related. The new version of Windows is more concerned with the places where Windows already is and likely will remain: risk-averse, money-rich, security-conscious companies. There are certainly a lot of user-centric changes, but the PCs running Windows 11 (at least officially) need to support a range 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 intended to boost sales of new PCs, an interpretation made all the more outrageous by the ongoing pandemic-driven shortages of PC parts and price hikes. Personally, I think Microsoft’s security reasons compelling, but that’s not so new evidence to support this more nefarious interpretation of the company’s intentions.)

We’ll focus on those security features and system requirements in this review, while also covering the redesign and the broad outline of new and updated apps, and the other changes Microsoft has made under the hood to Windows. We’re also planning separate coverage on a few specific areas of the operating system, including gaming, new Linux subsystem features, and how it works on older “unsupported” hardware; we’ll link those pieces up here when they go live.

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