Is Windows finally awesome? | Tech Radar


Windows finally feels great and that’s mainly thanks to Windows 11 – but also the result of a decades-long journey that has had more than its share of wrong turns.

That’s it, that’s my point. Alright, maybe there’s more to it.

Recently, one of my kids asked me if he should upgrade his laptop to Windows 11. Without hesitation, I replied, “Yes, that’s what it’s designed for.” What I meant was that their less than a year old ASUS laptop is designed to take the best out of Microsoft. On reflection, however, I realized that I had rarely answered that question with such confidence.

Along the road

Over the decades, Microsoft has built, torn down, and rebuilt Windows multiple times. Sometimes the changes are so extreme that I hesitate to recommend an upgrade. Windows 8, for example, was a misguided excursion into gesture-based computing. Tiles are printed on the touch interface and the beloved start button has vaporized. Why?

Windows 10 was a welcome return to classic Windows design principles and stability, and Windows 11 is more of a big swing for Microsoft. With its centered interface design and revamp of some of Windows’ most iconic elements like File Manager, Photos and Notepad, it’s just the kind of upgrade that might normally lead to gestures frantic as I warn family and friends of an unknown platform.

Yet before my kid even asked about Windows, I found myself staring at my wife’s new Windows 10 PC in our shared home office, wondering if I should update it, too. When my wife asked me about the update, I told her, yes, I should probably do it soon.

Later I thought, “Have I lost my mind? What if she hates the new interface?

Honestly, I don’t think she will. Despite a significant interface overhaul and a slightly bumpy start (surprise incompatibilities with legacy hardware, system slowdowns, lost volume controls, spotty Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections), this was one of the Windows updates smoothest in recent memory.

This may be due, in part, to Microsoft’s relatively quick action on these persistent bugs, the work it’s doing to improve even the way we update Windows, and being clear about why things go wrong. .

By the numbers

According to Microsoft, more than a billion people are currently using Windows 10. What’s less clear is how quickly people are moving to Windows 11, which officially launched late last year.

A quick, unscientific Twitter poll, run on my Twitter and TechRadar accounts, clearly indicates that Windows 11 adoption is strong. Of course, more than half of all respondents are still using Windows 10 (a shocking 4.4% said they were using Windows XP, but I think they were kidding, I hope). The 35% already running Windows 11 is telling.

That so many people choose to trust Microsoft and install (or buy new systems running) this still-new operating system is a testament to the relationship Windows 10 helped build between Microsoft and its customers.

Windows 10 has been a solid but unremarkable platform that in my experience has worked reliably for years. At the system level, it was more reliable and secure than most previous Windows iterations. It’s a platform that can run, without a reboot, for days. Even without third-party security software, Windows 10 and 11 are better than ever at fending off software threats (though they can still do more to protect users from phishing attempts and socially-engineered ransomware attacks).

Clean and simple-r

Windows 11 leaves most of the subsystem intact and focuses on a cleaner, more focused interface with a more 21st-century feel to nearly every element, including some that haven’t been touched in years.

Despite all this, there is still work to be done. It’s frustrating that you can still access the Device Manager, Registry Editor, and Microsoft Management Console and, like stepping into a time machine, see interfaces that have barely changed since 2001 – especially for those of us who know where to look for these things.

For most Windows users, however, they see what Microsoft wants to present and are pleasantly led by a new interface design that puts your controls front and center (I’m less of a fan of widgets – but those are hidden away). screen, so who cares?). What’s more impressive is that Microsoft does this without making you miss the classic left corner start menu.

Between all of this and the Edge browser (which I recommend to all my family and friends), it feels like Windows’ time, a time when it’s ready to be at its best and enjoy a nice streak of adoption. in large scale.

Smooth navigation up to Windows 12.


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