December 6, 2021

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How to Watch Microsoft’s Windows 11 Event—and What to Expect

There’s not a lot of mystery left to Windows 11, thanks to a comprehensive leak last week. But there are still some outlines left to be shaded in, particularly any improvements to Microsoft’s home-grown apps, like Office and Game Pass. And anytime an operating system with well over a billion users gets an upgrade, even small changes can have a big impact. Here’s how to watch along for yourself on Thursday, and what you can expect to see.

How to Watch

The how-to-watch part is easy enough. The event starts on Thursday, June 24, at 11 am ET at the Microsoft Events page. If that sputters and stalls for you, try this YouTube stream instead.

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But what might you see! Well, that’s also not hard to figure out, given that an early build has leaked online in its entirety. Which is not to say that all of Windows 11’s secrets have been revealed, especially since the changes so far appear largely aesthetic. But Microsoft likely has a few surprises still in store.

Windows to the Future

In the meantime, though, the visual overhaul has some interesting nuggets. It appears to streamline a lot of what you’re used to from Windows 10, particularly around the Start menu and task bar. They’ve been relocated to the bottom-center of your screen, rather than the left-hand side. (You can move them back if you prefer the current placement.) You also won’t find a dedicated Cortana icon in the taskbar anymore, which is just as well, because it was hogging some valuable real estate without much payoff.

Once you open the Start menu, you’ll find plain app icons rather than the dynamic Live Tiles of Windows 10. It’s a cleaner, more minimal layout, albeit one that hides most of the menu under a separate button click. In a (dare we say) Apple-y touch, file menus and applications in Windows 11 will have more rounded corners. The maximize button in application windows has been reworked to allow you to instantly snap windows side by side or into corners. According to Tom Warren at The Verge, Windows 11 also comes with a new bloopy startup sound and some pretty default wallpapers.

The Microsoft Store is expected to get a rework as well, though details on that are fuzzier. Rumors from earlier this year indicate that Microsoft’s goal is to make the Store more enticing for developers. On the heels of the legal scrum between Apple and Epic Games over app store policies, Microsoft is keen to position itself as the good guy and encourage devs onto its platform. At any rate, it’s clear that there’s more Microsoft news to come, both at its Windows 11 event and beyond.


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