You will love these new features of Windows 11. Here’s how they work


Windows 11 will bring a bunch of new features. Here is how to use them.

Microsoft

Windows 11 just around the corner, with a fresh new design and a bunch of new features to streamline your PC and help you be more productive whether you’re using your laptop or tablet at home or in the office.

Here are the best new Windows 11 features announced so far, and how you’ll use them, based on what Microsoft has demonstrated. In addition, you can always try the beta version before launch. (And be sure to check how to know if your PC will be compatible with Windows 11 and how to download windows 11 for free once out.)

Six new features in Windows 11 and how to use them

Android apps

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You will be able to download Android apps on Windows 11.

Microsoft

What it is: Android applications will be integrated into Windows 11 natively through the new Microsoft Store – a change that Windows users have been waiting for for years. Although you can access Android apps on your Windows 10 PC in some cases (like if you have a samsung galaxy phone), Windows 11 marks the first time anyone will be able to download them directly to your PC. (Here is all you need to know about Android applications under Windows 11.)

How you will use it: Android apps will be in the new Microsoft Store through Amazon’s Appstore. This means you’ll need to download Amazon’s Appstore to access the nearly 500,000 apps available, including Disney Plus, TikTok, Netflix, Pinterest, Uber, and more. However, you will not be able to access all Android apps found in the Google Play Store.

To get started, you will need to download the Amazon Appstore and sign in or create an Amazon account. Then you will be able to search for free or paid apps just like you would on any other platform. Android apps will be integrated into the start bar and will also appear in the task bar with their own windows.


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Widgets

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Widgets on Windows 11 will give you customizable information at a glance.

Microsoft

What it is: Windows 11 goes add widgets to the interface – A customizable AI-powered feed that slides out to show you information like news, weather, preview your calendar, to-do list and recent photos. Widgets are similar to a feature called news and interests found in a recent Windows 10 update.

How you will use it: On the newly redesigned taskbar you will find a button for widgets. When you click or tap on it, a panel will slide down the left side of your screen with a series of widgets that will give you the information you’re looking for at a glance. You can also expand it to be full screen.

Microsoft teams

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View the Microsoft Teams chat bar directly from the Windows 11 taskbar for easier access to your contacts.

Microsoft / Screenshot by Sarah Tew / CNET

What it is: Windows 11 will build Microsoft Teams video chat platform directly into the operating system, making it easy to access for everyday use. You can connect with others on Teams on Windows, Android, Mac, or iOS.

How you will use it: Teams will now appear in the taskbar. Click the Teams icon to launch a chat tool, allowing you to choose whether you want to send a message, text, voice or video call to any of your contacts. Click Meet or Chat and choose who you want to contact. Or open the full version of Microsoft Teams by clicking the box at the bottom of the chat screen. (Here is more on how to use the new and improved Microsoft teams in Windows 11.)

Desktop computers

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Easily switch between different desktops in Windows 11.

Microsoft / Screenshot by Sarah Tew / CNET

What it is: Windows 11 will make it easier for you create separate virtual desktops for every part of your life and personalize them with different wallpapers, so that you can create a desktop for personal use, work, school, games or anything else, and easily switch between them. This is similar to the macOS virtual desktop feature.

How you will use it: We don’t have as much information on how to set up the new desktops yet, but based on Microsoft’s demo, it looks like once you’ve done that you’ll be able to scroll to the bottom of your screen and see a sliding up window with the different desktops you’ve created, allowing you to switch between them with just one click.

Instant layouts

What it is: When working in multiple open windows, Windows 11 lets you arrange them in different screen layouts and saves all of those windows in that arrangement.

How you will use it: When you open a window, you’ll see a button that looks like a square in the upper right corner, between the X and the minimize button. Click on it to see the different layout options for this window, and select the layout and position in the layout that you want to place this window.

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Bring together app and window groups with Snap Layouts, and easily maximize and minimize the set with Snap Groups in Windows 11.

Microsoft

Rigging groups

What it is: Snap Groups are the set of open windows you saved in Snap Layouts, found in the taskbar for easy access to recall once again, so you can minimize or maximize them as a group.

How you will use it: Hover over your browser in the taskbar (it’s not clear whether you should use Microsoft Edge to do this, like Microsoft did in its demo). You will see the different groups of sites and applications that you have created. Click on the one you want to reopen the whole group. (Here is more on working with layouts and snap groups.)

Find out more, find out more about how Windows 11 desktop widgets and layouts work, how to change the wallpaper of Windows 11 and when we expect Windows 11 to be released.


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