Microsoft announced Windows 11 just a few days ago, and now the company is letting you early enthusiasts give the OS a try.
While the official build is still in very early development stage, it is way better and more seamless to use than the sluggish, incomplete leak that was available on the web prior to the official announcement.
Here are some of the most notable updates available in the first public preview of the OS:
- A sleek new design with a centered Taskbar, new animation, and rounded corners.
- A new start menu with pinned apps and a ‘recommended’ section of files and software.
- A redesigned Notification Center (shortcut: Win + N) and Quick Settings Menu (Win + A), which are now separate.
- A new File Explorer
- New dark and light mode themes.
- The new Windows 11 sounds that change slightly depending on the theme.
- Widgets (Win + W), currently including a calendar, weather, local traffic, your Microsoft To-Do lists, OneDrive photos, sports (and esports), stocks, and tips.
- A news feed with content from various publications.
- The new Snap Layout and Snap groups everyone is excited about.
- A new and improved virtual desktops functionality (Win + Tab).
- An improved docking functionality that automatically resumes your previous layout when connecting to a dock, and minimizes the apps on your external monitor when you undock which is pretty cool.
- New three and four-finger touchscreen gestures for multitasking.
- Dynamic refresh rate for laptops that support it.
- A new improved Settings Menu that might finally replace the Control Panel.
- Office Insiders are also getting a new look to coincide with Windows 11.
- A preview of the new Microsoft Store is also available.
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Windows 11 is currently available to users who have signed up for Microsoft’s Windows Insider program.
How to sign up for the Windows Insider program
In order to access the Windows 11 test build, you will need to first sign in to your Microsoft account, then go to the Windows Insider webpage and register for the program.
How to download Windows 11 preview on your computer
You can then visit your Settings app and check your account settings for a setting related to the Windows 11 Insider program that should appear.
Be warned that this build is the most prone to buggy builds, including some known ones in this release. I wouldn’t install it on your primary PC unless you really know what you’re doing.