Windows 11 revealed as screenshots from leaked early build surface online

Written by Chad Norton on Wed, Jun 16, 2021 11:38 AM

Just over a week from now Microsoft is planning to officially reveal the next generation of Windows, but it looks like an early build has been leaked online which reveals some new design changes as well as the official name: Windows 11. So let’s take our first look at the next generation of the Windows Operating System.

According to multiple sources, an early preview build of Windows 11 has been leaked online and some users have managed to get their hands on it and take a look at what’s changed. Bear in mind that this is not the final build that Microsoft will be releasing, so there’s still a few things that need to be added or changed.

The first 2 noticeable changes are the centralized taskbar and rounded corners. Some users have pointed out the design is leaning more towards the MacOS style, which you can definitely see some inspiration in the design. If you are bothered by the centralized task bar though you can always revert back to the original layout and move them to the left side.

There’s also a new Start button and menu in Windows 11, with some even pointing out similarities to the Windows 10X UI, which was eventually cancelled in favor of W11 instead. If you hated the tile design of the Start menu in the latest Windows OS, then thankfully those are gone in Windows 11’s Start menu.

According to the users who had access to this leaked build, not everything featured the new design changes and so felt largely unfinished. As such, only certain apps appear to have the new rounded corners feature.

There also seems to be the return of the Windows Widgets, which seems incomplete at the moment as they don’t load fully but they will eventually provide easy and quick access to the latest news, weather announcements, and more content from the internet.

There’s also some new snap controls, which allow you to more accurately pick a side/size of the window so you can work on multiple windows in the same instance. It’s a bit hard to explain in just screenshots so here's a short video demonstrating the new feature:

There doesn’t seem to be any big updates to the Windows Store though, which is thought to be a big change and has been rumored for a while now. However, there is a new startup sound to enjoy! Take a listen below:

Of course, Microsoft also owns Xbox and subsequently has integrated the Xbox app into Windows 11, allowing users to quickly access the Xbox Game Pass, as well as the Xbox store and social experiences. However, the Xbox Game Bar and Windows Game Mode still remain similar to the Windows 10 build.

It seems that Windows 11 is indeed a proper successor to the cancelled Windows 10X, which was initially designed for dual-screen devices and laptops, which explains the simplified design changes. It’s a bit hard to get used to, but is nowhere near as drastic as the Windows 8 changes.

We’ll be getting our first official look at Windows 11 when Microsoft plans to reveal it on June 24th. By then we might see a few design changes here and there but we imagine it will largely stay the same.

So what do you think? How do you feel about the Windows 11 design changes? Are you excited for the next Windows OS? What excites you the most? And what puts you off? What other design changes/improvements would you like to see in W11? Let us know!

Source

Are you excited for Windows 11?

What do you think of Windows 11 so far?

Our favourite comments:

Hopefully we can use our windows 10 product key to get windows 11, otherwise i'll prob wait it out a few years cause i dont plan to pay anytime soon

30011887

Im glad to see microsoft working hard at making skins for windows instead of crushing bugs/optimizing...good they have their priorities in place.

zenmaster

honestly this looks more like windows 10.1 rather than completely new OS, maybe it's a good thing?

gerulis20

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21:24 Jun-20-2021

i always like changes, but those icons of the folders idk, remind me too much of linux. i like the ones from windows 10 more.

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13:55 Jun-20-2021

honestly this looks more like windows 10.1 rather than completely new OS, maybe it's a good thing?

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22:44 Jun-17-2021

I cannot for now vote on this.


They said way back then that Windows 10 would be the last version and now they are announcing a new version anyway?!...

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15:46 Jun-18-2021

When voting fails - try a refresh. Happens to me too.

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10:45 Jun-20-2021

last windows? everybody knows thats stupid. Unless they want to stop doing OSs they will eventualy always release a new iteration. You cant update one OS forever.

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15:39 Jun-17-2021

One things for sure. New Windows means MORE COMPATIBILITY ISSUES with OLD GAMES!

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16:19 Jun-17-2021

That's less of a Windows issue and usually more a driver (and, by extension - hardware) and API (such as DX8 and below not running in hardware mode on Win8+) issue.

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15:10 Jun-18-2021

Well, I'm having a lot of issues with my childhood games. Especially those that are win98 era. They won't run properly on windows 10.

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15:35 Jun-18-2021

Yeah, that's usually going to be not just because of the OS, but also due to the things I mentioned. For example, DX8 and below are running in software mode under Win8+, so I've had problems with that in the past (games running slow). There are workarounds, but they're not perfect. Another issue is the hardware - there are "wrappers" available for old stuff that wants 3DFX Glide cards, etc. If you have a choice between DirectX and OpenGL (say, Unreal games have that) - run them in OpenGL and that usually works fine.

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15:38 Jun-18-2021

Basically what I'm saying is that you'd have the same exact issues under Win8 as well. Win11 shouldn't change anything from Win10 game-wise - that's because of the kernel/core being the same, essentially. Every now and again MS has to change some things, that's why we had problems with Vista and then with 8.


Don't forget to play with compatibility modes under Win10 - they can do wonders! Old games also can be run pretty well in a VM - you can try that option. Alternatively, all else failing - source some older hardware and install XP/7 on it :)

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15:41 Jun-18-2021

In terms of compatibility modes - I had to use them for many older games. Try XP SP2/3 or Win7 compat modes for older games that don't run at all. This fixed stuff like Spore, Beyond Good and Evil, NFS, etc not running for me.


I know it's a bit of a pain, but there are workarounds for probably 95%+ of the old games and you can get them running with a bit of tinkering.

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10:24 Jun-17-2021

Looks like it's going to be a disfunctional mess, sluggish and full of ads and bloatware garbage. I'm going Linux if they continue like that.

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12:03 Jun-17-2021

thats a lot of assumptions, it feels like you are making hateful comment because you dont want to use win anyway and you are trying to validate your choice.

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13:41 Jun-17-2021

Yeah lol we don't even know anything for granted. If anything this new UI looks like smth Apple would do and that's it

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03:55 Jun-17-2021

The biggest concern I have for Windows 11 right now is compatibility, especially, backward. And performance too.
Waiting for game benchmarkers...

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00:29 Jun-17-2021

This is basically a rebranded Windows 10 UI update. Its not complete because apparently this is just phase 1 of the whole Sun Valley thing they have going on.


Yes, it's still inconsistent and bloated.

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23:12 Jun-16-2021

Smells like a reskinned windows 10

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22:59 Jun-16-2021

i wonder which one will games start to require first and with it make me upgrade, win11 or ssd

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05:49 Jun-17-2021

SSDs are already practically mandatory if you want sharp and quick response from the OS and many else. Having loading times cut from minutes to few seconds is already a dream came true, on top of many other things. Not having SSD today is kinda just hurting yourself, especially as the price has gone down dramatically. You can get a decent 500gb SSD for around 50-60$. That's more than enough for the OS and a bunch of games too.

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12:25 Jun-17-2021

yea but fps is the same and thats all i care about, it can load as long as it wants i dont have problem with that as long as its not gta5/online level, and i know that ssd are not that expensive anymore but then i see how big hdd i can get for the same price

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13:44 Jun-17-2021

actually idk if you checked up on the gtao but they finally fixed the stupid loading times, now it loads 7 times faster than before, you will notice for sure, even if you don't use ssd

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16:13 Jun-17-2021

There are few games that I genuinely couldn't play due to frequent loading screens even though FPS was more than I needed. I don't have a lot of free time lately, so when I want to play a game the last thing I need is to spend a quarter of that time just looking at a progress bar move from let to right.

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17:44 Jun-17-2021

I used to get stuttering in games back in 2014 with (WatchDogs on HDD being the one to piss me off) which is when I made the switch to SSDs for gaming. Who has the time to wait around, or the patience to deal with stuttering?

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17:51 Jun-17-2021

I remember Kingdom Come Deliverance had terrible issues on release with LODs and textures just not loading fast enough on HDDs making the game completely unplayable. I messed around for days and managed to somewhat fix the pop in issues and LODs but it still wasn't a great experience. Micro stutters were still present and loading times and system resources increased by a lot. Other game at similar time that messed me a lot was Total War Warhammer 2.

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17:54 Jun-17-2021

While it was certainly playable on the campaign map and in battle view, every loading screen took upwards of 2 minutes, and there are a lot because you're constantly switching from campaign to battles which just made the game unplayable for me. I stopped playing battles which is the main reason you play TW games to begin with, and the game was just a drag. So I went and finally bought an SSD, and my god, it was beautiful.

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17:56 Jun-17-2021

All the things just fixed themselves and the machine was also running faster. Sometime afterwards I also got myself a dedicated game drive SSD, and relegated my HDD to long storage. Media, music, family photos and videos etc. I've been planning to make a home server for all that stuff but I can't find the time for it.

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19:47 Jun-17-2021

Glad you shared your experience! There are still people who think SSDs are a "scam" or "gimmick" (I've actually read such things as "answers" to people's questions on SSD listings on Amazon...), so it's good to see that I'm not crazy and games do stutter and suck on HDDs these days for other people too.

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22:58 Jun-17-2021

my friend has ssd and only game we noticed difference btw ssd and hdd was Control, on hdd it had problems with stuttering other then that i never experienced any stutter in other games

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16:13 Jun-18-2021

It depends on the system and the settings used. If you're streaming high quality assets on high settings - you're more likely to run into stuttering than on lower settings. There are plenty of games that stutter on HDDs, not just Control. And that's if we also completely ignore the abysmally slow loading times on HDD...

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21:11 Jun-16-2021

I don't like changes. I was forced to upgrade to the Windows 10, from Windows 7.

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08:26 Jun-17-2021

win 10 support will stay until 2025

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20:45 Jun-16-2021

I'm only excited because I heard that the context menu design has been fixed. On windows 10 you have 3 kinds of context menu's, just right click on the desktop (or explorer), taskbar and in ms edge.
I really hope this UI update will fix tons of inconsistencies, but I already spotted new ones, where some stuff has rounded corners and some don't, but I guess that it's a early internal build and such inconsistencies are to be expected.

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11:17 Jun-18-2021

a skin shouldnt really necessitate a new OS a simple update could have done that. Im not quite sure what the reason for this rebrand is...

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16:24 Jun-19-2021

maybe its easier for marketing since tracking exact windows 10 version is not the most consumer friendly. We already see this with game system requirements when they state certain version of windows 10. However i do hope it wont cause any issues with hardware/softare/driver compatibility.

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19:07 Jun-16-2021

If we aint got the option to free upgrade, then there goes another mandatory (eventually) 100€ to be able to play the latest games as its intended...

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20:47 Jun-16-2021

But you know that you can get cheap licenses online, right? You don't have to buy it at the 100-300 euro price that shops sell them at.
Microsoft does not care about the individual that upgrades or buys a copy, simply because the average person would buy a new computer, which is preloaded with windows 11, and thus the customer already pays for it.

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17:15 Jun-16-2021

What's the point of a mobile OS on desktop computers?

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20:50 Jun-16-2021

What's so mobile about this? It's windows 10 with a better slightly more consistent UI (keep in mind that it's not an official build for any release at the moment).
As you can see from the screenshot, you can place the start menu on the left like on all windows versions. The fact that this UI seems more friendly for touch devices is great, especially for laptops with touch screen (or 2 in 1 tablet/laptop like the Yoga 360 series) or simply tablet like computers, such as the ms surface.

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08:31 Jun-17-2021

probably so they can use same OS on multiple devices without any additional work required. Also they will probably optimize performance, because of less powerful devices which is good.

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16:59 Jun-16-2021

The snapping feature is the only thing I saw in here which made me actually want to upgrade.

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20:51 Jun-16-2021

It's basically moom for windows (a mac os app). You can use powertoys now, but it doesn't have the context menu, you just have to use shift or right-click while dragging to snap to your custom set snapping grid.

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14:52 Jun-16-2021

Im glad to see microsoft working hard at making skins for windows instead of crushing bugs/optimizing...good they have their priorities in place.

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14:26 Jun-16-2021

Hopefully we can use our windows 10 product key to get windows 11, otherwise i'll prob wait it out a few years cause i dont plan to pay anytime soon

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00:27 Jun-17-2021

You can. It's just a renamed Windows 10 with various early ui changes. Close to what they will show off in June 24th

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14:12 Jun-16-2021

Okay but is there any really good reason why I should upgrade from 10 to 11??

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16:20 Jun-16-2021

end of Windows 10 support,
I'm pretty sure it won't take long before Windows 10 becomes obsolete (current latest 20H2 release support ends in May 2022 already)

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16:35 Jun-16-2021

October 2025 is the end date of Windows 10.

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16:35 Jun-17-2021

sure, but I'm talking about current latest 20H2 release,
2025 is primarily a "deadline" for enterprise customers (although I'm pretty sure Microsoft will offer extended paid support)

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16:58 Jun-16-2021

because end of support? and if you wanna upgrade for free (if they do that) you will most likely have to do it within a certain time frame.

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13:44 Jun-16-2021

As long as it improves stability and performance, I'm content. Would be nice if some resources were invested into improving DX12, or any other API for that matter. It's a shame that you have CPUs and GPUs that in theory have enough processing power to run anything on any level, being severely limited by the communication between components. Resizable BAR, Vulkan, and other gimmicks try to fix this, but in the end it all boils down to the API. Shame that the games don't look any better than they did 3 years ago and yet demand a whole lot more. So much power wasted in such low efficiency APIs.

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16:32 Jun-16-2021

Resizable BAR is not a "gimmick", but rather a change from the very old system that computers ran on for decades. Why should the CPU be bogged down trying to access everything in 256MB chunks and not all at once as needed, when you consider that we now have 24GB cards (such as mine) in the general market? ReBAR is an update for the modern world of computing, that's all.


Vulkan is...also not a gimmick - it's an API, much like DX12. How is it that you want an API improvement while passing off an API as a gimmick?

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08:34 Jun-17-2021

Im pretty sure teams for DX12 and OS are separate

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13:40 Jun-16-2021

Will we get a free upgrade....

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14:11 Jun-16-2021

We were always getting free upgrade

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17:55 Jun-16-2021

I hope so or I would get it like I got my Windows 10 PRO Key back in 2017 from a "legit" site that sells keys for 12 euro which still works after many preinstall and windows version upgrades, but the transaction was shady AF.

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11:34 Jun-17-2021

You can buy it cheap and without shady transactions just search for cd keys on allkeyshop.com :) i always go there if i want to buy something.

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13:24 Jun-16-2021

The centralized taskbar I don't understand - that's crap for productivity when you have multiple windows open - wouldn't the start menu and taskbar icons start moving left/right depending on what you have open? No consistency, but I haven't tried the build so maybe someone might want to chip in.


Can the corner rounding radius be controlled? Seems a tiny bit too round, I'd take them back a notch. If not, I'd probably use the sharp corners then.

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15:27 Jun-16-2021

You can move the taskbar back to the left in taskbar settings.
Don't know about the corners. still it's an early build.

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16:02 Jun-16-2021

I know that it can be moved - it's in the article :P
Just saying that I don't think it's great for productivity.

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17:00 Jun-16-2021

It might not be great for YOUR productivity, but i can imagine people that are more used to the apple interface finds the windows interface less productive :)

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15:41 Jun-16-2021

It is on the far left in the first image which leads me to believe that it would be adjustable.

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16:03 Jun-16-2021

Well, yeah, it's there. I'm just commenting on why I think the middle option is not productivity-friendly :D

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16:18 Jun-16-2021

as a power user, I don't see a problem there, having taskbar full of pinned apps across entire screen width

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16:34 Jun-16-2021

So then what's the point of having it in the middle to begin with if it all will just get pushed back to the original location by the number of windows open? If anything, this would annoy the sh*t out of me, because the icons and the start menu button wouldn't have a consistent location.

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08:38 Jun-17-2021

I dont understand why you complain about that specifically. Only difference is that you can move it now otherwise its same. That means that people can customize more thats a good thing.

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11:53 Jun-17-2021

It's what we people on the internet do - we complain, we discuss, we vent opinions.

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Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz Radeon RX 570 MSI Armor OC 8GB 16GB
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Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3070 MSI Gaming X Trio 8GB 16GB
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