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A massive Windows 11 leak shows a new UI, updated menus, and more

Microsoft will officially announce the next-generation of Windows later this month.

windows 11 leaked screenshot
Image: Windows Central

Microsoft’s big surprise for its June 24 event has leaked online early, showing off Windows 11 in all its glory. First, screenshots appeared on Chinese social site Baidu, and then the entire Windows 11 OS appeared, with users posting screenshots all over Twitter once they’d got it installed.

The first big UI change you’ll notice is that the Start Menu is in the center of the taskbar. That might make sense on Microsoft’s own Surface tablets, but longtime Windows users are going to have decades of muscle memory pulling them back to the corner.

You can change it back to the usual position with a registry change, or there’s probably a toggle switch in the settings somewhere, as Microsoft learned a hard lesson when it forced Windows 8’s live tiles on every user and had to create a way to choose between the classic and new Start menus.

windows 11 desktop view
Image: The Verge

The new Start Menu loses the Live Tiles found in Windows 10, and seems far more user friendly to search through. It has pinned apps, recent files, and easy access to power options like restart, a welcome change from the cluttered existing menus.

Windows 11 also brings softened, rounded corners to menus and windows, making everything feel a little bit Mac-like. It’s not a bad change to my eyes, but it will take some getting used to. There are new animations for some actions, like pinning programs to the taskbar, and Windows Widgets seem to be coming back with a slide-out action so they’re not in view all the time.

The coolest feature I’ve noticed in the content shared on Twitter is the new snap feature that’s built into the maximize button.

Now when clicked on it shows the possible places on the desktop that your window could be snapped to, and clicking on the relevant part of the icon snaps the window to that part. It’s a visual reminder that windows can be snapped to edges, and I love it.

The Windows Store seems to be unchanged from the existing one, so whatever Microsoft has planned here clearly isn’t ready for use. Maybe we’ll hear more about that on June 11. Xbox features are now integrated into Windows, with easy access to Xbox Game Pass games, Xbox social features, and the Xbox store.

We’ll not have long to wait until Microsoft officially announces the next-generation of Windows, as the big event is on June 24 at 11AM ET.

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