Tempered enthusiasm – What not to expect from Windows 11

Kip Kniskern

Tomorrow, Microsoft is set to officially unveil Windows 11 in an online event scheduled for 11am ET (we’ll be live blogging the event, stay tuned for more info soon). Our colleague Laurent Giret has a good wrap up of what to expect, but in an effort to set some expectations, there’s a number of things *not* to expect either from the event, or from Windows 11 in general. Let’s dive in:

Don’t expect a whole new operating system

Windows 10X was supposed to be a full re-imagining of Windows. Built from the ground up, light and agile, and able to run on mobile devices like the Surface Duo.

Windows 11 isn’t that. It’s largely Windows 10 under the hood, with (almost) all the compatibility and all of the legacy code that implies. Don’t get fooled either by reports of Windows 11 being smaller, having much faster shutdown, etc., etc. The leaked build is a development build, meaning portions of the OS were purposely left out to make working with it easier.

Will Windows 11 be faster and smaller than Windows 10? Maybe, but we don’t know that, especially by deconstructing the leaked build.

Don’t expect Windows 11 to run on mobile

There have been hints that Windows 11 is going to be more developer friendly, and with that could come some significant improvements for ARM devices, but again, this isn’t Windows 10X. Windows 11 won’t be a mobile OS any more than Windows 10 was. However, the “Chromebook killer” ARM story is a little more murky. There are early indications that there may be some significant Windows on ARM improvements coming to Windows 11, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Windows11 7

Don’t expect a full revamp of the UI

It isn’t just that Microsoft is lazy about replacing the Control Panel, File Explorer, or any of the myriad other inconsistencies still present in Windows 10, there are a number of reasons not to make breaking changes just for the sake of a cleaner UI. While we do expect that both Control Panel and File Explorer could get updated, digging deeper into Windows 11, even in a much more final state, will continue to reveal legacy components, unchanged by time.

Don’t expect Microsoft to force updates to Windows 11

Windows 11 is not going to be for everyone, at least not at first. Many corporations are still clinging to Windows 7, due in part to the cost of updating (unlike consumer Windows, updating corporate licenses is decidedly not free), but also to costs around training and training materials. Adjusting to a new system means a loss of productivity, at the bottom line. When workers need help, they most likely turn to training materials, which will have to be completely redone to reflect the latest UI changes, and producing those materials is a sunk cost.

Microsoft does have a separate “Commercial” portion of the June 24th event, likely touting why it’s a great idea for companies to upgrade as soon as possible, but that’s going to be a hard sell.

Don’t expect everything at once

One of the benefits of a more modular OS is that previously built in elements, for example the browser, can be updated independently. This goes for the “in box” apps, too, like Mail and Calendar. There still will be a beta period for Windows 11, too, and we’re expecting some rapid-fire improvements and changes to even built in elements (like Control Panel) that won’t make the initial Insider release but will be ready when Windows 11 ships

What do you expect on June 24th and beyond?

One thing for sure, the Windows Insider program just got a whole lot more interesting! What are you expecting from the event tomorrow, and from Windows 11 in general? Let us know in the comments below.