Launched in October 2021, Home windows 11 is the primary numbered replace to Microsoft’s working system in additional than six years. You’d count on there can be dramatic modifications between Home windows 11 and Home windows 10. However there weren’t. To an important extent, Home windows 11 seems to be and works very similar to its predecessor.
That stated, there are fairly just a few minor variations between the 2, and the brand new OS could take some getting used to. I’m right here to assist. Whether or not you’ve upgraded a Home windows 10 machine to Home windows 11 otherwise you’ve bought it on a brand new PC, this cheat sheet will get you on top of things on it. I’ve additionally supplied quick-reference charts itemizing helpful keyboard shortcuts, touchpad gestures, and touchscreen gestures.
Since Home windows 10 has been in use for therefore a few years, I assume most readers are acquainted with its options. See our Home windows 10 cheat sheet for detailed directions on utilizing OneDrive, the Edge browser, the Home windows Clipboard, Home windows apps, and extra. On this story I’ll concentrate on options which can be new to Home windows 11 or which have modified from Home windows 10.
Be aware: As with Home windows 10, if you wish to get essentially the most out of Home windows 11, you’ll have to make use of a Microsoft ID as your person account. With no Microsoft ID, you gained’t have the ability to use a lot of apps or sync settings amongst a number of units. So whenever you arrange Home windows 11 for the primary time, sign up with an present Microsoft ID or create a brand new one.
The brand new Begin menu
The most important change in Home windows 11 from Home windows 10 is entrance and heart, actually. It’s the Begin menu. As an alternative of being anchored to the left facet of the display screen, because it was in Home windows 10, it hovers simply above the underside heart of the display screen.
It’s a lot smaller than the Home windows 10 Begin menu, and also you don’t scroll by way of it as you do by way of the Home windows 10 Begin menu. As an alternative of enormous tiles, a few of that are “dwell” tiles that show altering data, you get a number of rows of small utility icons. Merely click on the applying you need to run.
Home windows 11 offers you management over how the app icons are organized on the Begin menu — simply drag and drop any icon to a brand new location. The purposes you see are simply a few of these in your PC. To see all of them, click on All apps on the high proper of the menu they usually’ll seem in a scrollable vertical record.
Once you right-click a tile, a menu pops up. Right here’s the place issues get a bit complicated, as a result of not each Home windows app and desktop utility has the identical pop-up menu. Most have some mixture of those choices:
Transfer to high: Makes the app the left topmost app on the Begin menu — the primary on the record.
Unpin from Begin: Choose this and the icon vanishes from the Begin menu.
Run as an administrator: This allows you to run the app or utility as an administrator.
Open file location: Opens File Explorer to the folder the place the applying lives.
Pin to taskbar: Because it says, this pins the app to the taskbar. If it’s already pinned, you’ll get an Unpin from taskbar selection.
App settings: This results in a display screen that permits you to change the app’s settings, comparable to whether or not to permit it to run within the background or get entry to your microphone.
Uninstall: This uninstalls the app. Some Home windows apps created by Microsoft, comparable to Clock, can’t be uninstalled. Over time, nonetheless, Home windows 10 has allow you to uninstall extra built-in apps than beforehand. Each Home windows 10 and Home windows 11 could proceed that development sooner or later.
Price and evaluate: This feature is offered just for apps downloaded from the Microsoft Retailer. It brings you to a web page that permits you to price the app and write a evaluate. The score and evaluate seem within the app’s description within the Microsoft Retailer.
Share: This allows you to share a hyperlink to the app utilizing quite a lot of strategies, comparable to Mail, Twitter, and others.
Some Home windows apps produce other selections as nicely, relying on their functions. For instance, right-click File Explorer and also you get selections comparable to mapping or unmapping a community drive.
Once you click on the All apps icon to show your purposes in a scrollable record, you may right-click any app icon to see some mixture of those selections. On the menu you’ll additionally see a listing of information you’ve not too long ago opened in that app; click on any to run it.
The underside of the beginning menu has a particularly helpful part referred to as Beneficial. It features a record of apps you’ve not too long ago put in and information you’ve not too long ago opened. So quite than having to open an utility like Phrase, after which browse for a file you’ve not too long ago labored on, you may simply click on the file in Beneficial, and it launches the applying and opens the file in it. To see different information you’ve not too long ago opened, click on Extra for an extended, scrollable record.
You may right-click any file on both the Begin menu or the scrollable record, and also you’ll discover some mixture of those choices:
Open in internet browser: That is accessible provided that you’re clicking an Workplace file saved in OneDrive. It’s going to open the file within the internet model of the suitable Workplace app.
Open file location: Opens File Explorer to the folder the place the file lives.
Take away from record: Removes the file from the Begin menu and the scrollable record.
Home windows Search is built-in instantly into Begin by way of a textual content field throughout the highest of the display screen. At first, it’s a bit complicated to make use of, as a result of clicking the field doesn’t place a cursor within the textual content field and allow you to begin looking. As an alternative, a search display screen pops up — the identical one you’ll see whenever you click on the Search icon on the taskbar. It takes some getting used to. (You’ll discover out extra about Search within the subsequent part of this text.)
You can too handle your person account from Begin by clicking your account icon on the backside left of the display screen. Click on and select Change Account Settings. You’ll have the ability to change the photograph related together with your account or take a brand new one, swap to an area account, and extra. Once you click on your account icon, you too can lock your PC and signal out of Home windows.
To put your PC to sleep, shut it down, or restart it, click on the ability button on the backside proper of the Begin menu.
Home windows 11 Search is very similar to Search in Home windows 10, with just a few minor tweaks right here and there. To do a search, click on the search button (a magnifying glass) on the taskbar. An oblong pane pops up with a search field on the high.
Once you first launch the Search field, it exhibits three areas beneath the tabs; these are considerably complicated and solely generally helpful.
- High apps is a row of icons of your generally used purposes and apps, comparable to Phrase, File Explorer, Settings, and others. Click on any icon and also you’ll be despatched to the Search field or part of the app’s icon you clicked. You’ll then should carry out a search in that app within the regular method.
- Current on the decrease left has nothing to do with search — it’s presupposed to be a listing of apps you’ve not too long ago used. Click on any to launch it. However the label “Current” isn’t all the time correct. In my testing, it didn’t record the apps I had not too long ago launched. As an alternative, it listed some that I hardly ever used.
- Fast searches lists generic searches that Microsoft believes you would possibly need to run — “On my PC,” “At this time in historical past,” “New films,” “Translate,” and “Markets right this moment.”
It’s rather more helpful to easily sort your search time period into the search field on the high of the pane. Home windows Search makes use of the Bing search engine to look by way of your information, your Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage, your movies and music, the apps in your PC, your settings, your e-mail, the net, and extra. The “High apps,” “Current,” and “Fast searches” sections disappear, changed by search outcomes and associated searches.
You may goal your search by clicking any of the tabs simply beneath the search field:
- All shows all search outcomes.
- Apps exhibits any app-related matches.
- Paperwork exhibits paperwork in your PC that match the search.
- Internet shows outcomes from the net.
- Extra exhibits outcomes from different locations, together with particular person apps, emails, and folders together with Music, Individuals, Photographs, Settings, and Movies. You’ll should click on the down arrow subsequent to Extra to see all of them.
One final notice about search: By default, Home windows Search solely seems to be by way of a restricted number of default libraries and folders together with OneDrive, Paperwork, Downloads, Music, Footage, Movies, and Desktop. It gained’t discover information saved in different places in your PC. Nevertheless, you may change that. Go to Settings > Privateness & Safety > Looking out Home windows, and within the “Discover My Information” part, choose Enhanced. That may inform Home windows to go looking by way of your whole PC. If there are folders you need to exclude from the search, go to the “Excluded Folders” part, then click on Add an excluded folder and browse to the folder you don’t need to search.
Widgets, widgets, widgets
Home windows 10 has all the time provided widgets comparable to a information feed, climate, and extra. You possibly can run them individually, however they by no means had a house of their very own.
In Home windows 11, that’s modified. Click on the Widgets icon on the taskbar (it’s a sq. divided vertically into two sections, one white and one blue), and a big panel seems on the left facet of the display screen displaying a preselected set of them, together with climate, information, sports activities, and others.
Every widget exhibits altering data, comparable to inventory costs or the climate. Click on one and also you often are despatched out to the net for extra particulars. You may change the dimensions of every widget, take away it, and customise it by clicking the three-dot menu icon at its higher proper. The menu sometimes gives some mixture of those selections:
- Small, Medium, Massive. Click on the suitable choice to vary the widget’s measurement.
- Customise widget. This results in a display screen that permits you to change how the widget works. It’s typically totally different for every widget. For instance, within the Sports activities widget, you may select to get information about particular groups or particular leagues. And within the “Watchlist Movers” stock-tracking widget you may add new shares to observe.
- Take away widget. This removes the widget from the pane.
So as to add a widget, click on the “Add widgets” button, then flick thru the widget classes and click on the + button subsequent to the widget(s) you need to add.
Teaming up with Groups
Home windows 11 was finalized in the course of the COVID pandemic, which modified the best way we work and dwell, with videoconferencing and chat growing as in-person conferences decreased. In Home windows 11, Microsoft doubles down on the wager that chat and video conferences will stay an vital a part of individuals’s work and personal life, even when life turns into extra regular.
So it put a “Chat with Microsoft Groups” characteristic the place you may’t miss it. You’ll see an icon for Groups, Microsoft’s chat, and videoconferencing software program, nearly useless heart on the taskbar. Click on the icon, and a Groups display screen opens up together with your contacts on them. (Be aware that the icon seems to be like a video digital camera till you click on it. At that time, it turns right into a dialog bubble icon.) Scroll and search by way of your contacts, click on the particular person with whom you need to join, and a Groups chat and videoconferencing window opens, requesting to attach. (You can too use the Home windows key + C keyboard shortcut.)
At that time, you employ Groups as you’d usually. In case your contact doesn’t use Groups, they’ll get an SMS message, and you may chat that method. (For assist studying to make use of Groups, see “Microsoft Groups: Find out how to use it, and the way it stacks as much as Slack and Zoom.”)
You ought to be conscious, although, that Groups in Home windows 11 is for private use solely, not for enterprise use. Meaning the complete suite of enterprise Groups options, comparable to using channels, with the ability to search by way of message archives, and so forth, isn’t accessible. That will change over time, however for now, it’s just for restricted use.
Dealing with Home windows 11 updates
Home windows 11 is a boon for companies and individuals who didn’t like Home windows 10’s twice-yearly characteristic updates due to the potential for bugs being launched with every new launch. Home windows 11 solely will get characteristic updates every year. Higher but, you may management whether or not and when to put in every new characteristic replace.
When Microsoft releases its annual Home windows 11 characteristic replace to the general public, it isn’t routinely put in. As an alternative, Home windows notifies you that it’s accessible with a message and a “Obtain and set up” hyperlink within the Home windows Replace Settings pane. If you happen to don’t need to set up it, ignore the message and your PC stays as it’s. Everytime you need to set up an replace, simply click on the hyperlink and comply with the directions.
There may be one caveat. When your present model of Home windows 11 reaches what Microsoft calls “finish of service” — the purpose at which Microsoft now not helps it — Home windows 11 will set up a more moderen characteristic replace routinely. For Home windows 11 Residence and Professional customers, that’s often 24 months after your present Home windows model’s launch. For Home windows 11 Enterprise and Training customers, that’s sometimes 36 months.
Even so, it’s theoretically potential to skip over some characteristic updates totally. Since they’re launched yearly, you may set up one model, decline to put in the subsequent one which’s launched, after which set up the one after that.
You’ve got management not simply over the annual Home windows 11 characteristic updates, but additionally over the minor updates that Microsoft points in between them. You may pause these smaller updates for as much as 35 days.
To do it, go to Settings > Home windows Replace and subsequent to “Pause updates,” click on Pause for 1 week. You may hold doing this each seven days a complete of 5 occasions to delay it for 35 days.
To do it, go to Settings > Home windows Replace > Replace historical past > Uninstall updates. That brings you to the Management Panel and a listing of updates. Choose the replace you need to uninstall and click on Uninstall.
You can too ask Home windows to warn you, by way of a system tray icon, when it’s good to reboot your PC to be able to end an replace. Go to Settings > Home windows Replace > Superior choices, and subsequent to “Notify me when a restart is required to complete replace,” transfer the slider to On.
Subsequent web page: Activity View, Snap Layouts, Fast Settings, and extra →