Windows 11 Tips and Tricks

Windows 11
Windows 11 Tips and Tricks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windows 11 Tips and Tricks

When new information is released, we will update the list below.

Updated: 18th November 2021

 

Can I go back to Windows 10?

Yes, if you’ve installed Windows 11 and you’re not happy with Windows 11, you’ve 10 days to revert back to Windows 10. After 10 days you won’t be able to revert back. If however you would like an extension, you can request through Microsoft upto 30 days to revert back to Windows 10, however after this time, you will no longer be able to go back to Windows 10.

Why is my computer running out of space after the Windows 11 upgrade?

If you recently upgraded your computer to Windows 11, you will probably notice that installation is taking a big chunk of space. However, it’s not Windows 11 taking more space than Windows 10. Instead, it’s the setup process that creates a copy of the previous installation in case something goes wrong during the installation and the system has to roll back.

The problem is that even if the upgrade is completed successfully, the copy of the previous version will be saved for if something happens after the installation, or you are uncomfortable with the new version and want to downgrade manually.

You can reclaim the space by deleting the previous installation files using the Storage settings, but after 10 days, these files will be deleted automatically by the system.

Can I reset the Windows 11 installation?

Absolutely, Windows 11 is based on the Windows 10 technologies, which means that this version also comes with the “Reset this PC” feature that allows you to restore the factory default settings to resolve the most common problem, improve performance, or get the device ready for decommissioning.

Using this recovery feature, you can do two things. You can reinstall Windows 11 with its default settings while keeping your files, and you can delete everything and start fresh with a new installation of the OS. Furthermore, the Reset this PC feature even gives you an option to proceed using the locally available image, or you can choose to download the installation from the Microsoft servers.

What’s new with the Start menu on Windows 11?

Perhaps one of the most noticeable changes on Windows 11 is the new Start menu. The new menu has been designed to be a simple app launcher that embraces traditional icons ditching the Live Tiles design and follows the new design language with rounded corners and transparent materials.

The new experience includes a search box at the top, a section for your pinned app, and recommendations. You can rearrange the icons in any way you like by dragging and dropping the icons. You can uninstall most apps from the context menu, and you can still access the list with all the apps.

The “Recommended” section includes your recent files and recently installed apps, and while you cannot remove this section, you can prevent the Start menu from showing recent items.

What happened to Action Center on Windows 11?

Action Center is no longer a thing on Windows 11. Instead, the experience has been replaced with Notification Center and Quick Settings.

Notification Center is the place where you will find all your notifications and calendar. You can open the experience by clicking the “Date & Time” button in the system tray or using the Windows key + N keyboard shortcut.

Quick Settings is where you will find quick access to common settings, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Battery, Brightness, Volume, and more. Usually, the settings in this flyout will depend upon the supported features on the computer. You can open the Quick Settings with the Windows key + A keyboard shortcut or clicking the Network and Volume icon.

What’s new with Widgets on Windows 11?

Widgets is a new feature that provides quick access to a different type of online information without having to reach and open your phone to access the same content.

It looks familiar because this is an evolution of “News and interests” already available on Windows 10 with an interface that flies from the left side.

You can open the experience using the Windows key + W keyboard shortcut or clicking the Widgets button from the Taskbar, and it can show weather, news, sports, stocks, traffic, entertainment, Microsoft To-Do tasks, and Family Safety activities without reaching your phone to get to the same information.

What’s new with the Lock screen on Windows 11?

Although the Lock screen is not getting a lot of improvements, you will notice that the time and date have a center alignment at the top of the screen. Also, you will see some Windows 11 element styles like the font and underline color when entering a PIN or password.

What’s new with WSL on Windows 11?

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is getting a lot of improvements on Windows 11. For instance, Microsoft simplifies the installation and update from multiple steps to a single command in this new version, including wsl –install for setup and wsl –update to update the platform.

Windows 11 now includes support for Linux GUI apps, which means that you can now install graphical apps and run them alongside Windows native updates.

In addition, you can now attach and mount physical drives to access Linux file systems on Windows 11, including “ext4.”

Furthermore, File Explorer now includes quick access to your distro files using the “Linux” entry from the left navigation pane. Also, you can execute commands on startup, and WSL now comes with GPU compute.

What’s new with the Microsoft Store on Windows 11?

After upgrading to Windows 11, you find a new version of the Microsoft Store app. The new app has been redesigned to a new interface to match the style of Windows 11, and there are a lot of improvements to help users make it easier to find and download apps, games, and videos.

In addition, Microsoft is making several critical changes to its policies to allow developers to publish virtually any kind of apps in the Store, including traditional Win32 (unpackaged .exe and .msi), .NET, and Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). Furthermore, moving forward, the company is letting developers keep 100% of the revenue when they bring their monetization platform.

Microsoft promised support of Android apps through the Windows Store, but this will happen at a later time. Finally, the company also announced that it’s now allowing third-party app stores to become part of the Microsoft Store app, and the Epic Games Store is the next in line to come to the Store.

Are there any multitasking improvements on Windows 11?

Yes, Windows 11 comes with several multitasking improvements, Snap layouts and Snap groups, Desktops, and multiple displays improvements.

“Snap layouts” is a new menu that appears when hovering over the maximize button of any window, and it includes different layouts to snap windows on the screen. Once you select a layout and position, Snap assist will give you to continue snapping windows in the remaining space.

“Snap groups” is also part of the Snap assist experience, and it allows you to switch back to the group of spanned windows from the Taskbar by hovering over an app that belongs to a group and clicking the group preview.

On Windows 11, “Virtual Desktops” becomes “Desktops,” and it’s a feature that gives you the ability to create different virtual spaces to keep unrelated tasks separated, such as work, school, and gaming. (You can use this guide to learn more on how to get the most out of this feature.)

The feature works the same way as in previous versions, but it’s been redesigned with an interface that now docks at the bottom of the screen, includes the ability to change the desktop background per desktop, and more.

When you disconnect your laptop to an external display, all the applications on the secondary screen will now minimize automatically. Then when you reconnect the monitor, the apps will restore automatically to their original location by default to improve the experience when working with multiple displays.

Finally, “Aero shake,” the ability to grab and shake a window to minimize all the other windows, now has its own setting on the “Multitasking” settings page.

Does Windows 11 come with a new version of File Explorer?

Yes, but the new version of File Explorer includes an updated design, but it still retains much of the same look and feel of the legacy version.

The new File Explorer features an updated user interface that matches the visuals of Windows 11 with rounded corners, new iconography, and redesigned default folders (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, etc.). Also, since the ribbon menu has been removed in favor of a new command bar that includes all the common actions and new menus to sort items and access different settings, including the ability to enable compact view and show hidden items.

In this new version, you are also getting a new (right-click) context menu design using rounded corners, semi-transparent materials, and new icons for the different actions, including Cut, Paste, Copy, etc. The new context menu is limited, and since many apps still don’t support this new menu, Microsoft has added a “Show more options” item to access the classic context menu.

Furthermore, File Explorer for Windows 11 provides quick access to your WSL distros with the new “Linux” available from the left navigation pane. The Share experience has been updated, and much more.

What’s new with the touch keyboard on Windows 11?

The touch keyboard is getting a lot of improvements. On Windows 11, you can customize various aspects of the software keyboard for touch-enabled devices, for example, you can change it color with various themes, or you can create a custom color scheme. You can change the keyboard size, the size of the keys, and much more.

What’s new with Chat from Microsoft Teams app on Windows 11?

Windows 11 comes with Chat, a new chat experience that’s part of the consumer version of Teams. The app lets Windows users communicate with each other using text messages, video, and voice without installing anything else.

You first need to go through an initial setup, then you can start chatting with family and friends right from the desktop. You can also access the consumer version of Teams to create, join meetings, and change settings.

If Chat isn’t for you, it’s possible to remove completely with these instructions.

Install Windows 11 without Microsoft Account – Windows 10 Compatible as well.

When you start to install Windows 11, you’ll get to the part where it will ask you to enter your Microsoft Account details. Right here instead of entering your account details, all you need to do is enter Admin and press enter, in the Password enter the word Admin. Once you’ve done this it will come up with an error that something went wrong, click next and enter a Username. Congrats you’ve now bypassed the Microsoft Account section.

Activate clipboard history

If you’re anything like us, you’re forever copying and pasting text and other things from one place to another then you’ll love this setting.

Simply press Windows key + V to open clipboard history to access anything you’ve copied recently. History stores as many as 25 items, so it’s worth bearing that in mind for the sake of security. If you’re copying passwords or other sensitive data, you might want to clear that history regularly.

You can also find emojis and gifs in this part of the clipboard which you might like to use when chatting to friends or colleagues.

Game mode

There are various settings gamers can activate to crank out even more power from Windows for a better gaming experience.

One of these is Game Mode.

Hit the Windows key and search for Game Mode and then simply turn that on and you can get a boost with ease. Other highlights include Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling and ultra-performance power settings that can be turned out with a couple of clicks.

Game captures

Windows 11 is optimized for gamers just like Windows 10, which means you can access some settings to make the most of your gaming session.

Hitting Windows Key + G, for example, launches the Xbox Game Bar. From there you can do all sorts of things from monitoring system performance to chatting with Xbox friends across Xbox console, mobile and PC.

The highlight for us though, is how the Xbox Game Bar makes it dead simple to capture game footage and screenshots in an instant.

How to screenshot easily in Windows 11

To streamline your productivity it’s possible to change a setting in Windows so you can press the print screen button and launch Microsoft’s handy Snip & Sketch tool.

Navigate to Windows settings and accessibility or search for the setting by pressing the Windows key and typing “Use the print screen key to launch screen snipping” then clicking that setting.

When you do this, whenever you press the button on your keyboard you’ll launch the tool and then can easily select the area, window or display you want to capture.

Focus assist

Another handy Windows 11 feature is yet again aimed at productivity. Focus assist disables notifications so you can keep working hard on the task at hand without being disturbed.

To activate it go to system settings or hit the Windows key and search for Focus Assist then activate it or set it to come on at specific times to maximize your productivity.

Compact folder view

The Windows 11 design overhaul means there are some subtle changes to the layout and design of things. This includes a little extra spacing between folders and filers in explorer.

If you’re not a fan though, you can go back to the Windows 10 style by clicking view, then selecting “compact view” from the drop-down menu.

Shake to minimize

If you’ve got too many windows open then this setting can help you focus or get rid of distractions.

This setting has been in Windows for a while, it’s off by default in Windows 11 but easy to turn on.

Hit the Windows key and type “Multitasking” from there you’ll find a winder where there’s an option for “title bar window shake”. Turn that on. Then when you grab a window by the top and shake it Windows 11 will minimize everything else. When you’re done, you can repeat the shaking process and you’ll bring all the other windows back into view.

Go easy on your eyes

Find you have trouble sleeping after a long day at your PC? No problem, Windows 11 has a “night light” mode which takes out some of the harshness from your screen and eases pressure on your eyes. Click the Windows key and search “Night light” then you can apply it straight away or set a time where you’d prefer it comes on.

Enable dark mode

It’s possible to change a number of different settings in Windows 11 including turning transparency on and off, adjusting colors and even selecting dark mode across all apps.

To do so, right-click the desktop and click personalize, then click colors. From there you can then tweak a number of settings including switching to dark mode.

Easy access settings

Did you know there’s a faster way to get to some of the essential settings and buttons – even simple things like turning your machine off.

Right-click on the start button and you’ll find a menu pops up with access to task managers, settings, search, power options and more. Much easier than digging through multiple menus.

How to put your start menu back on the left

With Windows 11 Microsoft has moved the start menu to the centre of the screen. This is to make it more naturally usable, but if you’re not a fan of change don’t worry because it’s easy to move it back to the left.

To do so follow these steps:

  1. Click the Windows key on your keyboard to start searching and type “taskbar settings”
  2. From the menu that pops up, scroll to the bottom and click “taskbar behavior”
  3. Then click the taskbar align dropdown menu and select “left”.

Easy.

Not a fan of Windows 11’s new right-click context menu? Here’s how to revert it.

Instead of showing options like Display Settings, Personalize, or any number of custom context menu entries (such as “edit with Notepad++” for text files), it shows only a few “common” ones. These include Open, Open with, Copy as path, Properties, and standard cut, copy, and paste controls. The “advanced” context menu options are still present but only accessible through the new “Show more options” button.

For those of us that use custom apps like Notepad++ and menus like Display settings frequently, that button is an unnecessary inconvenience. For the average user, though, this change might be a boon. If you don’t need all those extra options, why have them?

Fortunately, if you’re in the former camp, all is not lost. For the time being, you can restore the old context menu through a small registry change.

A quick note: when we say restore, we mean it. By following the steps below, you will lose the fancy rounded corners of Windows 11’s context menu, as well as its updated icons. At least, until you undo the changes, which we’ll explain later.

 

  • The first step is, of course, to open Windows 11’s Registry Editor. The easiest way to do this is to boot Windows’ “Run” menu by pressing the Windows key and R together, then typing regedit into the dialogue box that pops up. Click OK.
  • Once the Editor is open, you’ll see a file tree on the left side of the interface. Navigate through it like so: HKEY_CURRENT_USER > SOFTWARE > Classes > CLSID.
  • With the CLSID folder open and selected, right-click any empty space on the right side of the interface and select New > Key with the name {86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}.
  • Using the same method as before, create a key under your newly-created folder and name it InprocServer32.
  • With InprocServer32 selected, check that the value of the (Default) key on the right is “(value not set).” If it isn’t, double-click the key, ensure its value is blank and hit OK.
  • Close Registry Editor and reboot your system.

 

 

Windows 11 release date: October 5th 2021

With each new release build of Windows 11, everything can change, so even though some of the features below may work, they may not work when released.

Switch back to the Windows 10 ‘Classic’ Start Menu

To modify this registry value, you would create a DWORD 32-bit value named ‘Start_ShowClassicMode’ under the following path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\ "Start_ShowClassicMode"

Possible DWORD 32-bit settings for the Start_ShowClassicMode value are:

Microsoft recently updated the latest preview build as of 14th July 2021 and removed the registry hack to alter the start menu. It won’t be long before a new change will take place.

0 = Use the new Windows 11 Start Menu
1 = Enable Windows 10 ‘Classic’ Start Menu

 

Windows 11 taskbar size

Windows 11 allows you to change the height and size of the icons on the taskbar via a Registry value named “TaskbarSi.”

To modify this registry value, you would create a DWORD 32-bit value named ‘TaskbarSi’ under the following path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\ "TaskbarSi"

Possible DWORD 32-bit settings for the TaskbarSi value are:

0 = Small
1 = Medium
2 = Large

 

Widgets icon visibility on the taskbar

To control whether the Widgets button is visible on the taskbar, Microsoft introduced a new ‘TaskbarDa’ Registry value.

To modify this registry value, you would create a DWORD 32-bit value named ‘TaskbarDa’ under the following path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\ "TaskbarDa"

Possible DWORD 32-bit settings for the TaskbarDa value are:

0 = Hidden
1 = Visible

 

Windows 11 taskbar alignment

Windows 11 now allows you to center or left align the Start button and pinned taskbar programs on the taskbar.

To control the alignment of the Windows 11 taskbar, Microsoft introduced a new ‘TaskbarAl ‘ Registry value.

To modify this registry value, you would create a DWORD 32-bit value named ‘TaskbarAl’ under the following path:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\ "TaskbarAl"

Possible DWORD 32-bit settings for the TaskbarAl value are:

0 = Left
1 = Center

 

Enable or disable the new Windows 11 Snap Assist flyout

In Windows 11, you can now access four predefined Windows snap layouts by hovering your mouse cursor over the maximize button in an open window, as shown below.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced\ "EnableSnapAssistFlyout"

Possible DWORD 32-bit settings for the EnableSnapAssistFlyout value are:

0 = Disable
1 = Enable

You need to restart Windows 11 or the Windows Explorer process for changes to this setting to take effect.

 

Install Windows 11 on ANYTHING!