Microsoft Explains Windows 11 Changes

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has explained the thinking behind some of the main changes in Windows 11. It's also tweaked a notification feature that could have been unnecessarily annoying.

According to Microsoft it used a "new approach" in designing Windows 11. It suggests that the "new approach" was to give users what they wanted.

The move to "human-centered design practices" involved giving users several pieces of paper marked with different operating system features and asking them to arrange them in order of importance.

In an amazing coincidence, Microsoft says "the research matched up perfectly with the feature redesigns we envisioned for Windows 11." (Source:

Central Location 'More Consistent'

The gist of the process is that Microsoft has now realized that people don't turn on a computer to use Windows, but rather to carry out a task such as editing a document, opening a website or playing a streaming video. As a result they want Windows to make this happen "and then get out of the way."

These revolutionary findings are, according to Microsoft, the basis for moving the Start menu to the middle of the bottom of the screen, rather than the left-hand side. The logic is partly that this is more familiar to smartphone users and partly to make the placement more consistent across different types of device and screen set-ups.

It's also why Microsoft has redesigned the Settings menu to have a single list of categories that appears on every screen, with the individual and advanced settings only appearing when needed.

Endless Flashing Ditched

Meanwhile the latest test build of Windows 11 has revealed a change to the initial design, likely due to test feedback. It involves the way Windows indicates to the user that a particular application needs attention.

Originally the icon in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen would flash repeatedly until the user went into the application and dealt with the issue. To Microsoft's apparent surprise this turned out to be distracting.

Instead the icon will now briefly flash, then display a pale pink background behind the icon and a small red horizontal line beneath. (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Does Microsoft's explanation make sense to you? Are you encouraged by the apparent move to taking more notice of user feedback? Is it better to redesign software to make it simpler to use or does it just cause more confusion to people already used to the existing navigation?

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anton_van_wamelen_3476's picture

We think thet people are not ready for this SCIFI W911...
Reading all those people complaining that their machines are not up to it
Microsoft hasked them to run the PC Health check, first you could not find anywhere and suddenly you could, reading their CPU was not supported...
Is Microsoft running to its latest disaster or what?
tell me folks
greetings from flanders

nospam_5346's picture

I think what would serve the most Windows users is choice.

I don’t care if they move the taskbar to the middle as long as I can move it back.

I don’t care if they add new “features” based on a list a few, comparatively, users arrange as long as I can completely disable them if I want.

I don’t care if they make certain things the default as long as can change them to something else.

Choice. Because everyone wants to be able to customize their own device to what they use and what makes it easier to do that.

I can’t think of any new “feature” they’ve introduced since Windows 7 and even then it was just 2 things.

They also tend to not tell the truth. I remember when the said the start menu was simply impossible to do any longer and the Ivo wrote Classic Shell bringing it back.

I, for one, see no reason to learn new ways to do the same thing. And, it always seems that with each iteration, what use to take one click takes two and then three and then four.

I also wish they get away from organizing things in categories. How am I supposed to know what category someone at Microsoft thinks what I want to do falls in? Again, choice. Have your categories, but also the old lists.

daniel k_8060's picture

This is Exactly what I believe most people think.
Could you please apply to Microsoft to become the CEO?

It would be a welcome relief to have some common sense.
Thanks for your post.

rohnski's picture

I agree with everything you said. Make their changes, but let us pick the way we work best. Instead they make changes AND remove user control settings. The worst of both worlds.
I like Daniel K's suggestion.
I've been using Windows for 30 years.
I hate that MS is (dis)"improving" Windows (and Office) to dumb them down so the work better on a 5" phone when I'm using a 4K 40"+ monitor on my i7 desktop.
Instead of applying all of these changes to every installation, either autodetect the operating environment or at the very least give us a a manual setting we can select: Phone vs tablet vs desktop. Windows vs Mac vs Android etc.
Then apply customization s for the environment: phat buttons for touch screens, vs smaller buttons or links for a desktop etc.
I'd like to meet the L.G.M. (Little Green Men) they hire to do this "human-centered design practices" testing. Or are they using B.E.M.'s this time, Bug Eyed Monsters?

buzzallnight's picture

M$ as a company needs to see a shrink,
they are ashamed of being themselves
and want to be something else
anything else
One of the choices needs to be
on everything including the whole user interface
Win 7 mode should be a choice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
M$ seems to have the attitude
F*ck our customers
we want news ones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

olds97_lss's picture

This guy gets it! 100%

I still use Classic Shell just to have some of the layout how it was in the past. I still use the "quick launch" bar(s) on every PC I own at home and use at work. Already not looking forward to losing that too!

DLStoehner's picture

I am still of the opinion that Microsoft needs to "fix" Internet Explorer rather than give an "Edge." Windows 11... looks like most of my computers and laptops will have to run Windows 10 until it is no longer supported. Then it will be several years before the Drivers for printers and scanners will catch up with Windows 11. Yuck! Who needs the pain in the a???

kitekrazy's picture

said no developer ever

dbrumley3077's picture

It seems like it took Microsoft a very, very, long time to figure this out, but it is encouraging to hear the good news about the new direction in Windows design. I cannot begin to tell you how much time and venting I've wasted because I could not do something that I thought would be straight forward but wound up spending a half hour or more, getting more and more frustrated, until I was yelling at my screen. Of course, by then, I had forgotten all about whatever it was I had been doing, and just shut everything down.
This is not the way good computing skills are developed; it made me think seriously about a Mac, but all the software that I own and am familiar with works only on Windows. I still use Windows 7 on two older systems, and it seems to work just fine on them for the limited uses I require. But to use my more powerful computers, I have to use Windows 10, and soon, I suppose, Windows 11. It's not like I have a choice; all the choices reside with Microsoft. So, I guess, we shall see if this all comes to pass, or fades away. BTW, I agree with everything that "nospam 5346" posted above.

Richard Robinson's picture

My understanding of the insistence on modern hardware by MS for Win 11 is that they can verify licenses for their software using the TPM system and nothing to do with their "security concerns" or securing anybody. I imagine all future MS products will implement this giving them a billion or so Chinese clients as they covert to monthly payments. Its a five year(or more)business plan. MS forced me back to Word 2003 afer a HDD crash(now converting to Libre) and now stuck on win 10 until I cross to Linnux.

fconte_11857's picture

I find search in Windows 10 to be annoying! It's always eager to launch Microsoft Edge.