Windows 11

My Windows 11 List Of Demands

Windows 11 is a nice visual refresh to the Windows line of Operating Systems. However, there has been a simplifying and removal of many useful functions; usually these are just hidden behind more clicks, which leaves are more frustrating experience when we’ve become used to a certain way of doing things.

In no particular order, here’s the bug bears I’ve found so far in using Windows 11, and if I’ve found a fix/workaround/setting change:

Start button Location Moved to Middle

The Start Button is in the centre of the screen by default – breaking what we’ve been doing constantly since Windows 95. This change seems unnecessary and even on my 44″ Ultrawide monitor, I’d rather it in the bottom left. I tried leaving it in the middle but gave up after a week.

You can change this back to the left side by:
Click ‘Start’ > ‘Settings’ (if you don’t see it, type it)
Click ‘Personalisation’ > Taskbar (not Start, where you’d expect it!)
Click ‘Taskbar behaviours’ to expand it.
Under Taskbar alignment, change the dropdown from ‘Center’ to ‘Left’

Task Manager missing from right click on taskbar

Task Manager has grown into a much more useful tool since Windows 10, beyond just killing off programs; it provides a bunch more visibility into what your computer is actually doing. For some reason, being able to access it via a right click on the taskbar has been removed.

Ctrl + Shift + Esc will still bring up Task Manager, but it’s one of the more awkward key combos. Right clicking on the Start button itself will bring up a very useful menu (as it does on Windows 10), with one of the options still brining up Task Manager.

The new way I’ll probably try to teach myself to bring up Task Manager is, Winkey + X > T.

‘Edit’ option missing from File Explorer right click (and others)

If you have a look at the right click menu against a file in File Explorer, it will be a much shorter list than what you’re used to. Several common functions (cut, copy, rename, share, delete) are icons at the top, but everything else that didn’t make the ‘cut’ is in the ‘Show more options’ menu, which takes you back to the classic looking right click menu.

As Nathan McNulty pointed out, this can be restored to the old ways via a reg setting (run in PowerShell):

New-Item -Path "HKCU:\Software\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32" -Value "" -Force

or via Command Prompt:

reg.exe add "HKCU\Software\Classes\CLSID\{86ca1aa0-34aa-4e8b-a509-50c905bae2a2}\InprocServer32" /f /ve

File Explorer Command Bar Simplified

File Explorer had a bunch of useful options in the top Command Bar. They’ve mostly been removed (seeing a trend here?) to simplify and show only a few options. The idea of tabbed menus is completely gone. Some options like ‘Map network drive’ are in an ellipsis menu

PowerShell:

New-Item -Path "HKCU:\Software\Classes\CLSID\{d93ed569-3b3e-4bff-8355-3c44f6a52bb5}\InprocServer32" -Value "" -Force 

Command Prompt:

reg.exe add "HKCU\Software\Classes\CLSID\{d93ed569-3b3e-4bff-8355-3c44f6a52bb5}\InprocServer32" /f /ve

Show all icons in Notification Area

Those little icons in the bottom right side of the taskbar – that’s the notification area. I like seeing them all, rather than having them hidden in a submenu. Windows 10 has an option to ‘Always show all icons in the notification area’. In Windows 11, this option isn’t available. I did learn that rather than mucking around with settings, you can just drag an icon out of the menu and pop them straight onto the notification area – but you shouldn’t have to do this for each icon.

Programs in Task Bar don’t expand out

In Windows 10, I’m used to having a reasonable sized bar for each program I have open. It shows the Icon and a bit of text to help identify what the program is (or in the case of Microsft Edge, which profile/web page for those untabbed). It’s great, it uses up all that task bar space. The second monitor does have a consolidated view, but I drive which program I want by clicking in the primary task bar.

Windows 11’s design is to remove that, and have all taskbar programs just show the icon. For pinned programs, you’ll need to look for a blue line/dot below the icon, to indicate a window is open. Multiple windows of File Explorer open? They’re consolidated into the one icon, you’ll need to hover over that and pick the one you want.

This one isn’t possible to restore natively, and there’s a lot of feedback about people wanting it.

Widgets

Widgets are back again (I actually liked them in Vista) except this time, Widgets is a popout menu triggered by a button in the Task Bar (although checking an Insider’s build, this looks like it will change to a weather button in the bottom left). The Widgets popout menu then contains a bunch of sections around news, weather, stocks, eSports, Traffic and so on.

It’s abilit to remember what I actually like or don’t like seems non existent. I’ve removed ‘NBA’ that many times – and yes, I am signing into Widgets with the same account, and on Windows 10 the News and Interests button works the same way). It’s a very US centric service – and only has configuration around 3 Australian Cities (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne). There’s a web search function, which of course only uses Bing. Although I like seeing the temperature, if you want to turn off Widgets:

Click ‘Start’ > ‘Settings’ (if you don’t see it, type it)
Click ‘Personalisation’ > Taskbar
Under ‘Taskbar items’ turn the switch ‘off’ for Widgets.


I’m sure there are a bunch of other frustrations in the simplification of Windows 11, as I’m sure the idea is that there’s too many buttons and options for a ‘regular’ user, so the idea is to clean it all up. The problem is that for many people used to these options, it feels like a step back.

Maybe the approach Microsoft should take is to have Windows 11 ‘Basic Mode’ and ‘Advanced Mode’ to try and keep everyone happy?

There are some good features in Windows 11 too, such as Snap Layouts / Snap Groups, where you can pick the size of the window to fill in your sceen – handy on an ultrawide, where you want to move a window to the right third of the screen. There’s also the whole Android app support that’s coming…

Anyway, it’s early days for Windows 11 – and although there’s plenty of criticism from Insiders on recommendations that were not taken up, I expect we’ll see the continual improvement and evolution of the platform; mostly for the better ( News and Interests is one of the reasons I say ‘mostly’ ).