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The problem with Windows 11, as I see it...


Aaron44126
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I've been wanting to write this for a while.  There are a lot of opinions on Windows 11 — many people think it is fine, and many people think there are issues.  I'm in the latter camp and I want to get into the specifics.  I wanted to write a more cohesive article that built up to something, but didn't have much luck with that, so I'm basically going to just hop down the list of issues that I have and address them one at a time.  Some of them are related and I tried to group those together.

 

On the whole, I do recognize that there are some real valuable technical improvements in Windows 11.  And, I do recognize that people who use it probably won't have many issues.  It's a solid OS in terms of performance and stability.  And, I'm not generally one to shy away from upgrades.  I was an early adopter of each version of Windows going back to XP.  My issues here mostly stem from the influence of, I guess, the marketing people, project managers, and penny pinchers who had their hands in this project.  Many of the issues that I will bring up have their origins in Windows 10 and have just gotten worse with Windows 11, so to some degree it is not Windows 11 itself that I have an issue with, but rather the "trajectory" that things are going with Windows and fear that if this is accepted as normal, it will only get worse.

 

Launch bugs

 

Let's start with the obvious.

 

First impressions matter.  The OS is the most important piece of software on a PC.  One would expect any upgrade to be thoroughly tested before shipping.

 

One month after release, Windows 11 hit an issue where certain apps would not launch.  This was because of digital certificate that expired on November 1.  I don't understand how this was not caught and corrected ahead of time.  And, best I can tell, Microsoft did not provide any information on this issue to the public until November 4.

 

Backing up to shortly before launch.  Microsoft published an update that caused the desktop and Start Menu to completely lock up.  This update didn't come down through Windows Update... it was, rather, an update to a JSON/text file that is pulled down by the "Iris" ads/recommendation service.  Microsoft had to publish information on how to disable this service as a workaround.  Now, one could claim that the pre-launch period is when such bugs should be detected and sorted out, so this one "doesn't count".  I would instead argue that such a bug that allows the whole OS to grind to a halt does not speak well to the architecture that this whole thing is built on top of.

 

Then there was the whole thing with AMD CPU performance taking a notable hit on Windows 11 that Microsoft scrambled to fix in the first few weeks.

 

Launch bugs aren't a new thing for Windows with Windows 11.  I have a whole collection of bugs that I ran into for Windows 10.  I feel that with prior releases, Microsoft at least had a quality standard that a release would have to hit before they would ship it.  That seems to have been relaxed quite a bit starting with Windows 10.  In many cases, issues in the spoiler block here were brought up by Windows "Insiders" and posted in Feedback Hub and yet the OS was still allowed to ship with the bug present.  All this to say, I don't feel that the QC around Windows releases is that great lately, and they've pushing to ship stuff on a deadline rather than "when it is finished".

 

Spoiler

Windows 10 launch bugs

  • Windows 10, original release (version 1507) could not show more than 512 shortcuts in the Start Menu.  If you had more shortcuts than that, then there would be some apps that you could not search for or could not pin to Start.  This was never fixed (unless you upgraded to a later build).  I noticed it within an hour or two of upgrading to Windows 10.  (You can achieve 512 shortcuts easily without having 512 distinct apps installed, as many apps install multiple shortcuts for help pages, supporting tools, an uninstaller, etc.)
  • With Windows 10, version 1607 ("Anniversary Update"), I personally ran into two.  The system could lock up shortly after boot if you had multiple drives installed and were using Microsoft's AHCI driver (I ran into this one right away), and the system would BSOD and then leave you in an "unable to boot" state if both BitLocker and Hyper-V were enabled (a coworker hit this one right away).  Oh, and I didn't run into this one, but apparently it would BSOD if you connected a Kindle to the system via USB.
  • Windows 10, version 1709 ("Fall Creators Update") has some issue that would break the taskbar and Start Menu if you had Windows Hello set up and Microsoft SQL Server installed.  I ended up doing a whole new Windows install because of this.  (I was traveling around the time of this release and missed the 10-day window to roll back to version 1703.
  • Windows 10, version 1803 had an issue that would cause my laptop screen to not wake up after powering off, either because the idle timeout expired or because I shut the laptop screen.  (I have the system set not to sleep or anything if the lid is shut.)  This was likely an issue between Windows and my older Intel integrated GPU driver.  This was fixed in an update a bit later (by an update from Microsoft, not Intel).
  • Windows 10, version 1809 had bug that I actually did not run into, but ended up being rather famous, that involved people losing personal files.  They actually pulled the release because of this issue.  This one was particularly egregious because the issue had been reported by testers in Feedback Hub prior to the release, and Microsoft actually shipped this version of Windows 10 out to consumers without running it through their "Release Preview" testing ring first, as had been the norm up until this point.
  • (Nothing to report for 1903, 1909, or 2004; but I ended up waiting a nice long time to install 1903 and 1909, and skipped 2004 altogether.)
  • Windows 10, version 20H2 had an issue that broke Alt+Tab if you turned off the new option to show separate Microsoft Edge tabs in Alt+Tab.  This caused a quick Alt+Tab press to sometimes hop to the third window in the list instead of the second one.  This one broke my confidence in Microsoft to turn around fixes to regressions quickly, or to take power user issues seriously.  The previous bugs that I have mentioned here were all fixed within the first few days or weeks after release; however, this bug was acknowledged by Microsoft in September (before 20H2 was even released), but not fixed until an "optional" update in late January.  It was brushed off as being "not important enough to fix" even though it really messed up the user experience for users who rely on Alt+Tab to quickly switch between two applications.

 

Preview period (or lack thereof)

 

Related to the previous...  Previous Windows releases had at least ten months of some sort of beta period.  Also, Windows would hit RTM but still not be available to the public for another three months, giving time for final polish and bugfixes and also for application developers to make sure that everything was in order for their products to work on the new OS.

 

The first Windows 11 build was made available in late June 2021, and Windows 11 was released in October 2021.  A preview/beta period of just three months.  That's not enough time for feedback to be collected and meaningfully addressed.  As an example, Windows 11 got a bit of a trashing in the press because of regressions to the Taskbar, and they're only just now starting to address that (with rather small improvements so far).  It feels like they've just turned everyone who purchased a new PC this past holiday season into a beta tester.

 

(One could argue that Windows 11 was in preview for longer than three months, because some Windows 11 features like DirectStorage were present in Windows 10 Insider builds that dropped between Windows 10, version 2004 and the Windows 11 reveal.  I would say, however, that all of the UI/"experience" parts of Windows 11 were held until the announcement and that's the part that needed a feedback period the most.)

 

Update 2022-05-11:  It seems that monthly patches aren't getting enough internal scrutiny as well.  The May 2022 patch caused some major issues with a number of apps.

 

Failure to deliver on new features

 

So, what does your regular old user get from upgrading to Windows 11, anyway?  Other than the visual refresh / "shiny fresh coat of paint"?

 

Perhaps the headline feature when Windows 11 was announced is the ability to run Android apps on Windows, through a partnership between Microsoft and Amazon AppStore.  Well, that feature didn't make launch and was delayed, and is currently available only in a limited preview form.

 

Universal mute button?  Didn't make release.  (I don't think it's available yet either, outside of preview.)  I do think this would be useful if conference apps other than Microsoft Teams adopt it.  I'd love to be able to unmute myself while I don't have the conference window in front.

 

So, what are we left with?  DirectStorage was hyped up for games, but it is coming to Windows 10 as well.  WSLg (ability to run Linux GUI apps with 3D and GPU compute support) is a really neat feature but won't be used by very many people.  Aside from Snap Layouts, deeper Teams integration (only useful for Teams users), and the half-baked "widgets" feature, I'm drawing a blank on what Windows 11 actually brings to the table.

 

Well, there is Intel Thread Director for new Alder Lake CPUs.  That is supported on Windows 11 only.  But I have a feeling that will be changing sooner or later (probably sooner).

 

System requirements

 

Imagine taking a reasonably high-spec PC from 1995 that shipped with Windows 95, and trying to run Windows Vista on it.  It would be a performance disaster.  PC hardware was improving at very quick pace back then and software was changing to take advantage of it.

 

Now imagine taking a reasonably high-spec PC from 2010 that shipped with Windows 7, and trying to run Windows 10, version 21H2 on it.  ...It would be fine.  You would expect the current version of Windows 10 to perform at least as well as Windows 7 did on that hardware.

 

In both of these cases, we're looking at an 11-year difference between when the hypothetical PC was released and when the OS upgrade that I suggested that we try was released.

 

The PC ecosystem has flattened out over the last several years.  Particular pieces of software (games and graphics or compute-intensive workloads) will certainly benefit from a hardware uplift, but the baseline for a web browser and basic office software to work well has not really changed in over ten years.  This means that a quality PC can last a long time, and that you can expect to continue running the current version of Windows on a PC that is getting old enough to be a teenager.

 

So, when Microsoft has basically left Windows hardware requirements alone since Windows Vista was released, why are they now hiking the requirements for Windows 11?

 

...All this means that pretty much no PC released before mid-2018 meets the official Windows 11 hardware requirements.  At the time of Windows 11's release, they were drawing the line at supporting only the past three years of hardware.  That's worse than even Apple, which supports their systems with OS updates for around eight years.  Microsoft went from looking better by supporting upgrades "forever" to suddenly looking way worse.

 

The new requirements that could be troublesome for users of older PCs are basically:

  • CPU — 8th-gen Intel CPU ("Coffee Lake") or later is required, or an AMD CPU of roughly equivalent age
  • TPM 2.0 is now required
  • UEFI Secure Boot is now required

The CPU requirement is the big one.  If you meet the CPU requirement, then the latter two can most likely be addressed by toggling appropriate settings in the BIOS setup if there is an issue.

 

Microsoft has struggled to explain these requirements.  In truth, they are not actually requirements; Windows 11 actually works fine on older hardware.  You might have to jump through some hoops to get it to install, but that is only because of artificial install-time blocks that Microsoft has put in place.  Once you have Windows 11 up and running, there is no hint that you're running on unsupported hardware.  (Well, they're just now getting around to adding a little bit of a nag to Settings.)  It works with older CPUs.  It works with legacy boot.  It works without a TPM.  I have not heard a single story of hardware that worked with Windows 10 failing to work just as well with Windows 11.

 

So, Microsoft's explanation is that the requirements hike is improved security, not improved performance.  And I certainly understand the importance of security.  However, I don't think that this argument really holds up with the requirements level that they have set.  They could have started out by requiring TPM 1.2.  Windows 10 already supports all of the security features that they mention in the article — most or all of them are also available on systems older than 2018.  Some, like VBS memory integrity, are available but disabled by default on both Windows 10 and Windows 11.

 

And nevermind if you're more interested in gaming, and security is less of a concern.  A nice gaming system purchased in early 2018 with a Kaby Lake CPU is now destined for the landfill at the end of 2025, unless you want to run it without any security updates at all, jump through hoops to run Windows 11 unsupported, or maybe switch to Linux.

 

In any case, the fact is that upgrading an "unsupported" system from Windows 10 to Windows 11 will not make it less secure than it was on Windows 10.  Microsoft should allow end users to make that choice, so that they can make use of other features in Windows 11 (...such that they are...) and continue their system's lifecycle past 2025 if they so choose.

 

Microsoft also talked up the benefits of a system with all "DCH" drivers and put this interesting tidbit in one of their articles explaining the reason for the system requirements hike:

 

Reliability: Devices that do not meet the minimum system requirements had 52% more kernel mode crashes. Devices that do meet the minimum system requirements had a 99.8% crash free experience.

 

...Crunching those numbers, I guess that means that devices that do not meet the minimum system requirements had a 99.7% crash free experience.  Yep.  Definitely worth all of this rigmarole.

 

This is speculative, but I have to wonder how much this was motivated by Microsoft just being fed up with how slow PC sales are these days, and trying to do something to drive them up.  They've basically forced all PC users to purchase a new PC before the end of 2025 if they have had not purchased one within the past three years.  It is, quite frankly, badly handled and gross.

 

How I would suggest that they address this instead is easy.  Have separate "hard floor" and "soft floor" requirements.  (They did have this when Windows 11 was first announced, but that documentation quickly disappeared.)  The "hard floor" should be the bare minimum config that Windows 11 needs to work.  Put the CPU limit, TPM 2.0 and UEFI secure boot in the soft floor category.  Don't offer the Windows 11 upgrade automatically to PCs that fail to meet the soft floor requirements, but don't put any roadblocks in the way of people who want to upgrade anyway other than a one-time "Proceed at your own risk, your experience may not be optimal" warning.

 

(Update 2022-02-17: @Papusan points out that newer updates seem to be checking for a TPM and failing if it is not present.  This also seems to be an "artificial" limitation.)

 

Feature stability (or lack thereof)

 

Before Windows 10, with only a few exceptions, Microsoft bent over backwards to not change anything from a user experience perspective after a version of Windows launched.  Bugfixes only.  There are a lot of good reasons for this.  Changes to Windows behavior brings the risk that programs that rely on that behavior will break.  In the workplace, users are trained on a certain version of Windows to do their job and it makes sense to expect that nothing will change with regards to how things work because that could risk confusion (for less technically-inclined individuals in particular).  Changes were reserved for actual new Windows releases, and because of Windows's typically long support lifecycle, upgrades to new releases could be carefully planned out and the schedule set not by Microsoft but by whoever manages the systems.

 

Windows 10 broke this somewhat, moving to a quicker release cycle that settled into a new release every six months.  These "feature updates" could bring user experience changes.  Each Windows 10 release was only supported for 18 months, so users were expected to stay current.  (Businesses got a bit of a break with fall releases of Enterprise and Education edition being supported for 30 months.  Still a far cry from the 10 years of support for previous Windows releases.)  Microsoft did, however, shy away from making user interface/experience changes to Windows 10 except for when feature upgrades dropped.  You would not expect UI changes in the regular monthly cumulative update patches.

 

...Well, that was true until mid-2020 when Microsoft added the "News and Interests" widget to everyone's Windows 10 taskbar.  (This was a monetization push disguised as a "convenient feature", but I'll get to that later on.)

 

With Windows 11, Microsoft has decided that a new release every six months is too quick and they are looking at yearly "feature upgrades".  That would mean that the next one is due this fall, in October or November of 2022.  However, Microsoft has signaled that they intend to make UI changes to Windows 11 before then.  Taskbar "improvements" are landing this month.  (Update 2/17/22: It's now clear that they plan to make UI changes "whenever".)

 

So, I have two major issues with the fact that they now feel free to roll out feature upgrades or UI changes as part of the regular monthly patching process.  First off, it means that you never know when they are going to throw a change at you.  You can't defer such an "upgrade" without also deferring security updates.  And second, it basically removes any block from Microsoft shipping stuff in an unfinished state because they can always just come back and fix it up later.

 

Lack of control / Microsoft's desperation to get users on Edge

 

"You'll do it our way and you'll like it."

 

Microsoft really wants you to use Microsoft Edge.

 

Now, I was really excited in late 2018 when Microsoft announced that they were switching to the Chromium engine for Edge.  I was a Chrome user, because it was basically the best browser from a technical standpoint, but I was getting apprehensive about Google's data collection practices and I was looking to get off.  So, I was happy to try Chromium-Edge and I switched over as soon as beta builds dropped in April 2019.  And I was a happy Edge user for a couple of years there, but I started having reservations around the time of Windows 11's announcement.

 

Now, first off, there are some cool things about Microsoft and Google working together on Chromium.  For one, Microsoft has made many advancements in the area of accessibility and contributed these upstream, so that Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers can benefit as well.  They've also brought their Windows expertise to the table and made improvements in the way of power efficiency and smooth scrolling that have also made their way out to other Chromium-based browsers.

 

But as for what is making me nervous...  For one thing, Microsoft increasing the hoops that you have to jump through to use a browser other than Edge.  Instead of having a system wide "default browser" setting, they made it so that you have to go change the default app for every different protocol and file type that a browser can handle.  (That is now rolling back, after public pressure.)  Also, if you try to use Edge to go and download Chrome, in-browser popups appear asking you to consider sticking with Edge.  If upgrading from Windows 10 to Windows 11, if you don't pay attention to the OOBE prompts, you may end up with Edge set as your default browser even if it was not before.

 

Also, Microsoft is ignoring the default browser setting and firing up Edge at pretty much any opportunity that they can get away with in the Windows shell.  If you search for something from the Start Menu, get a web link result, and click that, it will open with Edge regardless of your default browser setting (and search results come back in Bing, to boot, which basically no one wants to use).  If you click a news headline or something from one of the "widgets", it will also open the link up in Edge.

 

This open-everything-in-Edge behavior was worked around by the creator of Edge Deflector, who made a simple application that just redirected these requests to your default browser.  Microsoft allowed this for a time, but when major browser vendors started thinking about utilizing the same technique to get around Microsoft's "make setting the default browser difficult" issue, Microsoft cracked down and Edge Deflector doesn't work anymore.

 

(I did get off of Edge.  I had taken a look at Brave, but at least at the time they didn't offer good synchronization with an iOS browser, so it was a no-go for me.  I found that Firefox has grown up a lot since last I tried it as my main browser, and I am now happily using Firefox ESR.  And I kind of like supporting a world where there are browser engines other than just Chromium.)

 

As for why Microsoft wants you on Edge, keep reading...

 

Windows as a monetization platform

 

Microsoft is trying to find ways to get more monetary value out of Windows users than just the license fee that they collect.  While I am happy to pay for a quality piece of software, and I don't even mind if "telemetry" goes back to the creator of said software if it is used to improve the product, I do have to draw the line at collecting data on me just to make money or other compromises being made to the OS just in order to shove a few pennies Microsoft's way.

 

So, we have web results from the Start Menu opening up in Bing on Edge, which obviously delivers advertising revenue to Microsoft.  Also, by pushing users to Edge, they are allowing users to take "advantage" of their "coupon code finder" or "buy now, pay later" eCommerce hooks.  Microsoft may not be charging for or making direct commission off of shopping features like this, but I have to assume that there is data exchange going on that they will be monetizing (or else why would they be implementing this stuff at all?).

 

It's not just Edge, either.  Pre-installed apps and "recommended" apps are tied up in the business of monetizing Windows users.  Also, the "widgets" feature is there as well.  It's an evolution of the "News & Interests" feature that popped up in Windows 10 back in mid-2020.  Most interactions with the various news widgets seem to send you to a MSN page where Microsoft can again collect advertising revenue.  There is no allowance for third-party "widgets" at this time, so it is Microsoft's or nothing.

 

Power user regressions – Start Menu

 

The Start Menu is one of the most important pieces of UI in Windows.  They made a major change in Windows 8 that a lot of people hated.  I didn't hate it.  I set up groups of tiles to allow one-click access to over one hundred applications, organized in a way that made sense to me.  This was also easily pulled off on Windows 10, and even made better when they allowed creating "subfolders" of tiles.

 

Enter Windows 11.  Sure, you can still pin apps to the Start Menu, but you are limited to just three rows (without scrolling).  Subfolders are gone.  Free placement of apps is gone, they have to be laid out in "left-to-right" rows (like iOS).  This is significantly less useful.

 

Power user regressions – Taskbar

 

This article explains it well enough.  The Taskbar is probably the single most important bit of UI in Windows.  Microsoft took away a lot of the customization options.  It can now only live at the bottom of the screen.  You can't drag files onto apps on the Taskbar to open them in that app.  You can't ungroup Taskbar buttons or have it show text next to the buttons.  On a multiple-monitor system, the clock only shows in the Taskbar on the primary monitor.  (Well, it looks like that last one is getting "fixed" this month.)  I know that a lot of people would open Task Manager by right-clicking on the Taskbar, but that option is gone and they'll have to get used to Ctrl+Shift+Esc or right-clicking on the Start Button.

 

Power user regressions – Clock (seconds)

 

I like to see what time it is.  In this new work-from-home world, I like to join meetings promptly and that means I want to know when I have 10-15 seconds before the start time.  Seeing the seconds part of the time can be useful for other reasons.  For example, if I'm working on a program and have some issue, if I can quickly glance at the seconds part of the time when the issue occurs, I know right where to look in Event Viewer or in a log file to see what happened.

 

Windows 10 has a registry value that you can set to show the seconds on the taskbar clock.  Failing that, at least you can click on the clock and see the seconds in the flyout.

 

Microsoft seems dead set on making it impossible to see the "seconds" part of the time in Windows 11.  The taskbar clock registry setting doesn't work anymore.  The clock flyout doesn't show seconds.  They even ship a "Clock" app as part of the OS, and that app does not show you the "seconds" part of the time anywhere.

 

Seems like a crazy oversight to me, but judging by their comments on Feedback Hub, they just don't care.

 

UI issues – Rounded corners on windows

 

After going for completely rectangular windows in Windows 8, they've gone back to rounding them off in Windows 11.

 

I don't mind this.  It looks nice.  But I need the option for rectangular windows.  The reason for me is documenting software.  If I want to grab a screen shot of a window, I can just hit Alt+PrntScrn and paste it somewhere.  No cropping necessary.  Now that the windows are rounded off, when doing this I get bits of whatever is behind the window on all four corners.  So I will need to take care to put it on top of a white background or use third-party software to grab a proper window screenshot with transparency.

 

As far as I can tell, there is no (non-hacky) way to disable rounded corners on windows in Windows 11.  ...But Windows 11 supports rectangular windows.  It's what you get if you don't have a GPU driver installed and run with the "basic" GPU driver.

 

UI issues – Radio buttons

 

This is pretty inconsequential but it just bothers me.  Radio buttons look completely different than the established norm, with the "outer" part of the selected radio button being filled in rather than the "inner" part.  I'm surprised this got through accessibility screening.  Also, radio buttons in Edge still use the old "inner" part filled in style.

 

160482521_Radiobuttons.png.8abd3160ff28fced504d42223e6893a3.png
(Left = Windows 10, right = Windows 11.  Oh, and here is Alt+PrntScrn at work — no issue grabbing a Windows 10 window snapshot, but the Windows 11 one will have dark bits around the corners, especially visible if you're using the light theme here.)

 

Conclusion / recommendations

 

I wanted to like Windows 11.  I was excited when it was announced.  The first actual new release in over six years.  Like I said at the top, I've been an early adopter of each Windows release since XP.  But, after trying it and coming to terms with the reality of what it is...  This release actually seems like a step back in many ways and that's something I'm not used to seeing with Windows.  Even when they take missteps (Windows 8, ahem) there have been enough improvements that I'm able to look past it, but that is not the case here.

 

Windows 11 brings very little to the table and brings with it too many downsides.  It really feels like it was rushed out to boost PC sales for the 2021 holiday season.  Other than DirectStorage and WSLg, the new features that even made it in at release time seem half-baked.  A pair of "epic fail" launch bugs just seal the deal.  No thanks.

 

Quoting Daniel Aleksandersen (author of Edge Deflector), in his article describing the demise of Edge Deflector:

 

Microsoft still charges 200 USD for a Windows license while simultaneously filling the operating system with ads and crapware. Weeks before launch, Windows 11 wouldn’t even show the taskbar when it failed to display an advertisement dialog. Just last week, first-party apps and features of Windows 11 stopped working due to an expired encryption certificate.

 

These aren’t the actions of an attentive company that cares about its product anymore. Microsoft isn’t a good steward of the Windows operating system. They’re prioritizing ads, bundleware, and service subscriptions over their users’ productivity.

 

I feel much the same way.  I'm a .NET developer, and a PC gamer, so I'm not switching to Linux or something.  I just wish Microsoft would get back to just letting Windows be an OS, with productivity as the main focus.  For now, I've switched to Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC and I am holding Windows 11 at bay.

 

"Should I upgrade to Windows 11?"

  • If you think that the stuff that I brought up is no big deal, then go right ahead and upgrade to Windows 11.  At this time, I think that it is solid at a technical level; major bugs have been cleaned up, it is stable and highly compatible with apps that worked on Windows 10.
  • If my post gave you pause, stick with Windows 10 at least for the short-term.  It is still supported through late 2025.
  • If my post resonated and you agree with my concerns, look at Windows 10 LTSC instead.  Unfortunately, that means shelling out some money for an LTSC license, but the LTSC version of Windows neatly avoids some of the concerns that I brought up here.  I'm hoping that will remain true when a Windows 11 LTSC version comes along.
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Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Intel RST, RAID 0)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2180 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Previous

  • Dell Precision 7530, 7510, M4800, M6700
  • Dell Latitude E6520
  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
  • Dell Latitude CPi
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This tells me there are two 'Microsofts'.

 

There's one that pushes great (and might I say, free!) developer tools, programming languages, and frameworks like VS Code, VS2022, C#/.NET (.NET 6 is superb), TypeScript, Azure, WSL, the MSVC STL (only one with best C++20 support), etc.

 

And there's the bean-counting one that justifies adding advertisements and crapware to Windows, pushing for SaaS (while still charging a LOT), changing the UX of Office programs every version, and pushing laggy Electron apps like the XBox store, Microsoft To-Do, Teams, etc.

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I use Windows 7 still (sometimes I use 8). I've found that 10 can get quite buggy, slow, and unstable compared to the older releases of Windows. The latest LTSC seems pretty decent, however Windows 10 and UWP apps are quite ugly compared to 7 and even 8.

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Thinkpad T430 - i7 3630QM, 16GB RAM, Intel HD 4000, 1080p display mod

Elitebook 8770W - i5 3320M (Temporary), 16GB RAM, GTX 980m (broken)

Main PC - Ryzen 7 2700X, 48GB RAM, GTX 970

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Thank you for this very informative article. I hadn't done my homework before trying Windows 11 and one I found the taskbar problem (I like it up the left side of the screen so I can maximise the vertical real estate) I went back to Windows 10 without further exploration and didn't get as far as having Edge and Bing forced down my throat.

Perhaps it would be better if Microsoft keep the Win 11 hardware requirements high because, as 2025 approaches, the outcry over the environmental consequences of lots of perfectly usable Win 10 machines being prematurely consigned to landfill may oblige Microsoft to continue to support Win 10 (bug fixes and blocking security holes) for several more years.

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Nice article, very comprehensive.

You brought up some things, that can be relevant to many. I belong to the "no big deal" group. The only Windows i have skipped since my first computer, is Vista (since version 3.0) I always find ways to adapt and i always find interesting and useful stuff while adapting. On the other hand, i don't try to break my OS, i am fine with it, if everything works, that i use daily. And this the case with Windows 11.

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14 hours ago, Ionising_Radiation said:

This tells me there are two 'Microsofts'.

There's one that pushes great (and might I say, free!) developer tools, programming languages, and frameworks like VS Code, VS2022, C#/.NET (.NET 6 is superb), TypeScript, Azure, WSL, the MSVC STL (only one with best C++20 support), etc..

And there's the bean-counting one that justifies adding advertisements and crapware to Windows, pushing for SaaS (while still charging a LOT), changing the UX of Office programs every version, and pushing laggy Electron apps like the XBox store, Microsoft To-Do, Teams, etc.

I think the "first microsoft" at least partially exists because of a large development community which both needs and develops these tools.

I don't think .NET would be this big if it wasn't developed, and microsoft is interested in .NET being big.
WSL was a necessity IMO. A lot of companies do not allow you to have anything but Windows on your PC, and even in those that do many developers still prefer Windows I think. Before WSL something as basic as SSH had to be done through the likes of putty, for example. If they didn't fix this - a lot of developers who use tools that are not natively supported on Windows would be practically forced to switch to Linux or Mac.
Azure is good, but it's not free :)

Serenity                    -> Dell Precision 7560
Millenium Falcon    -> Dell Precision 5530
Axiom                        -> Lenovo ThinkPad P52 (work)
Moldy Crow             -> Dell XPS 15 9550

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    i9-8950HK CPU
    2x16 GB DDR4 2,666 MHz
    1 TB SSD
    NVIDIA Quadro P2000
    UHD 3840 x 2160
    Ubuntu 20.04 / Windows 10 LTSC

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9 hours ago, John Ratsey said:

Perhaps it would be better if Microsoft keep the Win 11 hardware requirements high because, as 2025 approaches, the outcry over the environmental consequences of lots of perfectly usable Win 10 machines being prematurely consigned to landfill may oblige Microsoft to continue to support Win 10 (bug fixes and blocking security holes) for several more years.

Or good computers would get cheap for people who use Linux, mod 11 to install, or have realized that security updates don't do much and worms which are the real problem would get patches backported.

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@Aaron44126, great write-up! I wish some Win11 PM from microsoft saw your post and did something about all these issues.

Serenity                    -> Dell Precision 7560
Millenium Falcon    -> Dell Precision 5530
Axiom                        -> Lenovo ThinkPad P52 (work)
Moldy Crow             -> Dell XPS 15 9550

Spoiler

Millenium Falcon: Dell Precision 5530
    i9-8950HK CPU
    2x16 GB DDR4 2,666 MHz
    1 TB SSD
    NVIDIA Quadro P2000
    UHD 3840 x 2160
    Ubuntu 20.04 / Windows 10 LTSC

Axiom: Lenovo ThinkPad P52
    i7-8850H
    2x32 GB DDR4
    1 TB SSD
    NVIDIA Quadro P2000
    UHD 3840x2160
    Windows 10 Pro

 

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This may sound rather ignorant, but the only reason I switched to Windows 11 on all of my devices is because of what are in my opinion visual improvements over Windows 10. Until something comes along that changes my mind - I'm not holding my breath - I will always be a fan of the Vista/7 UI. To me, those two OS's were the best looking thus far.

 

I have only been able to tolerate the UI with Windows 8/10. I realize under the hood, certain aspects of performance are inferior with 10/11 when compared to 7. But it is what it is. The OS has to have the support needed to run properly on my devices. So it's just the lesser of two evils at this point for me.

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So, the news today is that Microsoft has published their first major batch of Windows 11 "upgrades" including:

  • Android app support (in preview)
  • Mute & share buttons available from the taskbar
  • Taskbar clock now shows up on secondary monitors
  • Weather on the taskbar
  • Refreshed "Media Player" and "Notepad" applications

Some of these come down through the Microsoft Store, and some come in this month's "optional" Windows Update patch (and they will also be rolled into next month's "required" patch releasing March 8).

 

Microsoft article

Ars Technica — "Microsoft will tweak Windows 11’s UI and features pretty much whenever it wants"

 

So on one hand, great, they are improving the platform.  On the other hand, they are forcing changes on people.  You never know what you're going to get.  I want to be in control of when feature changes happen on my system; patches that "add features" or otherwise change the user experience should be separate from security updates.  That's really the core of a lot of what I feel is wrong about the direction that Microsoft is taking Windows.  Honestly, I'd like to see more reactions from the business community and IT folks supporting big businesses.  They haven't really gotten on Windows 11 yet, but I can't believe that they'd be happy about this direction.

  

On 2/11/2022 at 11:42 PM, Ionising_Radiation said:

This tells me there are two 'Microsofts'

 

Yeah, pretty much...  "Technical" Microsoft is much more interesting than "bean-counting" Microsoft and they clash together sometimes, as we are seeing with Windows here, but sometimes it even happens with the dev stack.  (To their credit, Microsoft did end up reverting their decision described in the article here, after public pressure from the dev community.)

 

On 2/12/2022 at 5:04 AM, John Ratsey said:

Perhaps it would be better if Microsoft keep the Win 11 hardware requirements high because, as 2025 approaches, the outcry over the environmental consequences of lots of perfectly usable Win 10 machines being prematurely consigned to landfill may oblige Microsoft to continue to support Win 10 (bug fixes and blocking security holes) for several more years.

 

Just as soon have them relax the requirements for Windows 11, since as I mentioned, there's no real reason for them to be what they are.  They could keep support for Windows 10 going through the end of 2031 since they will be issuing patches for Windows 10 LTSC anyway...  Not sure if they will really make any changes though.  The main reason the Windows XP support got extended past the originally published end date was because it took them so long to get Vista out, Vista was a pretty big change, and Vista left a pretty negative first impression; that people got really entrenched in XP, in businesses in particular.  They could have a similar situation happening here, in particular depending on the business community's reaction to Windows 11; too early to tell.  (Also there's a real chance that "Windows 12" could be released before Windows 10 support ends, especially if Windows 11 ends up with a broadly negative reputation.)

 

18 hours ago, Keith said:

This may sound rather ignorant, but the only reason I switched to Windows 11 on all of my devices is because of what are in my opinion visual improvements over Windows 10.

 

I won't deny that Windows 11 looks "better" than Windows 10 in general.  That's one of the things that got me excited when I first saw it.  I do like the new snappy animations as well.

 

17 hours ago, ryan said:

Yes windows 11 is flawed but check out workarounds like startisback

 

I'm aware of products like StartIsBack; I actually started using Start11 when it first released in anticipation of a Windows 11 upgrade.  I did not end up doing the upgrade, but I'm keeping Start11 around because I know that it will allow me to keep the Windows 10-style tile Start Menu after I eventually upgrade (once an LTSC version is available).  In any case, this only solves part of what I'm complaining about — Start Menu, and Taskbar to some degree.  And really, I don't want to have to spend time figuring out how to "work around" changes in the platform that I don't like — especially when such changes could be forced down with little warning, at any time.

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Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
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Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Intel RST, RAID 0)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2180 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

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On 2/11/2022 at 9:49 PM, K4sum1 said:

I use Windows 7 still (sometimes I use 8). I've found that 10 can get quite buggy, slow, and unstable compared to the older releases of Windows. The latest LTSC seems pretty decent, however Windows 10 and UWP apps are quite ugly compared to 7 and even 8.

Me, too. I do not plan to stop using Windows 7 for as long as I can acquire drivers that work with my hardware. It is unfortunate that newer versions haven't actually brought measurable improvements and introduced functionality regressions, reduced configurability, less efficient navigation, and performance degradation due to unwarranted amounts of frivolous bundled trash. I no longer use any consumer versions of Windows 10 and ruled out Windows 11 as an acceptable option. I still have W11 installed on my turdbook, but no longer boot into it. I will reclaim the drive space wasted on it the next time I have a reason to power it on. Every system I have is a multi-boot configuration that includes Windows 7 and Linux. For Windows 10 I am using exclusively LTSC 2019 and 2021 (the latter sucks compared to the former) due to the enormous payload of garbage the standard Pro/Enterprise versions carry. (Using a Home version has been totally out of the question since that option was introduced long before W10.)

 

The move to DCH driver crap and the artificial reliance on Micro$lop Store to provide things like NVIDIA and Intel Control Panels is totally unacceptable. They are either stupid or don't care (behavior suggests the latter, but the former is also indicated by the inferiority of the product itself) that their actions are unacceptable to a lot of technically savvy people that would have preferred to remain dedicated Windows users, but will ultimately find themselves seriously entertaining the idea of moving to Linux as an unavoidable necessity as the lesser of two evils. I am already moving that direction, but definitely not because I want to.

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Windows 7 will keep getting ESU updates till October 8, 2024, even normal consumers can get these updates via Simplix: https://forum-oszone-net.translate.goog/thread-257198.html?_x_tr_sch=http&_x_tr_sl=ru&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=nl

 

https://forums.mydigitallife.net/threads/simplix-pack-to-update-live-win7-system-integrate-hotfixes-into-win7-distribution.45005/

 

 

So, people should not worry, security updates and patches for Windows 10 will be available till 2031 and beyond.

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My memory is light on this but I recall to some degree the marketing for Windows 10 "to be the last OS" to be released by Microsoft?

 

I've not heard good things thus far for Windows 11, while I am aware its still "new", just like in games if they want to charge full price then why am I beta testing the product? 

If anything I will probably get Windows 10 LTSC for my remaining systems and continue to make strides in Linux, Im hopeful with the steam deck around the corner it will invigorate more development for games in Linux. I have only been lightly dabbling with Linux, mostly Manjaro since its running Arch and is relatively simplified 

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4 hours ago, Reciever said:

My memory is light on this but I recall to some degree the marketing for Windows 10 "to be the last OS" to be released by Microsoft?

 

They were indeed saying this when Windows 10 was new, planning to just release periodic feature updates and make Windows 10 a sort of ever-improving rolling release.  There was a time when I was expecting them to eventually drop the "Windows 10" name and just start calling it "Windows" since it would be continually refreshed.  Really, it doesn't matter that much what it is called, it is meaningless now and just up to whatever Microsoft's marketing department decides.  Windows 11 is in many ways little more than a slightly larger than normal "feature update" for Windows 10 (...tied in with a system requirements hike).  Incidentally, the version number under the hood — that you see when you open the command prompt, or in a web browser user agent — is still 10.0 as well.

 

I have considered a switch to Linux.  I ran Linux full time for a while (some time ago, 2008-2009), getting very familiar with it and that helped me out a lot with work later on.  It would be fine for a basic system if you just need a web browser, generic office software, file management, etc.  It's gotten a lot easier to run Windows games on Linux in the last few years, as I understand it, but I'm not really up for a potential "battle" every time that I want to get a new game to work, there's other software that I'm pretty stuck to that doesn't necessarily run great on Linux (Quicken, Lightroom, Outlook+Exchange, iCloud for Windows), and it is just plain less hassle to do some types of things in Windows (BitLocker, Storage Spaces).

Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Intel RST, RAID 0)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2180 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

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2 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

Really, it doesn't matter that much what it is called, it is meaningless now and just up to whatever Microsoft's marketing department decides.  Windows 11 is in many ways little more than a slightly larger than normal "feature update" for Windows 10 (...tied in with a system requirements hike).  Incidentally, the version number under the hood — that you see when you open the command prompt, or in a web browser user agent — is still 10.0 as well.

There are some parts of Windows that haven't seen a lick of change since Vista (many obscure context menus, ribbon menus, user folder directory APIs), or even XP/2000 (anything that relies on mmc.exe (Device Manager, Disk Management), many network adaptor IP address/DNS/masking settings, aka these windows below). 

Spoiler

t65b8fj.png07CSW87UwsoIIArA9sMZXft-4.fit_lim.size_400x455.v_1569470730.png

 

2 hours ago, Aaron44126 said:

I have considered a switch to Linux

Linux is honestly a lot more straightforward now, especially with newer laptops (presuming you want to get a 7770 soon). Optimus, once an extreme pain point, works automatically with Ampere and 11th-gen+ CPUs (there are two parts: putting the dGPU to idle when not in use, and PRIME offload/reverse PRIME offload, which allows one GPU to be a framebuffer source and the other to be a framebuffer sink: both are configured by the NVIDIA driver). I use BTRFS + LUKS for disk encryption. Wayland, although still a bit buggy for me, is useable.

Certainly there are still kinks to be worked out, but a stock KDE Plasma 5 desktop pretty closely resembles Windows, and there have been several feature/bugfix updates in the past two years. Valve's adoption of Plasma and Arch as the software platforms for their Steam Deck certainly have increased this momentum. There's even a native NTFS driver on Linux that was just committed to the kernel several months ago. Heck, even the fingerprint reader in the 7560 works with libfprint-tod (to be merged soon, presumably). 

Userspace Linux is picking up speed like never before. 

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21 minutes ago, Ionising_Radiation said:

There are some parts of Windows that haven't seen a lick of change since Vista (many obscure context menus, ribbon menus, user folder directory APIs), or even XP/2000 (anything that relies on mmc.exe (Device Manager, Disk Management), many network adaptor IP address/DNS/masking settings, aka these windows below).

 

Try this.

  • Open up "ODBC data sources (64-bit)" (Start Menu search)
  • Double-click "MS Access Database" then click the "Select..." button.
  • Blast from the past Windows 3.x file browse dialog box.
21 minutes ago, Ionising_Radiation said:

(presuming you want to get a 7770 soon)

 

Yes, yes I do... 😁

 

And thanks for that note about the 7X60 fingerprint reader under Linux.  I knew that they had it working with XPS and 5000-series systems but not 7000-series systems (I seem to recall us digging into this around the 7X60 launch).  Glad that this is finally getting addressed.

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Dell Precision 7770 (personal) • Dell Precision 7560 (work) • Full specs in spoiler block below
Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Intel RST, RAID 0)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2180 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

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For me, Windows 11 insider build 22557 brings a notable plus and minus to the table.

 

Plus: Start Menu now supports "subfolders" or groups of pinned items (which I complained about being a regression from Windows 10 in the OP).

Spoiler

Start-Folders.png

 

Minus: Taking away more user choices.

Similar to Windows 11 Home edition, Windows 11 Pro edition now requires internet connectivity. If you choose to setup device for personal use, MSA will be required for setup as well. You can expect Microsoft Account to be required in subsequent WIP flights.

(...And why would they require MSA, if not for some form of user data collection?)

 

https://blogs.windows.com/windows-insider/2022/02/16/announcing-windows-11-insider-preview-build-22557/

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Info posts (Dell) — Dell Precision key postsDell driver RSS feeds • Dell Fan Management — override fan behavior
Info posts (Windows) — Turbo boost toggle • The problem with Windows 11 • About Windows 10 LTSC

Spoiler

Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
  • 128GB DDR5-3600 (CAMM)
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti 16GB (DGFF)
  • Storage:
    • 2TB system drive: Samsung 980 Pro, PCIe4
    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Intel RST, RAID 0)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2180 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

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  • Dell Inspiron 1720, 5150
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Love how in order to even SEE the download button for the Amazon App store you have to maximize the Microsoft Store. Like seriously, I had to go on Youtube to figure out how to install it cause I was stuck on the "we'll install for you" box.

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Well-written article.  I'd forgotten about the taskbar changes.  No un-grouping, really?  I always prefer un-grouped if there's enough space on the taskbar.  I think it was Windows 98 that added the grouping-when-you-run-out-of-space option?  Or maybe ME/2K/XP.  Either way it's been an option for a long time.

 

I also agree that there isn't really a marquee feature.  Maybe some that normally would be marquee features got shipped in Windows 10 updates?  Universal microphone mute is a good idea, but with the negative tradeoffs of upgrading isn't worth it unless that's a major pain point for you.  The snap layouts is one where it's about time it arrived in Windows, but I have the exact same functionality on my XP laptop with a third-party application.  I suppose that's kind of the point of updates though, integrating things that had to be third-party before.  Taskbar re-ordering and virtual desktops are other categories where I have them on my XP laptop via third-party software, but it's integrated nowadays.

 

IMO, Microsoft only really had high-quality releases and a solid architecture with 7 and 8/8.1.  Of course after having that, it becomes expected.  But Vista was a flaming mess when it arrived, and Microsoft had openly said that they had to relaunch development of it because of the architectural problems.  XP was fine I suppose, as long as you didn't connect it to the Internet before SP2.  ME was regarded as lower-quality than 98.  Prior to that the advances in features were generally great enough that they made up for the rough edges and instability of being built on top of MS-DOS, but it's way easier to get a crash or BSOD on 98 than XP.  So, the criticism of the regression is warranted, but it was only really for a few releases that Microsoft had the quality at release sailing smoothly (and maybe NT 3.1 through 2000 on the business side).

 

Performance/requirements... I agree with what you've written.  Microsoft should have made TPM a requirement for the "Designed for Windows 11" stickers, like they did with DirectX 10 support in GPUs for Windows Vista, not an impediment to upgrading.

 

I also continue to be mystified by why my 2nd-gen i5 with Windows 8.1 is noticeably more responsive than my 8th-gen i7 with Windows 10.  I mean, sure, part of it's on Intel for only having a 5-10% boost each generation.  But what's Windows 10 doing that makes it take so much longer to display a context menu when I right-click the taskbar?  7 was regarded as improving Vista's performance, although I wonder whether it didn't rather keep things flat and take advantage of hardware improvements.  I would have hoped 11 did the same relative to 10, but that doesn't appear to be the focus.

 

On 2/16/2022 at 10:07 AM, Ionising_Radiation said:

Certainly there are still kinks to be worked out, but a stock KDE Plasma 5 desktop pretty closely resembles Windows, and there have been several feature/bugfix updates in the past two years. Valve's adoption of Plasma and Arch as the software platforms for their Steam Deck certainly have increased this momentum. There's even a native NTFS driver on Linux that was just committed to the kernel several months ago. Heck, even the fingerprint reader in the 7560 works with libfprint-tod (to be merged soon, presumably). 

Userspace Linux is picking up speed like never before. 

 

Now that native NTFS driver is interesting news!  On my Windows/Linux dual-boot system, I set up the shared folder as FAT32, since that's what both of them natively supported.  Which is fine 90% of the time, except when it isn't.  Mainly when I want to put a > 4 GB file on it, and I can't, because it's FAT32.  Native NTFS in Linux will solve that problem nicely.

 

I did try installing an ext3 and ext2 driver for Windows back in the day as a solution to that problem, too.  It mostly worked, but could be a little flaky... I think it was just written by one guy in his spare time so I was pleasantly surprised it worked at all, and that I didn't lose data either.  But ultimately it wasn't as reliable of a solution as FAT32, and IIRC it didn't support ext4 or any of the other newfangled file systems so it wasn't a viable forever solution.  So it's great to hear that Linux is finally getting full NTFS support, that will make it more viable to dual-boot and thus lower the barrier to entry in Windows users converting to Linux, either partially or fully.

 

I'm still not going to bet on 2022 being the Year of the Linux Desktop, though...

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A much sadder fact than needing a Micro$lop account to set up future versions of Winduhz 11 is that there are people that will. The tolerant sheeple are to blame for this. Their brainless compliance is the reason bad products and the bad people offering them unjustly continue to prosper.

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15 hours ago, Sandy Bridge said:

 7 was regarded as improving Vista's performance, although I wonder whether it didn't rather keep things flat and take advantage of hardware improvements.

Actually, that is what happened. If anything, 7 is slightly slower compared to Vista on equivalent hardware.

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16 hours ago, Sandy Bridge said:

7 was regarded as improving Vista's performance, although I wonder whether it didn't rather keep things flat and take advantage of hardware improvements.

 

1 hour ago, K4sum1 said:

Actually, that is what happened. If anything, 7 is slightly slower compared to Vista on equivalent hardware.

 

Wondering where you are getting that from?  Is it anecdotal or do you have something that you can cite?  Windows 7 had tons of optimization over Vista to improve performance or lower resource use.  I think that you would see many cases of performance improvements after an upgrade.  A good example is WDDM 1.1.  Here, from the Ars Technica review of Windows 7:

 

Windows 7 is backwards compatible with WDDM 1.0, but introduces a new WDDM 1.1 driver model. Almost all the downsides of WDDM 1.0 in Vista are resolved by WDDM 1.1 in 7. Key GDI operations are now hardware-accelerated. In turn, this means that the main memory buffer is no longer required; each window is buffered in video memory alone. In limited scenarios, this can result in a performance reduction (namely, applications that need to examine or manipulate the entire window image now have to read it from video memory, which tends to be slower than reading from main memory), but in general it means that Windows 7 has considerably lower memory usage than Vista; Vista's memory usage scaled according to the number of open windows, 7's system memory usage is constant.

 

Now, it certainly did help that Microsoft was able to take advantage of three years of hardware improvements for Windows 7's initial impressions.  Windows Vista shipped on PCs that were clearly under-equipped to handle it properly.  But I don't think you can claim that Windows 7 was slower than Windows Vista, either.

 

On the subject, Windows 8 had many optimizations over Windows 7.  Windows 8.1 also had the only system requirements decrease that Windows has ever seen; Microsoft saw fit to reduce the RAM requirement after putting some memory optimizations.  (That said, Microsoft's RAM requirement has always been laughably low for what one would expect for a decent user experience.)  Anyway, for starters you can look at Microsoft's comments on addressing boot time, memory consumption, and power consumption in Windows 8 (...I miss the days when Microsoft would post stuff like this).

 

Windows 10 vs. 11 benchmarks show largely flat performance (no meaningful increase or decrease in most situations).  This does change a bit if you throw Alder Lake into the picture, where you can hit some cases where Windows 11 is up to around 10% faster, and some even some cases where Windows 10 performance is pretty dreadful (if you don't muck with process priority/affinity anyway) because of process scheduling improvements in Windows 11 specifically addressing CPUs with a hybrid architecture.

 

This just highlights how pressure will continue to stay current with Windows, at least if you want to run on new hardware.  I feel like Microsoft has gotten worse here, too.  My home system, the Dell Precision M6700, released in 2012.  Dell supports it with a full set of drivers for Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10.  Lots of systems releasing right now are supported by the OEM only on Windows 11.  Again, interested to see how this plays out over the next few months as more business systems with Alder Lake become available.  I can't believe that many businesses will accept systems with Windows 11 as the only choice... and OEMs have to know this, too.

 

And I posted this in another thread but I'll include the comment here too — Windows 12 rumors are starting to fly.

 

16 hours ago, Sandy Bridge said:

But what's Windows 10 doing that makes it take so much longer to display a context menu when I right-click the taskbar?

 

No idea what's going on here.  Right-clicking the taskbar produces the context menu instantly for me...  (On 10-year-old hardware to boot.)  Context menu delays are often the fault of third-party applications hooking in to add their own items, but, I'm not sure if apps can do that for the taskbar context menu.  Anyway, ShellMenuView and ShellExView will allow you to see apps that have hooked in such a way, with the option to disable the hooks.  (This situation is largely why Microsoft has, to the dismay of many, upended how context menus work in Windows 11.)

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Dell Precision 7770 (personal)

  • Intel Core i9-12950HX ("Alder Lake"), 8P+8E
    • 8× P cores ("Golden Cove"): 2.3 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading
    • 8× E cores ("Gracemont"): 1.7 GHz base, 3.6 GHz turbo
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    • 24TB additional storage: 3× Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 8TB, PCIe4 (Intel RST, RAID 0)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 17.3" 3940×2180 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX211 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 93Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

Dell Precision 7560 (work)

  • Intel Xeon W-11955M ("Tiger Lake")
    • 8×2.6 GHz base, 5.0 GHz turbo, hyperthreading ("Willow Cove")
  • 64GB DDR4-3200 ECC
  • NVIDIA RTX A2000 4GB
  • Storage:
    • 512GB system drive (Micron 2300)
    • 4TB additional storage (Sabrent Rocket Q4)
  • Windows 10 (Enterprise LTSC 2021)
  • 15.6" 3940×2160 display
  • Intel Wi-Fi AX210 (Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth)
  • 95Wh battery
  • IR webcam
  • Fingerprint reader

 

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