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