One of the most significant updates of Windows of the past decade is coming very soon. I’ve been using it over the past several months and I’m incredibly excited about the next generation of Windows – Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO
Is Windows 11 finally coming?
Although we are not sure if Microsoft is going to name their new OS Windows 11 (they might just remove the number and make it the new Windows – and that’s okay), we do know for sure that there are three major changes coming. Windows will have new UI, new features and will be bundled with a brand-new Windows Store. This new Windows update is being referred as the Windows Sun Valley Update.
The New UI
The biggest change on this new Windows 11 update is going to be the UI. Microsoft is gunning for a more refined and more modern User Interface.
Sun Valley Update is coming with modern icons for all of the Windows applications. These new icons certainly look cleaner and more modern. File Explorer has barely changed over the years. But Microsoft slowly made some changes to the icons of Windows 10 over the last year or so. Some of the changes to the system icons in File Explorer include the Recycle Bin, Documents folder and Devices.
These alterations to the OS are more than welcome. Because some of the top-level user folders, as you can see, have a new design that makes them a little bit easier to tell them apart. Overall, this look and feel of the icons gives off a more modern and clean Windows vibe.
So, do you guys like the new icon design?
And finally, Microsoft is getting rid of the old icons that have been part of Windows since Windows 95. Windows Explorer will also host a set of new and updated icons. The new OS will move onto swapping the sharp corners with rounded corners everywhere. This change will include the context menus and even application outlines. It seems like everything is going to have a slightly rounded look as part of this modern UI update.
A new Windows update will be rolled out with a new start menu. Rumors have it that Microsoft is going to choose a Windows 10x start menu over the classic one that is hosting the live tiles. It seems like the live tiles will be removed and exchanged for a menu that hosts quick access to applications and web sites. As well as quick access to files and folders.
This screen shot gives us an idea of what is rumored. With the live tiles gone and the rounded corners, the start menu gives off a more clean and modern look.
Another major change in Windows Sun Valley is the floating taskbar menu design. This is another feature that was previewed in Windows 10x that quite possibly will be included in this next update. The menus, the action center and the start menu will be divided from the taskbar. In other words, they will be floating over it. This is a very interesting concept that looks great and is a lot more cleaner and useful.
Windows 10x should provide the base for the new Action Center as well.
This new look is said to be coming to Windows Sun Valley update.
Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology in other parts of Windows and products at the company – John Cable head of Windows Servicing and Delivery
So, basically Windows 10X is not happening but some of its successful features will be transferred onto this new Windows update.
These are the major UI changes on the OS itself, but we do expect interface upgrades to all windows applications as well.
Apart from the user interface update this new Windows rollout will bring new features and improvements on the OS functionality as well.
One of them being able to separate Microsoft Edge tabs from application windows in the snap assist view. This improvement will make it easier to snap individual tabs and application windows as well. And as a nice little bonus the snap view will remember which apps are snapped exactly where on a larger display or multi-monitor setup. This improvement will be very useful to a lot of people.
Personally, I am looking forward to a better and improved snap assist window.
Rumors have it that Microsoft is working on a new dashboard feature as well. It will be hosted under the stash review area. It is supposed to give users an overview of their Microsoft account. That is information about any upcoming events, to-do lists, emails and much more.
New Windows Update will bring new news and interest feed on the task bar.
Although this feature is something we’ve already seen and it is nothing new, Microsoft said to be improving it further in the Windows Sun Valley Update.
But not all rumored features are involving the UI. Windows 11 is also expected to have enhanced security features with fingerprint recognition.
Microsoft intend to make Cortana compete with other virtual assistants from Apple and Google.
Gamers will be ecstatic about the next one. Xbox will come pre-installed on every Windows powered device.
New Windows Store
The new Windows will also bring a brand-new Windows Store. Just as well as the rest of the OS, the new store will bring a different and more appealing UI as well. But the more important thing that we need to cover is the new policies. According to Microsoft the new Windows Store will:
- Allow developers to submit unpackaged Win32 apps to the store
- Allow developers to host apps and updates on their own content delivery network (CDN)
- Allow developers to use third-party commerce platforms in applications
The first Microsoft Store policy refers to traditional applications. Developers will be able to bring their Win32 apps to the new store without changes to their existing code. Before, developers were forced to package their apps as an MSIX, but with this new policy they can submit raw EXE or MSI package to Windows Store. This change/policy is a good one because most of the traditional software either uses EXE or MSI installer.
Windows applications with auto update feature hosted on the old Windows Store were unable to work properly. Most of the applications you install have the need to be updated. This allows developers to resolve any outstanding issues after the software is released without requiring you to reinstall the complete application. Microsoft now will allow developers to push updates through their own Content Delivery Network so that their built-in auto update feature can work.
If you happen to be a developer that has published an application on the Windows Store you will really like this feature. Basically, developers don’t have to give Microsoft a cut from their in-app revenue streams.
These three major changes to the Microsoft Store policies opens the door to a host of other major applications to enter the official store. Applications from Adobe, Google and others might finally be accepted. Finally, users will be able to download and install Teams, Office, Edge and even Visual Studio from Microsoft Store.
Microsoft’s goal for the Windows Store is to position it as an open platform where any user can easily discover the best applications for Windows.
Rumors have it that this new store will be shipped most likely in the fall alongside Windows Sun Valley update. But hopefully it will be backported to older versions of Windows 10 as well.
Windows needs a fresh start. This is a platform that majority of the people use, and Microsoft needs to get us excited about using it. The company stays committed to bringing OS innovation to market even without Windows 10X.
Most likely Microsoft will hold a dedicated Windows event soon. And we are talking about a time frame of within the next couple of weeks.
As time passes by, we will have more and more details about what is going on with Windows. But nevertheless, Sun Valley is happening. The most notable features are changes to the UI by adding new sounds, animations and application designs. This is a great opportunity for Microsoft to surprise us with a new version of Windows.
Microsoft did say that Windows 10 would be the last version of Windows. But that was said under an old leadership that is now pretty much gone. So, never say never.
Regardless of how Microsoft decides to announce and ship Sun Valley, be that as an update to Windows 10 or a brand-new Windows OS, the company is announcing big changes. And we will hear about those changes on the dedicated Windows event happening sometime in June.
All in all, it’s time to get excited about Windows once again.
What would YOU like Microsoft to change in the next gen Windows Update?