A first look at Windows 11

G’Day all, a different kind of post today, as most of you are probably aware a leaked version of Windows 11 hit the forums recently, the official announcement is expected on the 24th of June, here is the link to the stream, but I thought I’d grab hold of the leaked ISO and see what the experience is like, which I’ll share with you below, I’ll also check out the UI and what the Windows 11 Autopilot experience is like, let’s crack on.

Installing Windows 11

When manually installing Windows 11 for the first time, this is the experience that I had, please note that the below experience will most likely change on the first Windows 11 RTM version.

The installation starts off with a new Windows logo:

Language selection still looks the same:

Installing Windows 11

Install now:

The versions of Windows 11 available to install, I’ve gone for Windows 11 Pro:

Installation destination:

Installation progress screen:

And finally, the new Windows logo appears again before the OOBE stage:

As you can see, the installation experience is exactly the same between Windows 10 and 11, hopefully, Microsoft will tinker around with this so we can feel like we’re installing a new operating system.

Out of Box Experience (OOBE)

Now, this is where things do look different (finally!)

When launching the Windows 11 OOBE there’s a smooth transition between Windows logos:

Then we’re asked to select a country or region, as you can see the user interface has been completely re-designed, almost MacOS like:

Keyboard layout, as you can see the icon on the left changes when moving between pages:

Checking for updates:

What’s interesting here is that don’t seem to have an option for a local account for personal use, only Microsoft accounts are permitted, not sure if this will still be the case in the RTM version but you can see what route Microsoft is pushing us down:

I’ve gone for a personal account for this demonstration:

After logging in, I’m asked to create a PIN for Windows Hello:

Then we have the same permission requests as you do in Windows 10, I won’t screenshot all of them but they are the same terms and conditions for each, it seems:

Now what is new to Windows 11 is the customisation of your experience, we have the option of Gaming, Creativity, Family and Schoolwork, I guess based on these selections will have a bearing on the start menu layout, etc. For this, I’ll select Creativity and see what happens (note: you can multi-select):

On the next page, we are asked if we want to store my files in OneDrive, I guess this is why the Microsoft account is mandatory, I think this a great step to be introduced and ensures that user files are protected:

And then finally we’re produced with an ‘we’re getting things ready’ screen but with looking much better:

And then BAM, straight into Windows with the Start Menu opening:

Windows 11 General Observations

So now that we have installed Windows 11 and gone through the OOBE, I’ll go through some the items that stand out to me. The first one was the desktop, now with the above screenshot, you can see it’s nice and clean, however, because I enabled the backup my files to OneDrive, which is essentially Known Folder Move or KFM, all of my previous desktop shortcuts came down like so, which is mostly my old games:

I’ll clear up the desktop for the sake of this demonstration, but note that your previous desktop will come back down and clutter things up, Windows 11 by default just has the Recycle Bin and Microsoft Edge on the desktop, which is good, a clean desktop is a happy desktop. Then we move onto the task bar, as you can see it’s again feeling a little macOS like, icons in the middle but as with previous, a Start Menu is still present:

What’s interesting as well, is based on my earlier section of Creativity, it appears that certain applications have been added to the start menu such as PicsArt and Photoshop Elements. Also, note that live tiles is no longer a thing. Also selecting All apps will give us the more traditional feeling start menu:

When right-clicking the start menu icon:

Note the items on the taskbar, search, task view and Widgets:

You can still change the taskbar alignment to the more traditional left hand side from settings:

The settings application is still the same as Windows 10:

Yes, control panel is still alive:

When opening File Explorer, you can see that a number of icons have had a makeover:

When hovering over the maximise button on any window, new alignment options appear, selecting one of these will move the window in question to a particular area:

and finally, confirming the Windows 11 version number:

So overall, looking good, looking sharper, additional shadows and transitions. Hopefully, the RTM version will include many more options and enhancements than the development build. Let’s have a look at the Autopilot build experience.

Windows 11 and Autopilot

We’ve had a look at what the Windows 11 experience is like during manual installation, the OOBE, and in general terms, but let’s have a look at how provisioning devices via Windows Autopilot for a user-driven deployment looks like.

So to start us us off, we get our fancy Windows logo transition and start off checking for Autopilot updates:

Once ready, the screen transitions to a login prompt for Autopilot:

Then we’re shown the enrollment status page, I must admit, I’m liking the transitions and images, but I do feel the actual steps listed are too compact for my liking:

Device setup phase:

Device prep and Device setup phases completed:

And that’s where I got to, it appears that after logging in and going through the Account setup phase actually reverts back to the old ESP for some reason, but I suspect this will be fixed in RTM.

Closing thoughts

I think the reception of Windows 11 will be rather mixed personally, although it does look great, at the moment, it’s just a new UI and the promise from Microsoft that Windows 10 will be the last desktop OS six years ago in the mix will make an interesting watch to see what Microsoft’s next steps will be. I suspect more enhancements will be announced at the live event on the 24th of June (again, here’s the link) will explain why Windows 11 is being released and what the future vision is which will make the jump to Windows 11 a lot more appealing until then we can only speculate. However, I suspect that the areas of focus will be on better integration into the M365 eco-system and a major focus on security.

What do you think? Windows 11 yay or nay?

Not sure if Yay or nay - Futurama Fry | Meme Generator

2 thoughts on “A first look at Windows 11

  • 31/08/2021 at 9:45 AM

    Hi, i got a question about Windows Hello with the Autopilot installation. On my windows 10 maschines Windows Hello is forced and a pin has to be set at the first login. But in Windows 11 the config site does not show up and in the menu it tells me, that the device does not match the requirements of the company… Do i have to reconfigure Windows Hello or is it not implemented completely in Windows 11 for the use with Autopilot?

    Greetings Henry

    • 01/09/2021 at 2:49 PM

      Hi Henry,

      Hard to say, I suspect that this will be a glitch with the version that you have, have you tried the latest Windows 11 ISO and see if this prompts you to set up Windows Hello? As you know, it’s only available on the insider program at the moment so some items are bound to have issues until full release on October 5th.


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