Microsoft places the most disconcerting aspects of Windows 11 front and center, while its best features are hidden deeper within.” That’s how I closed my Windows 11 review (see page 25), and it still feels true today. But what are those hidden, superior features?
Yes, you’ll need to hunt a bit. But Microsoft has scattered some hidden gems here and there within the new OS, and we’ll show you what they are. We’d still advise you to wait on Windows 11 (fave.co/3DQeFVJ) while Microsoft smooths out the bugs, but at least you’ll know that there are some cool new capabilities waiting for you when you finally upgrade.
We mentioned some of these features in our deep-dive Windows 11 review. Others, like the new Snap View, could easily remain hidden until you eventually stumble upon them. But rather than waiting to discover some of Windows 11’s best features by happenstance, you can use this article as a guide.
PCWorld has spilled a lot of digital ink on Windows 11’s hardware restrictions (fave. co/3C7aDbn), specifically the Trusted Platform Module capabilities (fave. co/3vlsU1M) that Microsoft is trying to enforce. For consumers, the TPM requirement may feel more like an obstacle to overcome, rather than a feature to be celebrated. Still, Microsoft predicated the entire Windows 11 platform on the premise that securing your PC via hardware helps protect it from attacks both known and unknown, just as using a lock on your laptop is an added layer of protection against data theft.
Aside from the question of whether your PC uses supported or unsupported hardware, TPM isn’t something you need to think about. It just is there. We’re still not sure in what ways the added security will manifest in Windows 11 machines. On Microsoft’s Surface devices, for example, you simply don’t have the option to turn off Memory Integrity, a Windows Security feature that isolates certain parts of your PC to prevent them from being attacked.
UNDOCKING YOUR LAPTOP PRESERVES WINDOW STATES
On Windows 10, undocking your laptop from a Thunderbolt or a display cable often causes everything to go a bit haywire: When disconnected, all of your open windows tend to land in a jumble on your laptop’s screen. When you redock, they’re scattered randomly over those available displays.
When you undock a laptop within Windows 11, all of your available windows minimize, so that they land on your laptop’s display in an orderly fashion. When you redock your PC, all of the windows return, right where you left them. (This generally works as advertised within Windows 11, as it did just now when I tested it. Five minutes prior, however, I had undocked my laptop from a Thunderbolt port and then redocked it in the other Thunderbolt port on my PC. That confused poor Windows, and I needed to do a bit of tidying up.)
TIPS AND GET STARTED
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CAN MY PC RUN WINDOWS 11?
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The Windows 11 setup process is similar to that of Windows 10, but there are a few surprises when it comes to account access, privacy, security, and other features. And installing the new OS is only half the battle. Afterward, you have to go through a host of setup screens to customize and configure Windows 11 the way you want it.
Microsoft Offers TPM 2.0 Bypass to Install Windows 11 on Unsupported PC
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