Windows 11 adds several unexpected new features, including Android apps, a revised Start Menu and Taskbar, new Widgets, and more. Windows 11 also removes many Windows 10 features that PC users have become accustomed to. Here’s what Microsoft says it’s removing in Windows 11.
Microsoft published this information on the same page where it listed the Windows 11 hardware requirements, which include a controversial mandate for a TPM 2.0 chip. Microsoft calls some of these “deprecations,” which simply means that they’re being de-emphasized if not removed. Microsoft giveth to Windows 11, and it taketh away.
Cortana is demoted yet again
The most poignant feature that Windows 11 removes is Cortana, which will no longer shout “HI, I’M CORTANA” while setting up a new PC. But Cortana has also been kicked off the Windows 11 Taskbar—she is neither an icon nor part of the Windows 11 Search function, as we’ve seen. Cortana will exist solely as an app, and probably largely unchanged from what you’ll find in Windows 10. Based on our experience with the Windows 11 leaked build, you’ll also need to ask (search) for the Cortana app before it downloads and installs.
Internet Explorer is over
We knew that Microsoft planned to kill Internet Explorer in 2022, and it’s now shoveled another spadeful of dirt onto the legacy browser. Microsoft won’t include Internet Explorer inside Windows 11 at all, though it will include the browser as part of “IE Mode” within Edge.
Tablet Mode will go away
Tablet Mode, once a staple of the Windows 10 Surface Pro device experience, will go away within Windows 11. Tablet Mode, as its name implies, works with tablets: Once Windows senses a hardware keyboard has been removed from a Windows tablet, it moves into Tablet mode, adopting a more touch-friendly UI.
While Microsoft said it’s removing Tablet Mode, the company also said, “new functionality and capability is included for keyboard attach and detach postures.” What this means, apparently, is that while Microsoft may be removing Tablet Mode, it’s also replacing it with something that will act similarly. We’d expect this will be a more touch-friendly interface, perhaps with more spacing between Taskbar icons, among other enhancements. But we’ll have to wait and see.
Quick Status banned from the lock screen
Microsoft used to allow Windows 10 users to place “apps” on the Windows 10 lock screen, so you might see an upcoming calendar notification or an alert about the weather. Presumably, that functionality will be replaced via Widgets, so Microsoft is getting rid of the Quick Status features on the Windows 11 lock screen.
Resizable Start screen
In Windows 10, you can add app icons to the Start screen, and group them how you wish. Not so Windows 11! In Microsoft’s new operating system you won’t be able to resize the Start screen, either—and Live Tiles are going away, unless this hack of the Windows 11 registry still works and you can restore the Windows 10 Start menu within Windows 11. Apps and sites that you’ve pinned within Windows 10 won’t carry over to Windows 11, either.
Lots of little changes are coming to the Taskbar. The leaked beta build of Windows 11 allowed us to shift the Taskbar over from its centered location to the far left, like the traditional Windows 10 Start menu. But you’ll only be able to move the Taskbar along the bottom of the screen, not the sides nor the top. Microsoft is also exerting greater control over what apps can do what to the taskbar, too. Microsoft said it’s killing off People on the Taskbar, too, but we knew that already.
While Timeline may have been the favorite feature of some PCWorld staffers, Timeline as a whole is going away. Microsoft is simply taking one of the features from Timeline (Edge tabs that you may have been using on another device) and moving that within Edge itself.
Some of the changes affect smaller pieces of Windows 10 that you may not have used, but their removals still represent downgrades from Windows 10. Here they are.
- The Snipping Tool remains, but it’s sneakily been replaced with the functionality of Snip & Sketch, as the app has promised for years.
- Windows 11 S Mode is still a thing, but just for Windows 11 Home, not Pro.
- The Windows touch keyboard will no longer dock and undock keyboard layouts on screen sizes 18 inches and larger.
- The Wallet app has been removed. 3D Viewer, OneNote for Windows 10, Paint 3D, and Skype will no longer be installed on new devices.