Windows 11's subtle tweaks to how it handles open windows and
multiple monitors makes me want to scream in ecstasy—when I'm not
screaming in frustration.
As a dude who spends all day, every day sitting in front of his
computer, often juggling multiple projects at once, I'm big into saving time with my workflow. There's a reason
you've seen me wax poetic about virtual desktops and Stardock's wondrous Groupy app in the past.
Every second I can save on day-to-day tasks adds up big-time over
the course of a year. And two new under-the-radar Windows 11
features are already helping me get more done, supercharging
capabilities already present in Windows 10.
I can't say enough good things about Windows 11's new Snap View,
which takes the long-standing ability to Snap open windows to
various quadrants of your screen and makes it more flexible than
ever. Mark Hachman, our resident Windows guru, explained it well in
his comprehensive Windows 11 review:
The new Snap View tools are awesome.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Microsoft got it right in the expanded Snap View icons that
appear when you hover your cursor over the maximize window
shortcuts in the upper right-hand corners of window panes.
Remember, Windows Snap allows you to drag a window into the sides
or corner of the screen; they'll then expand to fit that quadrant,
allowing you to neatly organize up to four windows on your monitor.
In Windows 11, you have more options: thin columns, wider columns,
and so on. Snap is essentially a simplified version of the Fancy Zones app from Microsoft's Power Tools,
but it's still a solid, useful addition to the Windows 11 user
It's a small touch, but one that's immediately and clearly
beneficial for power users, helping me divvy up my multiple
displays lickity-split in more flexible ways than before. Well
Here's another tiny change that I'm loving so far: The
improvements Windows 11 makes in handling a second display being
connected or disconnected. We knew about this before launch, but it's been
wonderful to use in action. Previous versions of Windows sort of
freaked out whenever you disconnected a secondary display, or when
your multi-monitor system woke after sleeping. Open windows that
were on the secondary monitor often got air-dropped onto your main
display, fully open and in weird locations. It would wreak havoc if
you had a bunch of windows configured just so, but then yanked your
secondary monitor from your laptop, or if—like in my case—one of
the multiple monitors on your desktop machine woke up more slowly
than the others.
Waking this Surface on Windows 10 with an external monitor
connected plopped all the open windows onto the main screen.
But not in Windows 11. Now, if you disconnect a secondary
display, all the windows that were open on it get minimized, rather
than unceremoniously dumped on your main screen. And if you
reconnect a display after that, those windows then return to their
original positions. It's another small touch, but one that's
immediately and clearly beneficial for power users. I honestly
can't believe it's taken Microsoft this long to fix the issue, but
I'm glad it has.
But where Windows 11 giveth, it also taketh away. One of my
favorite Windows 10 upgrades added the date and time to the taskbar
on all your displays, not just your primary monitor. But
that's gone in Windows 11, one of the many minor regressions found
throughout the operating system.
It's another small feature change, but another crucial one—at
least for me. I don't only work on my desktop PC. During
my downtime you'll often find me playing games or streaming sports
full-screen. With Windows 10, I could just glance at the time on my
secondary display in the middle of a hot-and-heavy gaming session.
Now I need to pull my phone out of my pocket, or worse, pause my
entertainment and minimize the window to see that same basic
Yes, it's nitpicky. But it's a genuine hassle to my personal
workflow, and an active downgrade from Windows 10.
Of course, that's not the most egregious taskbar issue—our extensive Windows 11 review goes into deep
detail into what features have been removed from that crucial
stretch of real estate, and much more. But niggling little woes
like that add to the impression that Microsoft's latest OS is
coming in hot, and contributed toward us recommending that most people skip Windows 11 for now. Fingers
crossed that Microsoft smooths out those rough edges sooner than
later, because even though I'm leaving my main rig on Windows 10
for now, I can't wait to make Windows 11's Snap View and smart
monitor connections part of my daily life. They're superb additions