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Windows 11 leak reveals new Start Menu, Taskbar and File Explorer — Say goodbye to Windows 10

Windows 11
(Image credit: Baidu)

Windows 11, the next generation of Microsoft's desktop operating system, has leaked online. Screenshots of Windows 11 were published on Chinese site Baidu, revealing a new user interface with an updated Start Menu, Taskbar and File Explorer. 

Soon after, a build for Microsoft's upcoming desktop OS was leaked onto the web, confirming the "Windows 11" moniker and UI changes. The Verge editor Tom Warren has posted several high-res screenshots of the build that give us a detailed look at the OS. 

Windows 11 interface

As shown in the above screenshot, the interface has been radically transformed although a certain familiarity with Windows 10 remains. Elements from Windows 10X clearly inspired the new look as the Start Menu and Task Bar icons are now centered instead of being left-aligned by default. 

Windows 10X, promoted as a lightweight version of Windows, was set to launch this year until Microsoft abandoned the project and merged whatever progress it made into the major 'Sun Valley" Windows update coming next week. Microsoft had previously dubbed Windows 10 the "last version of Windows," but all signs point to a Windows 11 reveal on June 24.

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Microsoft will show us a working version of Windows 11 in less than 10 days. Until then, this leak gives us a detailed first glance at the update to the world's most popular desktop and laptop operating system. 

As mentioned, the most jarring change is the centered Taskbar icons. This includes the Start button which launches a floating window in the center of the screen where you can access pinned apps, recent files, and the restart/shut down option. Gone are the Live Tiles and in their place is a uniform background color with simplified, color-filled icons. 

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New to the Taskbar is what appears to be a widgets tool that could give you quick access to news, weather, apps, and other relevant information. There is also a new snap feature that lets you arrange multiple windows in your preferred orientation. 

We know a new Microsoft app store will debut with Windows 11 but this early leaked version of the OS doesn't show any changes just yet. Not only will the app store gain new features and a revamped interface, but Microsoft is working on ways to incentivize developers to create apps for its platform. We don't know specifics yet, but those could be revealed in the coming days.

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Getting back to the aesthetic changes, Windows now has rounded corners instead of the 90-degree angles seen in prior editions. The smooth lines extend to the context menus and apps, providing a softer appearance. Two default wallpapers (see above) were revealed by Warren on Twitter. 

Setting up a new Windows 10 PC will also be a different experience. It will guide you through the steps needed to get your system up and running the way you want it. There is even a new startup sound.

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Unfortunately, this early Windows 11 build reveals some ancient interfaces as well, including the Contol Panel, which is in desperate need of an update. We will find out if Microsoft gives it a facelift on June 24 when Windows 11 is officially revealed.