Windows 11 Taskbar and Start Menu get a modern remake — Here's how they work

Windows 11
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 was revealed today with a modernized design. Among the updates is a new Start Menu and Taskbar, two of the most-used elements of the operating system. 

Instead of being left-aligned, the new Taskbar features icons centered at the bottom of your screen, not unlike macOS. Among those icons are a Widgets feature and Microsoft Teams, which is integrated directly into Windows 11. Pressing on the Start Menu (a modernized blue Microsoft logo) presents a floating window that displays pinned and recommended apps as well as the restart/shut down button. A small icon in the top-right corner takes you to a full app list. 

Windows 11 Search

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The Start Menu has a pleasant transparency effect that allows the new, more colorful icons to pop.  The Start Menu also has rounded corners, a design decision that extends across Windows 11. At the top is a universal search bar for looking through your PC for photos, docs or files. 

Beyond the aesthetics, Microsoft is using the cloud to ensure the more relevant information surfaces when you open the Start Menu.

"Start utilizes the power of the cloud and Microsoft 365 to show you your recent files no matter what platform or device you were viewing them on earlier, even if it was on an Android or iOS device," Microsoft wrote. 

At the top is a universal search bar for looking through your PC for photos, docs or files. 

When you switch to tablet mode if you're, say, using a 2-in-1 laptop, the icons in the taskbar will shift, creating more space between them so they're easier to touch even if you have chubby fingers. 

Windows 11 will roll out to eligible Windows 10 PCs and be pre-installed on new laptops and desktops starting this holiday. 

Windows 11 news and updates

Phillip Tracy

Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.