Changed or removed Features in Windows 11

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As with any new version of any operating system, there comes a time when some features are deprecated, replaced or removed.

The same will be happening with the release of the next edition of Windows. In this article we’ll take a look at the changed or removed Features in Windows 11:

  • Cortana
    • “Hello! I am Cortana!….” The familiar voice that suddenly surprised you after freshly installing Windows will be mostly gone in the future. With Windows 11, Cortana will be removed from the first boot experience, and from the TaskBar. While you can still find Cortana if you search from Start, she lost her prominent place in the system. If you think about the changes for a second, you can easily imagine where the future of Cortana is heading.
Cortana can only be found hidden in the Start Menu in Windows 11.
  • Desktop wallpaper sync
    • If you were a fan of your Desktop wallpaper going with you, no matter what PC you are using, this is bad news: The handy sync will be gone with Windows 11.
  • Internet Explorer
    • I can hear you thinking (or even shouting) “YAY!” with this one: Internet Explorer will be removed from Windows by default after more than 25 years of service. It will be replaced by the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge. Even if you fire up the “Run” dialog and enter “iexplore.exe”, you will be presented with the new Edge browser.
      If you think now “But there is this centuries old application my company is using that really really needs IE…”, there’s still a solution: Internet Explorer mode. With it you can decide which pages will still be opened using the old IE Trident rendering engine inside of Edge. As this feature requires providing a special XML config, it will mostly be interesting for Business customers.
  • Math Input Panel
    • A feature that the majority of users may not miss that much is the so called Math Input Panel. The Math Input Panel was added with Windows 7 to conveniently enter complex mathematic formulas using a pen. The system would then recognize them for further use. Microsoft did not remove it completely, but changed it into being an optional feature which you can install on-demand.
The Math Input Panel can be added as an Optional Feature using the new Settings App.
  • News & Interests
    • The News & Interests flyout that has been added only recently to Windows 10 has evolved into the Widgets feature in Windows 11. In addition to News, the Windows 11 Widget flyout offers customizable widgets that show you e.g. stock market information or the last result of a soccer championship game.
  • Quick Status
    • Quick Status was a feature in Windows 10 that allowed you to show new Notifications on your Lock Screen for selected Apps. This feature has been removed entirely.
You could select several Apps from the Windows Settings to see pending notifications from them.
  • S Mode
    • The Windows 10 S Mode was a locked down version of Windows that could mostly only run Apps that have been downloaded from the Microsoft Store. This mode was available on all editions of Windows 10. With Windows 11, this feature will only be available with the Home edition of Windows.
  • Snipping Tool
    • Snipping Tool initially was a super simple Screenshot tool that was first introduced with Windows 7. Later on, Microsoft developed a replacement tool called Snip & Sketch which should replace Snipping Tool in the future.
      This replacement is coming in a little different flavor than most would have expected: With Windows 11, Snip & Sketch will be renamed to Snipping Tool, and take the old tool’s place.
      Did you know? – Pressing WINDOWS + Shift + S will open the Snipping Tool to quickly create a Screenshot.
The new Snipping Tool in Windows 11.
  • Start Menu
    • The new Start Menu surely is one of the biggest changes in Windows 11. It received a full rework and has little to do with what we knew in the past. The most notable changes are:
      • Centered by default (Can be changed in Windows Settings)
      • Live Tiles have been removed entirely. If you are an App developer and need similar functionality, Microsoft is officially pointing you at using Widgets instead (like Android and Apple Apps are already doing it).
      • Groups and folders have been removed. It is also not possible at this time to resize the Start Menu.
      • If you migrate from Windows 10 to Windows 11, your pinned apps and websites will not be migrated in the process. You’ll receive a fresh Start Menu prepopulated with the most popular pre-installed apps.
      • Recommended area: A new area in the Start Menu that offers to you a list of recently used files on your device. Makes it easy to return to where you left off recently.
The new Start Menu in Windows 11.
  • Tablet Mode
    • Tablet Mode has been completely removed. Instead Microsoft reworked the UI to work a lot better on touch enabled devices by default. E.g. if you detach the keyboard from a Surface Book, the icons on the Taskbar will move a little away from each others and the Windows Explorer icons will become a little bigger.
  • Taskbar
    • Microsoft completely reworked the Taskbar as well:
      • The Taskbar is only supported to be placed at the bottom of the screen at this point. At the time of writing this article, Microsoft was already considering re-enabling the free placement after an uproar from Windows Insiders testing the preview version of Windows 11.
      • If you upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11, your System Tray customizations will mostly be reset.
      • Customizations of the Taskbar by third party applications (e.g. the famous big battery level indicator from Lenovo) will no longer be possible. That also counts for Microsoft’s own features like the People menu.
  • Timeline
    • Timeline was a feature to see your web browsing and app activity across devices. This feature will be entirely removed.
  • Touch keyboard
    • The touch keyboard will no longer be docked on screens with a size of 18 inch or larger.
  • Wallet
    • The wallet feature has been entirely removed.

As you can see, there’s a lot of change coming with Windows 11. At the time of writing this article, Windows 11 is still in preview. This means that not all changes are final and we can be sure to see changes to this list within the next weeks.

Microsoft has its own website listing the removed and changed features. You can check it out here: Windows 11 Specifications – Microsoft

Come back in the future as I will also update my list once things get changed or updated. Also, follow me on Twitter for updates and news about Windows 11 and other Microsoft products.

Did you know: You can get involved in shaping the future of Windows and testing things before they get released to everyone else: Consider joining the Windows Insider Program to always be on the edge of what’s coming to Windows!

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