Windows 11 leak hands-on: Like Windows 10 meets MacOS

After dabbling with the (now infamous) Windows 11 leak for several hours, I’ve come to a surprising conclusion: It feels a lot like MacOS. Now hear me out: Windows 11, at least in this early version we’re looking at, is basically a decluttered version of Windows 10. It has some of the optimizations we were expecting to see in Windows 10X, but now that I’m actually experiencing it, I’m getting some serious Mac vibes.

The most obvious difference is the new centered Taskbar. It works like it has since Windows 95, housing the Start menu button, active apps and your choice of shortcuts. But it’s all icons now — I can’t find any options to show Window labels in the Taskbar. That’s something Microsoft has been trying to push for years now, but as a native Windows user, I’ve always rejected it. I’ve preferred knowing exactly what an app or window held before I clicked on the Taskbar icon.

Gallery: Windows 11 leak | 7 Photos

After a few hours though, I’ve gotten used to the Windows 11 implementation. Really, it’s just about forcing you into the default way Windows 7, 8 and 10 handled the taskbar. Just like before, hovering above an app icon shows you its open windows. The centered look makes everything look a bit more like the MacOS dock, which was always just focused on app icons. It’s a small change, but coupled with removing taskbar labels entirely, it goes a long way towards making the interface look cleaner.

If you’re a Windows diehard, don’t worry, you can also push the Taskbar to the left side of the screen. Personally, though, I dig the default centered approach. It balances out the visuals if you’ve only got a few apps open, and I find it easier to hit app shortcuts without dragging my mouse all the way over to the bottom left of the screen.

The Windows 11 leak also shows off a revamped Start menu, which is sure to be controversial. By default, it shows you a collection of pinned app shortcuts, as well as some recommendations. You’ll have to hit the “All apps” button to see the rest of the Start menu. There are options to show your recently added and most used apps, but those seem like holdovers from Windows 10, they don’t actually change anything in the new Start menu yet.

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