Microsoft: Windows 11 launches with redesigned start menu, free upgrade for Windows 10 users

Windows 11, Microsoft’s latest computer operating system was launched worldwide on Tuesday as a free upgrade for Windows 10 users.

Windows chief product officer Panos Panay said the latest version was built to be “clean and fresh and simpler” for the user.

He added that the new operating system would not be an “extreme departure” from what people know.

“I use the frame of my father – he’s 89,” Mr Panay said. “I’m so excited for him to hit that button and upgrade, you have no idea.

“Not because he’s my dad – because I just want it to be easy for him.”

He said expert users had already tested it extensively through Window’s Insider trial programme and was confident there would be no issues, adding the upgrade is “ready now”.

Developing Windows 11’s interface involved watching how people use their computers, “what they want to click on, where their eyes are on the machine when they come into our labs,” he explained.

“You get this confidence of learning from history,” he added.

For Windows 11, “the Start button is right there. It’s right in the middle of the screen. It’s not gone.”

Windows 11 has some significant design changes, along with some alterations on how the system works under the hood.

By default, the Start menu is centred on screen, along with icons in the taskbar. When clicked on, the Start button opens a menu of frequently used apps.

In some ways, it mimics the appearance of a smartphone app menu or launcher. Microsoft has also dropped the “tiles” which were present on Windows 10’s start menu.

The Microsoft Store has been completely redesigned and will allow third-party apps to sell inside it, without taking a substantial cut.

And one new feature which raised eyebrows in the technology world was that Windows 11 would run Android smartphone apps through the Amazon app store.

Early adopters have reported that the in-built search function of the new version is significantly faster on most devices while delivering web results.

The minimum requirements include a type of security chip called TPM only installed on modern computers.

“If your device does not meet these requirements, you may not be able to install Windows 11 on your device and might want to consider purchasing a new PC,” Microsoft says.

The company has just launched a range of its own new hardware devices to coincide with the new Windows version.

But users already running Windows 10 do not need to go to this expense if the computer is still working. Windows 10 will continue to be supported and receive security updates until October 2025.