Windows 11: Is It Worth the Upgrade?

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Last October, I received a notification that said my Lenovo Yoga X380 was eligible for the upgrade to Windows 11. As skeptical as I always am of Microsoft, I did not go for it right away. I was waiting until Microsoft was done with all the Windows 11 beta versions. So I ended up feeling safe about upgrading in late December.

Initially, I was pretty satisfied with how smoothly the upgrade process took place without requiring a fresh setup or formatting of my whole C drive. And my previously installed softwares were working pretty seamlessly, just like I have seen in most Linux-based operating systems I used.

But within three weeks of using it, I started seriously questioning if Windows 11 was worth the upgrade. Various unhelpful yet major changes were there. Microsoft had put major irreversible roadblocks to my regular workflow in Win11. When I tried looking up ways to solve my issues, I was sure I wasn’t the only one.

So here’s the story of how we were collectively disappointed with the roadblocks on Windows 11. See if you can relate to them as well.

windows 11

Taskbar Tantrums

My first and biggest beef with Windows 11 occurred with the taskbar. It seems they are following Apple’s of taking away the UI choices from the user and making decisions for the users themselves. This is something I am all for—one more problem out of my plate! But the problem here is that Windows 11 is just bad at it. Instead of solving users’ problems, they have rather created more hassle for the user.

Let’s start with the simplest one. Windows 10 had a stack of great useful features in the taskbar right-click menu, all of which have just gone poof in Windows 11. Okay, you could argue the show/hide option are not the most useful feature. But I would argue the ‘Task Manager’ trumps all of that. It is definitively the most used option any user would have to use every time a window or the whole Windows freezes. 

So the Task Manager being only two clicks away was immensely useful. Going back to Ctrl+Alt+Delete (or using any other alternative method) is just harder, annoying, and counter-intuitive. I cannot comprehend what reasoning Windows might have had behind this.

windows 11 interface
windows 11 taskbar

Secondarily, an even bigger awful news for me was that Microsoft has stripped down the customizability of the taskbar to nearly zero. The only thing you can do is you can change the position of the ‘Start Menu’ and the shortcuts to either the centre or to the left. That’s it?! No resizing, no repositioning at all!! I would rather choose not to digress toward explaining why you should use your taskbar vertically, which lets you use your screen real estate most efficiently. The math is only a web search away.

What I want to point out is that Microsoft is just taking away their users’ choice and autonomy for a product they have paid for, whether as a retail product or with their device; it is very condescending and relatively disrespectful towards its users.

Hardware Compatibility

One more area where Windows 11 is screwing over its users is hardware compatibility. The devices they are supporting are relatively formidable, but they are being quite selective about which ones they are going to give support for; consumer welfare is not something they are prioritising.

Many of Windows 11’s system requirements are unexpectedly low—a 1GHz CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. In 2022. These requirements are surprisingly low, like specifications from a decade ago—who am I kidding? The 3-year-old smartphone I use has better specs than these requirements. The fundamental roadblocks are three distinct hardware requirements.

  • The CPU must be relatively recent, within the last three years.
  • A TPM security chip is required on the PC.
  • Secure Boot must be supported by the computer’s firmware.

As a result, consumers with slightly older PCs have all of the functionality required to run Windows 11 but cannot support TPM 2.0 or do not have a compatible processor. To run Windows 11, a CPU upgrade is required, or a new machine can be purchased. This is not practical for the consumer nor fair. And it sucks if you want to have the latest software and already have paid Microsoft for an operating system. So even though Microsoft is claiming to make the basic version free to use. In hindsight, they are actually demanding that you buy a device from which they can profiteer.

Privacy Concerns

From now with Windows 11, the idea that while Windows is becoming free to use is not a thing accurate. Because you are almost certainly paying for it with your data. Unless you pay extra for the Pro version, you won’t have a choice in creating a local offline account without logging in to your Microsoft account.

Furthermore, Microsoft seems to want to keep pushing uh things onto users that they don’t want to use. If someone is privacy-conscious enough, they will go on the Internet to look for scripts to de-bloat Windows, registry tweaks, and tools or programs like Shut Up 10. Because by default Windows keeps these options turned on to harvest personal user data and to keep the button to opt-out annoyingly hidden and complicated to reach.

Well, from a capitalist perspective, it is understandable that the company needs to make money. Yet it does not mean they have made it a hell for the users who want to choose to opt-out of these programs.

Final Thoughts: Is Windows 11 Worth It?

Overall, nobody is saying that Windows 11 is a bad operating system or that it did improve upon Windows 10. Because it surely did in a few ways. Yet our concern is that there were a lot of scenarios where Microsoft could have helped its users and solved their problems, but rather, they just prioritised their own profits without making it easier for the users, and sometimes they outright created new problems that were not there before. Now how much these issues would affect your experience is up for you to decide.


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Contributor

  • ANS Muaaz, aka @themuslimbooknerd, studied Arabic & Islamic Studies two-thirds of their lived life but took a hard left at the first opportunity turning a high school physics teacher. In broadness of interests from quantum physics to literary folk-punk, he's quite the jack-of-all-trade-master-of-none, hoping to be oftentimes-better-than-master-of-one.

An-Najmus Saqib Muaaz

ANS Muaaz, aka @themuslimbooknerd, studied Arabic & Islamic Studies two-thirds of their lived life but took a hard left at the first opportunity turning a high school physics teacher. In broadness of interests from quantum physics to literary folk-punk, he's quite the jack-of-all-trade-master-of-none, hoping to be oftentimes-better-than-master-of-one.

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