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Big Windows 11 leak showcases new design, centered start menu, and more

Plenty of subtle visual changes suggest Windows 11 is largely inspired by Windows 10X.

Published onJune 16, 2021

windows launch
  • A near-final version of Windows 11 has leaked online.
  • The OS features a slew of design tweaks seemingly taken from Windows 10X.
  • Microsoft will officially debut the OS on June 24.

After plenty of hints and teases, Microsoft’s next operating system is finally out of the bag. A set of leaks posted to Chinese site Baidu (via The Verge) seemingly confirmed the Windows 11 title. Now, a leaked ISO of Windows 11 Pro build 21996.1 has detailed the upcoming changes and features heading to the new OS.

The OS’s biggest change is located at the bottom of the desktop. Centered icons and a new start menu are seemingly taken from Windows 10X. It’s understandable then that the latter OS was canned earlier this year. If you don’t like it, the start menu can be reverted to Windows 10 spec, too.

Other UI tweaks included rounded window corners, new icons in File Explorer and the start menu, and a cleaner search interface. The Xbox app also gains new design elements.

What do you think of Windows 11 after this leak?

1038 votes

Despite the refreshed features on show, it’s clear the leaked ISO is an early, incomplete build. Some of these UI improvements haven’t made their way to the Action Center, nor has the Windows Store seen any love. If you were hoping for a new Settings page, all you’re getting is a new splash screen. You can get a better look at all the new features in Neowin‘s 11-minute deep-dive.

Windows 11 vs Windows 10

On initial inspection, there’s nothing drastically different between Windows 10 and Windows 11. The two OSes seemingly share the same underpinnings. Jumping from Windows 10 to Windows 11 might be more akin to upgrading from Windows 8 to 8.1. Nevertheless, Microsoft hasn’t yet had its turn to explain the core advancements made in Windows 11.

Microsoft will officially announce Windows 11 on June 24 at 11 AM ET. Expect Windows Insiders to get a first taste of the OS before it makes its official mainstream consumer debut later this year.

Prior to the leak, Microsoft also announced that Windows 10 support will conclude in 2025 — ten years after the OS’s initial debut. So there’s plenty of time to decide if you want to make the jump to Windows 11.

With that said, what do you think about the Windows 11 leaks? Do you hate or love the design? Be sure to vote in our poll above, and drop a comment down below.