Windows 11 leak reveals new UI, Start menu, and more

The new Windows 11 UI.

Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 11 operating system has leaked online today. After screenshots were first published at Chinese site Baidu, the entire Windows 11 OS has appeared online, complete with a new user interface, Start menu, and lots more.

The new Windows 11 user interface and Start menu look very similar to what was originally found in Windows 10X. Microsoft had been simplifying Windows for dual-screen devices, before canceling this project in favor of Windows 11. Visually, the biggest changes you’ll notice can be found along the taskbar. Microsoft has centered the app icons here, cleaned up the tray area, and included a new Start button and menu.

This updated Start menu is a simplified version of what currently exists in Windows 10, without Live Tiles. It includes pinned apps, recent files, and the ability to quickly shut down or restart Windows 11 devices. It’s really a lot more simplified than what exists in Windows 10 today.

If you don’t want the app icons and Start menu centered, there’s an option to move them all back to the left-hand side. Coupled with the dark mode that’s also available, and Windows 11 starts to look like a more refined version of Windows 10 than something dramatically new.

You can move the Windows 11 Start menu to the left side.

Microsoft is also using rounded corners throughout Windows 11. These are visible in context menus, and around apps and the File Explorer. The Start menu itself also includes rounded corners. This is still an early version of Windows 11 that has leaked, so not everything is included yet.

We’re expecting to see more changes to the built-in apps within Windows 11, but most of those don’t appear to be present yet. A large part of the operating system feels finished though, so we’d expect to see a beta of this to arrive shortly for Windows Insiders to test.

Windows 11’s search interface.
The File Explorer in Windows 11.

You may have noticed a new icon in the Windows 11 taskbar, and it’s labeled Widgets in the operating system. Rumors have suggested Microsoft is bringing back Windows Widgets, and this early version appears to include some.

As this is clearly a very early version of Windows 11, the widgets aren’t loading fully in the OS, but they’re designed to slide out and provide quick access to news, weather, and other web content.

Early version of Windows Widgets in Windows 11.

While Microsoft canceled its Windows 10X operating system, the company is clearly reusing large parts of that work with Windows 11. Windows 10X was originally designed for dual-screen devices, before shifting toward traditional laptops and then being canceled. Windows 10X included a number of refined and simplified aspects to Windows, and most of that work is present in this leaked version of Windows 11.

Windows 11 also includes new snap controls that you can access from the maximize button on all apps. They’re modern equivalents of the cascade windows function that has existed in the operating system for years. You can quickly snap windows side by side, or arrange them in sections on your desktop.

Windows 11’s new snap feature.

Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be big updates to the Windows Store yet. As this is an early leaked version, it’s likely that whatever updates Microsoft is planning just aren’t showing up yet.

The Windows Store interface is largely the same as what exists in Windows 10 right now, with access to all the same apps that are available today.

The existing Windows Store in Windows 11.

Microsoft has reportedly been working on a new app store for Windows in recent months, and rumors suggest it will be a big change from what exists today. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has promised to “unlock greater economic opportunity for developers and creators” with Windows, and that will likely come in the form of a new store.

Microsoft is reportedly overhauling its Windows app store to allow developers to submit any Windows application, including browsers like Chrome or Firefox. Microsoft may also be considering allowing third-party commerce platforms in apps, allowing developers to avoid the cut Microsoft usually takes from in-app purchase systems.

Elsewhere, Microsoft has also included a new setup experience in Windows 11. It’s very similar to Windows 10X, walking users of new hardware or those upgrading to Windows 11 through a set of steps to configure Windows. This out-of-box experience also includes a new Windows 11 startup sound, which then triggers at every boot.

Microsoft is also improving the Xbox experience in Windows 11. The new Xbox app is now integrated into Windows 11, offering quick access to Xbox Game Pass games, the social parts of Xbox network, and the Xbox store. The Xbox Game Bar and Windows Game Mode all remain the same as Windows 10 in this early leaked build.

The new Xbox experience on Windows 11.
The new Xbox app on Windows 11.

Microsoft has been dropping hints that it’s ready to launch Windows 11. The software giant is holding a special Windows event to reveal its next OS on June 24th. The event starts at 11AM ET, and the event invite includes a window that creates a shadow with an outline that looks like the number 11. Microsoft execs have also been teasing a “next generation of Windows” announcement for months, and this leak now confirms that Windows 11 will be officially revealed later this month.

Update, June 15th 1:25PM ET: Article updated with information on the Windows 11 leak, and more screenshots.

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Comments

Well I called it wrong on the name. To be seen: Enough system level changes, or more like a visual refresh to 10 where they decided to draw a line in the sand and market a new number? Windows 10 has already changed quite a bit since launch, how much larger an overhaul than the largest of those?

I see the recycle bin is now facing forward…It was always a bit odd being angled when other MS icons weren’t, though I’m still not in love with it

-much ado about a trash icon

I’m on the beta build of W10 & the current beta also as the recycling bin facing forward.

Well that’s one less change drawing the line between 10 and 11 lol

Hey you two seem cool..I’m grabbing coffee, would like me to get you one?

I’m telling ya that they just need to shrink it vertically about 10%. 15% tops.

I always wished I could hide or remove the recycle bin from the desktop and up it in the taskbar or something… make the desktop all clean. I guess that will never happen by default.

I hide all icons on the desktop and use a small free app called MiniBin that puts the trash in the system tray.

Thank you for that Utility.
I use "Backup Start Menu Layout" to back up my Start menu.
Backing up your Start Menu should be included in the settings/personalization area.
https://www.sordum.org/10997/backup-start-menu-layout-v1-4/

You don’t need a utility, through the win10 settings app Personalization > Themes. Click "Desktop Icon Settings" and uncheck Recycle Bin.

Part of the Windows "power user" experience is to download tons of unnecessary programs until Windows stops running well and then blame Microsoft for it.

God bless you!

The ability to remove the Recycle Bin from the desktop has been there since at least XP.

For Windows 10:
Settings app > Personalisation > Themes. Click "Desktop Icon Settings" and uncheck Recycle Bin.

Right-click the desktop.
Select Personalize in the pop-up menu.
In the left navigation menu, click Themes.
Under Related Settings, click the Desktop icon settings option.
Uncheck the Recycle Bin box and click OK.

People have told you already but I’ve had my desktop completely empty for years even before 10, no recycle bin marring it, haven’t needed to have the recycle bin for at least two decades I think

except when you actually need to take something out of the recycle bin…

I don’t think I’ve put anything in the recycle bin ever since I discovered Shift + Delete over two decades ago. If I need to delete something, then I just want it gone.

Also no

Which you can still access by typing (or starting to type) "Recycle Bin" in the Explorer address bar.

Or make a hotkey like Ctrl + Alt + R to empty it

Or in search (Win + S) or just start typing in the start menu.

You can do that already …since windows 7….

Right-click Desktop, go to View, uncheck Show Desktop icons.
Done.

I’ve had all desktop icons disabled for years (simple right click on the desktop is all it takes) and I added ‘empty recycle bin’ to the quick access toolbar at the top of Explorer, can’t think why I’d need an actual icon for it these days.

If I ever really need to get inside it (never happens, but just in case) I can just type ‘recycle’ into the address bar and jump in, but it’s nicer to just have a blank desktop and use it as a temp working folder instead of seeing everything on screen.

I’m having it like this from the Windows 7 days with the help of a custom toolbar and hiding all desktop icons in the settings

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