Microsoft's upcoming Windows 11 operating system has been accidentally leaked online and it's given us plenty of insight into what to expect from the latest version that's been rumored for launch for a while now. After screenshots were initially published at Chinese site, Baidu (opens in new tab), the news soon spread leading to many journalists discovering that the entire Windows 11 OS has appeared online incluidng our sister site Windows Central (opens in new tab).
Take the plunge of installing the as yet officially released operating system and you'll discover plenty of new features including a new user interface, Start Menu, and a look that feels a little flatter and a little more macOS-ish. Expect to see it replace Windows 10 on the best home computers (opens in new tab) and the best laptops (opens in new tab) sometime in the future.
Perhaps the most distinctive change here is that the Start Menu is now in the middle of the screen. It's reminiscent of the much rumored Windows 10X user interface which was meant to be Microsoft's answer to ChromeOS - the platform favored by all Chromebooks, and it looks a little weird at first. It also looks rather like macOS's dock which spreads out from the middle of the screen on iMacs and MacBooks.
The Start Menu is also much simpler than what we have on Windows 10 at the moment with no Live Tiles and instead a focus on pinned apps and recent files. Even shutting down your system should be simpler to find than it currently is on Windows 10.
Elsewhere, everything about Windows 11 looks a little fancier right down to rounded corners everywhere to make things look a bit sleeker. It also looks like widgets will be making a return too although the early version of Windows 11 out there right now only offers a few of them and they're not loading properly yet. It looks like they will at least offer quick access to the news, weather, and other web content, but we're hopeful they'll end up a bit more powerful and useful than that in the long term. After all, the best web browsers (opens in new tab) already make this easy. On that note, we're hoping to see better integration and use of Edge here given Microsoft Edge (opens in new tab) has grown in strength in recent times.
What else is new? Well, the new Xbox app is now integrated into Windows 11 so you get quick and simple access to Xbox Game Pass games, as well as the social side of the Xbox network and the store. It doesn't sound too vast a change given the Xbox Game Bar and Windows Game Mode remain the same as with Windows 10 but fingers crossed, it makes a pivotal difference.
That's the thing about this Windows 11 leak so far. It's clearly a fairly early build of the operating system. As it stands, Microsoft is holding a special Windows event on June 24th which is expected to unveil the new operating system so consider this an unexpected teaser of what's to come in the meantime. Keep your eyes on the main event next week for more concrete details of what will actually be changed and improved in Windows 11. We wouldn't be surprised if there's more to come to make the new release more compelling.