Windows 11 could be on the way – here’s what we know so far

16 Jun 2021

Image: © Scanrail/Stock.adobe.com

After screenshots of Windows 11 appeared online, there has been much speculation about the upcoming operating system’s features.

Following the news that Microsoft would end support for Windows 10 in October 2025, leaked details about the company’s newest operating system have emerged.

Screenshots of what is believed to be the upcoming Windows 11 first appeared on Chinese site Baidu, showing a centralised Start menu with rounded corners and a new start-up sound.

The centred menu in particular is reminiscent of the planned Windows 10X, which the company killed last month, suggesting some of the plans and features from the 10X design may have been taken for the new Windows 11.

Speaking about shelving the 10X release, head of Windows servicing and delivery, John Cable, said: “Instead of bringing a product called Windows 10X to market in 2021 like we originally intended, we are leveraging learnings from our journey thus far and accelerating the integration of key foundational 10X technology into other parts of Windows and products at the company.”

A version of Windows 11 then leaked online yesterday (15 June) and The Verge’s Tom Warren explored it.

“If you don’t want the app icons and Start menu centred, there’s an option to move them all back to the left-hand side,” he wrote.

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“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.”

Warren’s investigation into the leaked operating system also found a new icon that suggests a return to Windows Widgets.

While the widgets didn’t load fully because it is a very early version of Windows 11, he said they are designed to slide out and provide quick access to content such as news and weather.

The leak of Windows 11 comes just over a week before a Microsoft event in which it plans to unveil new products and updates, including a potential new version of Windows.

At the company’s developer conference last month, chief executive Satya Nadella said that Microsoft was planning “one of the most significant updates of Windows of the past decade”.

Microsoft has listed 14 October 2025 as the end date for support for Windows 10’s pro and home editions.

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic

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