Microsoft's Windows 11 presentation on Thursday was focused on everything shiny and new in its next iteration of Windows. It's faster. It has a new look. It can run Android apps and features a redesigned Microsoft Store. But there's also quite a bit of old Windows getting the boot in Windows 11, which Microsoft detailed on a new support page. There are quite a few features getting cut that you won't miss, and some you'll probably be actively glad to see gone.
The one that immediately leaps out to me is Cortana. It doesn't sound like Cortana's dead, but the AI assistant will no longer be part of the install experience or pinned to the taskbar.
Another big change: Skype will no longer be built in on new installs. (Microsoft is definitely all about integrating Teams, now, so you won't have totally escaped a baked-in Microsoft video chat program).
And there's more. Snipping Tool's old version is being phased out in favor of the more modern Snip & Sketch (Windows+Shift+S shortcut). But they're keeping the older Snipping Tool name. Also, Paint 3D is gone on fresh installs. Did anyone use that?
Several other features are being replaced by the new Widgets feature, and the Timeline (Windows+Tab) is gone altogether.
Here's the full list from Microsoft's site with more detail.
When upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10 or when installing an update to Windows 11, some features may be deprecated or removed. Please see below for information regarding some of the key features impacted:
- Cortana will no longer be included in the first boot experience or pinned to the Taskbar.
- Desktop wallpaper cannot be roamed to or from device when signed in with a Microsoft account.
- Internet Explorer is disabled. Microsoft Edge is the recommended replacement and includes IE Mode which may be useful in certain scenarios.
- Math Input Panel is removed. Math Recognizer will install on demand and includes the math input control and recognizer. Math inking in apps like OneNote are not impacted by this change.
- News & Interests has evolved. New functionality has been added which can be found by clicking the Widgets icon on the Taskbar.
- Quick Status from the Lockscreen and associated settings are removed.
- S Mode is only available now for Windows 11 Home edition.
- Snipping Tool continues to be available but the old design and functionality in the Windows 10 version has been replaced with those of the app previously known as Snip & Sketch.
Start is significantly changed in Windows 11 including the following key deprecations and removals:
- Named groups and folders of apps are no longer supported and the layout is not currently resizable.
- Pinned apps and sites will not migrate when upgrading from Windows 10.
- Live Tiles are no longer available. For glanceable, dynamic content, see the new Widgets feature.
- Tablet Mode is removed and new functionality and capability is included for keyboard attach and detach postures.
Taskbar functionality is changed including:
- People is no longer present on the Taskbar.
- Some icons may no longer appear in the System Tray (systray) for upgraded devices including previous customizations.
- Alignment to the bottom of the screen is the only location allowed.
- Apps can no longer customize areas of the Taskbar.
- Timeline is removed. Some similar functionality is available in Microsoft Edge.
- Touch Keyboard will no longer dock and undock keyboard layouts on screen sizes 18 inches and larger.
- Wallet is removed.
The following apps will not be removed on upgrade but will no longer be installed on new devices or when clean-installing Windows 11. They are available for download from the Store:
PC Gamer Newsletter
Sign up to get the best content of the week, and great gaming deals, as picked by the editors.
Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter and Tested before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.
When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).