The most important update in Windows 11 is 😎 and I 💖 it

Microsoft Windows 11 happy face
(Image credit: Microsoft)

I have found the one feature update that no-one has mentioned about Windows 11, the new emoji keyboard. All I can say is I 💖 the new layout and think it's hella 😎.  The newest version of Windows was announced last week, but already the Windows 11 Insider Preview build has been released and we've been messing around with it since it dropped yesterday.

I chose to dual-boot my system so as not to wipe my existing install as things are bound to go wrong. Alan went all-in and just did an in situ update over his main rig, the mad man. It's a dangerous game; I've already discovered one of my current games, Snowrunner, isn't snowrunning on Windows 11.

Thankfully Football Manager 2021 is, or I'd be seriously 😡.

Given our penchant for the em-dash here at PC Gamer, the emoji keyboard has become something I rely upon with my standard Windows 10 machine. Everyone keeps telling me that Alt-codes are a thing, but I've never managed to get one to work, so it's either an auto-substitution in Google Docs or the trusty emoji keyboard.

Sadly in Windows 10 it's a tiny little thing, a wee black panel that almost seems to be ashamed of its own existence 😔. But not in Windows 11; if you hit the [Win] + [Period] keys it brings up a larger, smiley-enriched panel that also now offers you the option to throw GIFs into whatever dialogue box will accept them, too.

(Image credit: Microsoft)
Perfect peripherals

(Image credit: Colorwave)

Best gaming mouse: the top rodents for gaming
Best gaming keyboard: your PC's best friend...
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It's got that signiture Windows 11 curve to the panel, that little drop shadow beneath it, and the emojis are finally large enough that you actually see what they are. There are more of them too, or at least it definitely feels that way. The classic Ascii emotes, or Kaomojis, are way better laid out now for sure.

It was a real (╯‵□′)╯︵┻━┻ moment trying to dig those out of Google every time you wanted to express something in oldentime speak.

🤷‍♀️ I'm just happy that we've got an easy, better-looking way to mess up the formatting on our site and upset the eyeballs of so many people in one fell swoop. Thank you Windows 11🙏

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.