Leaked Windows 11 screenshots apparently confirmed to be genuine

The shadow of the window frame hints at the number 11. Windows 11, geddit? (Image credit: Microsoft)

These may be some of the first screenshots of the Windows 11 operating system expected to be announced at a special event later this month. 

First appearing over at Chinese-language site, Baidu, and listed as Windows 11 beta version, the screenshots from user sdra_owen purport to show a new app browser window and centralised taskbar design. It's a little more, dare I say, MacOS style than we're used to over on Windows. That said, it's actually almost an exact image of the now cancelled Windows 10X UI.

Screen queens

(Image credit: Future)

Best gaming monitor: pixel-perfect panels for your PC
Best high refresh rate monitor: screaming quick screens
Best 4K monitor for gaming: when only high-res will do
Best 4K TV for gaming: big-screen 4K PC gaming

Screenshots of a yet unreleased operating system would usually be all too easy to fake, especially ones that appear near-enough identical to one of Microsoft's previous projects. In fact, the listed install date on one of the screenshots is in the future, and the settings window doesn't match the softer design ethos evident in the screenshot of the new Start menu. Neither of which inspire confidence in its veracity.

That said, despite my own misgivings these may be the real deal yet. The Verge's Tom Warren is happy to confirm that yes, actually, this really is what the UI and taskbar will look like with the upcoming Windows update. And I guess that the new version of Microsoft's OS is indeed going to be called Windows 11.

Windows Central has also previously said they expect a centralised taskbar to feature in a future version of Windows.

Recent job postings from Microsoft have alluded to a "multi-year journey" to overhaul Windows 10, so we know something is in the works for the wildly popular OS.

We still can't be entirely confident that this is how Windows 11, as it's likely to be called, will appear at launch. That said, I'm not immediately disgusted by the change, but that's perhaps because I almost never visit the start menu anyways, and the rest of the UI appears to be very similar to Windows 10.

If the rumours are true, this may be the beginning of more iterative updates to the OS on the whole, so perhaps the Windows 10 to Windows 11 jump won't be as dramatic as we've come to expect from named updates.

The Windows Sun Valley update is still reportedly coming later this year, although that may now be incorporated into Windows 11. There's talk of more floating UI design with the big update, which tallies with what we're seeing leaked today, so I'm inclined to believe that is indeed the case. The only way to be sure, however, is to check out Microsoft's June 24 event, so don't miss it.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would later go on to win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top team as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. He also enjoys making short videos for TikTok and believes everyone reading this should go follow our account immediately.