Windows 11 – Early Use

It has been about a month since installing Window 11 on my laptop and for the most part, I’ve found the transition fairly seamless. With the notable exception of the Minecraft Launcher crash, the majority of my experience to date is very much the same as before.

I am still getting used to some interface differences, though. For example, I have to adjust my habitual expectations when I right click on files to access the action options. What used to be a simple list, is now a mixture of list and buttons. It is taking me a while to remember the button icons so it slows me down, but I’m sure over time they’ll become second nature.

One feature I was hoping a future update would improve is the start screen. Although the most recent update increased it a little bit, it still is smaller than the Windows 10 version and therefore allows for fewer tiles (shortcuts) to open various apps. I used that extensively (expanded start menu) in Windows 10 and now I find I do not have enough slots for the number of apps I use regularly enough to warrant a shortcut, but not so often that I want the shortcut on the task bar. I should note here my idiosyncrasy – I do not like ANYTHING on the desktop, so that means I rely on the start menu and task bar for quick access.

One tweak I made immediately was to move the task bar icons to the left side. I do not like them in the center.

The different look of notifications in the lower right corner of the screen is also a bit annoying. It is cluttered by the calendar showing each time I check the notifications. So far, I have not found a way to change that other than to minimize the full month view of the calendar to show just the current date. I don’t mind (even like) having the time/date show on the task bar, but I do not want the calendar to pop up every time there is a notification to see.

Overall, I like the general look of Windows 11 better than 10.

Desktop Major Freeze

I have intentionally waited a few weeks to see if the issue would repeat itself, but so far it has not. The issue? A major freeze of the desktop (using Windows 10).

I do not know for sure what happened, but it took a failed shutdown & startup followed by hard shutdown to fix the problem. I am suspecting the motherboard may be failing. It is well over 10 years old now and I’ve been somewhat surprised that it has lasted this long.

Another issue that may or may not be related is the suspicious failing of WD Backup to actually back up changed files. The notifications, both in Windows 10 and in the app itself, show that a backup was started then finished, but when I check the files, they are not really backed up with the latest changes.

I use two different WD backup drives and this problem started with one (My Book) but not the other (Passport). I finally just deleted the failing backup profile and started over and for the My Book drive it appears to be working again now. However, shortly after that failure, the Passport backup stopped working and for quite a while it also was not fixed until I started over.

At that point, I suspected the issue to be the WD Backup software needing an update. That suspicion came from the fact that my original issue first appeared after a major Windows 10 update. Another reason I suspected the WD software is I have had some issues with the same software on my laptop (Passport Ultra), but in that case, it just occasionally reported that not all files could be backed up. When I checked which files they are, they turned out to be obscure files, sometimes just one file, and a backup or two later the complete backup worked fine again.

Even so, I finally woke up and went online to the WD support site and discovered they are no longer supporting WD Backup and they recommend Acronic True Image instead. I decided to give it a try, so downloaded and installed it on my laptop (taking a chance that it would work with Windows 11 even though the info online about it does not say it does). It didn’t take me too long to decide that it has some problems – maybe Windows 11 related? – and uninstalled it a day later. I did not like it anyway, especially because the file save format is proprietary and one cannot see the files in File Explorer.

So, I’m back to using WD Backup and will just have to deal with its idiosyncrasies.