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.

Minecraft Launcher Crash

A few days ago, I ran into some significant problems that took up a good deal of time in trouble-shooting for days. At this point, it is difficult to know for sure the root cause of the problems because so many different things were updated the same day, if not virtually the same time, but I’m fairly certain a major contributor was the new Minecraft Launcher. I saw the issue was acknowledged for Xbox Game Pass paid subscribers, but I am not one of them, however, the download process did require a login Microsoft account and went to the Xbox profile so maybe it is the same issue.

The series of changes that I did on the two computers include downloading and attempting to install the new Minecraft Launcher, upgrade to Windows 11 on my laptop (got the invitation), installing two cumulative updates to Windows 10 on the old desktop that does not qualify for upgrade.

Coincidentally, my invitation to upgrade to Windows 11 came the same day as the notice of the new Minecraft Launcher and that is the day the problems started.

I decided to upgrade to the new Minecraft Launcher first because I thought it would be relatively fast and I was curious to see what it was about given the hype in the notice. I also was not sure how long the upgrade to Windows 11 would take. When trying to download and install the new launcher it got hung up and never completely installed. When I checked the Microsoft Store it just showed pending, along with 6 other apps, most of which I never use and don’t care at all about. The download/install process never finished. I had the same problem on the desktop.

Back on the laptop, I just gave up and decided to do the upgrade to Windows 11. That went relatively smoothly including, not surprisingly, some updates immediately available.

When I tried to install the new Minecraft Launcher again in Windows 11, it worked and for a day I was able to launch and play Minecraft as normal. Then a couple of days later, when opening the launcher and clicking ‘play’ the whole system crashed all the way to the proverbial “blue screen” (now a dark gray screen in Windows 11). After waiting a minute or two for automatic reporting of the issue, Windows 11 rebooted and all but the launcher worked fine. I tried three times that day to open the launcher, each with the same crash and reboot result, so I quit using the new launcher and reinstalled the old one. Both launcher versions remain installed on my laptop and, fortunately, the old one works fine.

After waiting another day, I tried again to see if it was fixed and ended up with the crash again, so I have not even tried since. Maybe someday I’ll check online forums to see if it has been fixed, but I don’t really care that much because I’m fine with the old launcher and it appeared the new one was more for gamers who want to play on more than one platform and the rest of the new stuff was basically notification hype. Not interested!

Meanwhile on the desktop, the install process never completed. I ended up stopping it which meant deleting the download. The other six apps also never completed download/install so I had more work to do to figure out what was wrong, but that is another story for another post.

As of right now, I am still running the old Minecraft launcher on both machines and finding it works just fine for my use. It is a bit annoying to see the notice every time that there is a new launcher to download (on the desktop), and that as well as a second notice (on the laptop) that says it is installed, that I have to dismiss every time. So far, it is not annoying enough to just uninstall the new launcher as I did on the Windows 10 machine.

Windows 11

The latest version of Windows is now here. I first read about its planned release on The Verge a few months ago and have seen many articles since describing its new features as well as some of the things lost from Windows 10.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft is rolling out the upgrade invitations slowly. My understanding right now is new computers are the top priority. After a recent Windows update, I received notification that my gaming laptop meets the minimum hardware/security standards and eventually will receive an invitation to upgrade.

After using the Microsoft tool to check, I found that my desktop computer does not have the needed hardware for it. That is not surprising, since its motherboard dates back to 2010. I’ve already decided not to even try the work-arounds to install Windows 11 on it.

So, I’ve begun to look for a new desktop computer. I’m in no rush, though. I want to upgrade to Windows 11 on the laptop first, use it for a while to get used to it, and then decide if it is worth buying a new desktop right away. It is entirely possible I will just wait until the old motherboard eventually stops working.

For now, I’m watching and waiting.