Search also dynamically searches as you type, which speeds up the process

To its credit, Search does a solid job of listing relevant apps, documents, web results, and more to match your search terms. Nevertheless, it all still feels somewhat incoherent.

Next to the Search icon is Task View, which hasn’t changed much from Windows 10. Task View and the Alt + Tab functionality still overlap considerably. The Alt + Tab functionality shows all of the windows that you have open, including the option to include the most recent 3 or 5 tabs within Edge. Microsoft introduced Task View in Windows 10 as a way to shift between arrangements of various windowed apps on laptops and other single-screen devices. It’s still an excellent tool for working on the road, but you might not find it as useful when your PC has access to multiple physical monitors.

What doesn’t come with Task View is the Timeline function, which tracked which documents and Web pages that you’d used as a way of picking up where you left off on multiple PCs. Timeline is somewhat preserved within the shared browser history within Microsoft Edge-if you use Edge-but the lack of Timeline has prompted howls of sorrow from some corners of PCWorld.

Teams Chat

After the death of My People, Microsoft’s latest effort to connect you with your friends via your PC is Chat (sometimes referred to as Teams Chat), which lives in your Taskbar right next to the File Explorer folder icon. It’s slow, unnecessary, and the privacy implications are somewhat unsettling, too. We’re not sure you’ll want anything to do with it.

Chat expects you to manage your personal life via the personal Microsoft Teams experience Microsoft launched earlier this year, via a separate mobile app and now Windows 11. During setup, the app asks you to log in and connect your Microsoft account to any Outlook and Skype contacts, then provides you a Teams-like interface to hold chats, launch video calls, and so forth. Upon clicking the Chat icon a second time, a list of frequently-accessed contacts appears, with shortcuts to perform chats and make video calls.

The transition from the Chat icon to the fuller Teams experience required several seconds to complete, and that experience felt very simplistic and slow. I have concerns on several fronts. First, anyone who has your linked email and/or phone number can message you-there’s no global “do not disturb” feature, and you can’t simply delete your profile in Teams to make yourself non-discoverable. Yes, you can remove your email or phone number from your Microsoft account to hide yourself, but why should you? Why does managing your presence in Teams require downloading the mobile app? It also seems a bit arrogant to expect that Microsoft thinks we’ll drop our own established networks of messaging apps to migrate them all to Teams. It’s this last point that will likely doom Teams Chat, eventually.

Widgets

Widgets is one of the major new additions within Windows 11, a gargantuan drawer of news and information that slides out from the left-hand-side of the screen at the click of its Taskbar icon. Like many other things in Windows 11, the Widgets drawer isn’t resizeable.

I’m torn on the concept of Widgets. As a journalist and hungry news swapfinder amsterdam consumer, I love that I can pop out Widgets, see relevant Windows Start news and information, and review my Outlook calendar, see Windows tips, photos, and more. I also appreciated the Cortana-powered summary of your day that originally appeared in Windows 10. In a not-so-strange way, Widgets is simply the “Live” in Windows 10’s Live Tiles, relegated to its own corner of Windows. It’s as if someone at Microsoft said, “Let’s separate what makes Windows fun from what makes Windows practical, and assign them their own locations.”