Must-try Windows 11 customization features

Windows 11, the newest operating system from Microsoft, is a breath of fresh air for PC users. Designed to provide a personalized experience, it offers many ways to change your PC’s interface, from how windows look to how apps can be accessed. Here are some Windows 11 customization features that will give you more control over your PC settings.

Change your theme

The easiest way to customize Windows 11 is by changing your theme, including your desktop background and lock screen image. Just right-click anywhere on your desktop, then click on Personalize. This will lead you to the Personalization menu, where you can preview and choose different backgrounds and themes. You can even create new themes by using images from your gallery. You can also see more themes in the Microsoft Store by clicking “Browse more”.

Use dark mode

If light or bright colors are not your thing, Windows 11 is here to the rescue. To change your desktop’s colors, right-click on your desktop, choose Personalize, and click Colors. Then, select Dark under “Choose your default Windows mode”. This changes the colors of your taskbar and Start menu. If you want to change the color of your apps from white to black, pick Dark under “Choose your default app mode”. To restore your default settings, follow the same procedure under “Choose your default app mode” but click Light.

Create virtual desktops

Having trouble separating work files from personal files? Try creating a virtual desktop. You can do this by clicking on the Task view icon on the taskbar. This will display all your open windows. Just drag any window to the “New desktop” space on the lower part of the screen to create another desktop. Repeat the process if you want to add more windows to the new desktop. To add more virtual desktops, hover over the Task view icon and click on the + sign. To remove a virtual desktop, hover over the Task view icon and click the X button on the desktop you want to delete.

Try snap layouts

Snapping is not a new feature, but Windows 11 makes it more efficient by letting you snap any app or window wherever you are on your PC. Access snap layouts by hovering over a window’s maximize button or pressing Win + Z. You can then see which layouts are available to you, and pick the one that best suits your needs.

Reorganize your Start Menu

You can also personalize how your apps are arranged on the Start menu. For one, you can rearrange applications by dragging them anywhere around the Start menu. Or, if you won’t be using a particular application, simply right-click the tile and select Unpin from Start. On the other hand, if you want even faster access to your most-used apps, right-click on an app and choose Pin to taskbar

Disable all your notifications

Some people prefer to receive notifications, but some don’t. If you’re one of the latter and wish to never see notifications ever again, click on the gear icon on the taskbar to open Settings. Then, choose System > Notifications. From there, you can switch off whatever app notifications you don’t want popping up on your screen.

Personalize your Windows 11 PC however you like by using some or all of these options. If you want more ways to customize your device or if you need information on anything Windows 11-related, give us a call.

 

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The latest innovations in Windows 11

With Windows 10 installed in over a billion devices, the success of this operating system (OS) is going to be hard to replicate. However, that isn’t stopping Microsoft from trying to prove itself once again with its new OS, Windows 11. The new OS has new features that can help business owners and managers keep their IT infrastructure competitive.

Security features

Windows 11 continues what its predecessor has been doing, which is to provide apps that boost security and grant control over security and privacy settings.

OS level: Security baselines

Security requirements differ among different industries and organizations. For instance, a hospital must be HIPAA-compliant and maintain the privacy of patients’ health information, whereas a phone manufacturer would want to safeguard the fruits of its R&D department. Given the multitude of controls to set, security baselines help firms configure their own granular security settings and apply industry standards.

App level: Windows application security

When malware-laced apps and files are opened, malicious code may be executed alongside innocuous programming. Microsoft is well aware of how hackers abuse Office macros and turn these into cyberattack vectors, so it developed Windows application security to thwart such threats.

Device level: Microsoft Defender for Endpoint and Endpoint Manager

Defender for Endpoint is a security platform that keeps networks protected by detecting, analyzing, and responding to all types of cyberthreats. On the other hand, Endpoint Manager is an administrative tool for enforcing security compliance policies across all devices on your network. It helps an IT admin prevent data breaches and minimize their impact by isolating compromised devices.

User and identity level: Windows Hello for Business

As a security tool, passwords are obsolete because of how these have become easy to steal. Windows Hello for Business protects your organization at the end-user level by replacing passwords with biometrics or PINs that are kept locally in users’ devices.

Hybrid work innovations, productivity enhancements, and other helpful features

These innovations help users accomplish their tasks and provide nice-to-have conveniences:

Virtual desktops

Whether employees use company-issued devices or their own, they tend to use these for both work and personal tasks. Personal apps, files, and activities increase your organization’s exposure to cybersecurity risks, while the converse is also true: work apps, files, and activities may also expose an employee’s personal accounts to cybersecurity risks.

With virtual desktops, users can compartmentalize the professional and the personal by creating a separate desktop for each one. This separation helps limit the impact of a cybersecurity event to the affected desktop. Plus, compartmentalization has the added benefit of helping employees avoid personal distractions while at work, and unplug from work when their shift is over.

Windows Autopilot

Autopilot automatically takes care of preparing a Windows PC or HoloLens 2 for use whenever you issue one to an employee. Just have the employee sign in to their account, then Autopilot automatically does the following in the background:

  • Enrolls the device into Endpoint Manager, which then deploys work apps like Microsoft Teams
  • Applies policies and settings
  • Has the device join either Azure Active Directory or Active Directory

Autopilot can also be used to reset, repurpose, and recover machines.

Everything mentioned thus far can all be done without ever involving your IT admins, thereby allowing them to focus more on higher-value tasks.

Widgets

If there’s info that you consume regularly, such as news and weather reports, it’d be convenient to have a repository you can open with just one click. That’s what Widgets is for. Simply click on its icon on the taskbar to access your very own personalized information feed — no need to manually search in web browsers.

Widgets can also contain small apps like calendars and calculators. These apps are ready to be used and do not need to be launched separately.

Snap layouts

Snap layouts allow users to arrange app windows for when they’re using multiple apps simultaneously on a single screen. To illustrate, a data analyst may place two data sources on the left side of the screen while they work on their report in a spreadsheet on the right side.

Users can save a particular grouping of apps or layout into a Snap Group. This means that they can save a Snap Group for every task that requires a different set of apps. Therefore, when a user wants to perform a certain task, they can just open the related Snap Group to select the apps they need for that task. This is much faster than opening apps individually and setting your preferred layout every time. Furthermore, if a user has created multiple Snap Groups, they can easily switch to another Group when they have to perform a different task.

Power Automate

With Power Automate, users with practically no coding experience can leverage robotic process automation or RPA to automate repetitive processes and make their work tasks a lot easier. All a user has to do is to select from Power Automate’s 400-plus premade actions and utilize a recorder to keep track of keyboard functions and mouse actions. To illustrate, you can create automated email alerts that notify your team whenever a client submits a form, or you can automatically place purchase orders whenever supplies breach minimum quantity thresholds.

If you wish to deploy Windows 11 in your organization, let our IT experts help you out. Tell us more about your business requirements today.

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