Windows 11 leak suggests Microsoft is making some big changes

Windows 11
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Windows 11 looks set to get some exciting new features in upcoming updates, with a leak emerging that apparently shows off Microsoft’s plans.

As Neowin reports, the leak comes courtesy of Albacore, a Twitter account that's well known for leaking Windows features. In a series of Tweets we were given a glimpse of what are claimed to be some of changes Microsoft is making to Windows 11.

The first is a new ‘Stickers’ feature for Windows 11. Users will be able to edit stickers and add them to the desktop. These stickers can be placed over your desktop wallpaper, and will apparently remain there if you change wallpapers – though Albacore suggests this feature won’t work if you use a slideshow as your background, or if you have multiple monitors.

It’s also not currently clear if these ‘Stickers’ will be purely decorative, or if they could offer some sort of functionality, such as displaying the date and time.

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More changes

Changes are also said to be coming to how notifications are shown in Windows 11. This appears to be an area where Microsoft struggles, as notifications in both Windows 10 and Windows 11 haven’t worked as well as many had hoped, with the notifications either being too distracting, or not distracting enough (and easily missed).

According to Albacore, there will be a new ‘Set priority notifications’ setting, which should hopefully give users more control over what notifications they get. Focus Assist, which is a quick setting for turning off or minimizing notifications, is also getting a new name – it’ll just be known as ‘Focus’.

There will also be new options for the ‘Focus’ setting, allowing you to hide badges on taskbar apps (and stop them flashing) and mute notifications. The aim of this mode is to minimize distractions so you can keep focused on the task at hand.

A new ‘Sustainability’ page is also being added to the Settings app. This will allow you to manage the power settings of your device so that it runs more efficiently, and there's also a link to information about how to safely recycle your device.

The page also has leaf-shape icons, and these look like the'll be used to give your device a rating for how energy-efficient it is.

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It also looks like some form of ‘tablet mode’ will come to Windows 11 that automatically hides the Taskbar when you use your device as a tablet (for example when using a 2-in-1 laptop in its tablet configuration).

It’s not clear when these new features will appear in Windows 11, if indeed they appear at all, but as some have been spotted in early builds it's possible that we could see them in Windows 11’s upcoming major update, known as Sun Valley 2, which is likely to come out in the second half of 2022.

Analysis: tweaks are welcome – but don’t forget the bigger stuff

Assuming this leak proves to be the real deal, these new features would broadly be welcome. While we’re not too sure how useful the Stickers feature will be, giving users more control over notifications, and information on how they can make their device run more efficiently, would certainly be great additions to Windows 11.

However, while it’s nice to get new features and performance tweaks, we don’t want Microsoft to take its eye off the bigger picture. There are still a few things it needs to iron out in Windows 11, including some vital missing features – such as the facility to drag and drop files onto apps pinned to the Taskbar – and we’d like Microsoft to prioritize addressing these issues, rather than worrying about cosmetic changes.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.