With Notepad being updated for Windows 11, what other apps could benefit?

Windows 11 remote desktop
(Image credit: Microsoft)

More of Microsoft’s apps are slowly being updated to match the aesthetic of Windows 11, but three apps could also benefit from this upgrade.

Notepad is the latest to reap the benefits of Fluent Design, with re-arranged features, an updated look, and a dark mode option for when you decide to change your desktop theme to a darker shade.

Currently in testing in the Insider Build Dev Channel of Windows 11, where you can test features under development, it’s the most significant update of Notepad in years, similar to Paint’s update a few months ago.

However, with Notepad and soon a new Windows Media Player about to be released to everyone in a forthcoming update, we wondered what other applications could benefit from a similar refresh in Windows 11.

Our three picks

Weather

Windows 11 weather widget

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Users of iOS 15 have been treated to a redesigned weather app, which adapts to the state of the weather in your location. If it’s raining, droplets of water will bounce and land on the menus, while a ray of sunshine with lens flare will cover the whole layout on another day.

Seeing something similar in Windows 11 would be great, compared to the simple user interface we currently have. There’s a weather widget, but it feels as though there should be more to take advantage of the Fluent Design language of Windows 11.

Alongside this, notifications would be a great addition for when there’s rain scheduled, so you can prepare for an umbrella when you need to head out for some errands.

Pinball

Pinball3D running in Edge browser, in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

While you can download games from the redesigned Microsoft Store, alongside Android apps that are about to arrive for Windows 11, there’s a distinct lack of built-in games available.

Windows XP, released in 2001, arrived with a built-in pinball game that allowed you to ramp up high scores to see how long you could last with three balls.

While we spoke about how the game has been rebuilt as a web app, we’d love to see a sequel or a remake come to Windows 11. Have it feature achievements and unique 2-player modes. Perhaps allow each player to control one flip action, while another controls part of the pinball table.

There’s plenty of potential here, and after twenty years, it’s time for a revival.

Windows Update

Windows 11 update showing as available

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Updating your PC can be frustrating, especially when an update doesn’t work properly. Going to the Settings app in Windows 11 is a slight improvement compared to Windows 10, mainly due to available updates being more visible, but there’s a lot more that can be done.

Easier ways of seeing which updates were installed and which failed would be a great first start, but the process of registering and de-registering for the Windows Insider Programme could go a long way.

This is where you can try out versions of Windows under development that have features not available to the wider public. This is how Notepad and the new Windows Media Player are currently being tested.

If you want to remove your PC from the Insider Programme, you’re required to wipe your PC, which isn’t an ideal solution. Apple does it better by removing your Mac or iOS from the beta program once a new update is officially released, leaving your data completely.

Instead, having the Insider Programme and Windows Update as one separate app, with a simplified user interface could be a big help to those who are anxious about updating their PCs, in fear of updates worsening their devices.

Updates with explainers on what they are and what they feature could help break down that anxiety and give a greater understanding of what an update can provide.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.