This New Windows 11 Feature Reeks of Windows 8

This New Windows 11 Feature Reeks of Windows 8

Microsoft is currently experimenting with a new feature of Windows 11 that makes it feel just that little bit more like Windows 8.

At this moment, I’m figuratively slamming my foot down on the brake, hoping the company will just slow down on Windows changes soon.

Through the company’s ‘Canary’ build of Windows (for beta testers), ‘Start Menu Companions’ are being added – and that just sounds like a fancy way of saying ‘Live Tiles’. The update was brought to our attention by a post from @thebookisclosed on Twitter (X) and Digital Trends.

Live Tiles were a definitive characteristic of Windows 8, and were a big part of the separation between it and 7. Live Tiles were built upon the standard ‘Tiles’ of the Windows 8 Start Menu layout, along with the Windows 10 Start Menu (the tile-based approach was dropped in 11). The ‘Live’ comes from their ability to feed you information from inside their app – able to tell you, for example, how many unchecked emails you have, or what upcoming calendar events you might have.

My problem with the original Live Tiles was that they were often slow and wrong. I’d be getting emails without the Live Tile being updated, for example.

It’s expected that, with this card-like approach, developers will be able to make their own live-updating features for the ‘Smart Menu Companions’.

Windows 11 is a far cry from the travesty that was 8 – 11 might not be perfect, but in its current state, it definitely feels like the ‘every second Microsoft OS is bad’ curse has been somewhat broken.

That being said, Microsoft loves adding new “features” to the system. The feature getting the most air time as of late has been Copilot, the AI-powered assistant that you can access by just pressing Windows Key + C (it’s sometimes useful, but most of the time irrelevant). Don’t let Copilot suck up too much air though, because last month, Microsoft added ads to the Windows 11 start menu, and just recently, updates have rolled out that enable widgets on the lock screen.

Anyway, while Microsoft hasn’t made a big deal about this new feature, we can expect to see it on the standard version of Windows 11 sometime in the future.

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