Jeremiah Hoyet

Jeremiah Hoyet


Web developer/Web Platform Advocate
@_hoyet
Open Source /#linux
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My thoughts on Windows 11, so far

As of writing, it’s been less than 24 hours since I decided to take the plunge and upgrade Windows 11 on my home PC. I haven’t had a chance to put it through the paces entirely, but here are my initial thoughts.

Installation

I can’t blame Microsoft or Windows Update for not informing me that my machine was ready to go, but that was a minor annoyance. Microsoft provides an installation assistant utility to get you updated whenever you would want. However, this “assistant” had me download several other utilities in order for it to function.

After battling with the assistant, the process kicked off by downloading the installation package. This was quick and painless, until I was informed that Virtual Box would have to be removed or upgraded to move forward. Again, a minor annoyance, and I’m glad the installer took the time to check for incompatible software.

This was when my PC restarted to complete the installation… this part of the process took almost an hour to complete. Most of that time was spent looking at a black screen with white text reading “Working on updates 10%”. Very exciting!

First Impressions

I’m not going to beat a dead horse, the visual changes that Microsoft made to Windows 11 are both bad and good. There’s a lot of content going over the nuances.

Personally, I don’t like the centered task bar, or having more than one. I sought out these settings right after logging in for the first time. Later on in the evening, I started coding and decided to re-enable the “Show my taskbar on all displays” option to give it an honest try.

WSL/WSLg

I’m a nerd, meaning I was really excited to upgrade because of the latest and greatest Windows Subsystem for Linux features! The feature that I was most interested in was the ability to run Linux GUI applications. There is some required setup if you want GPU hardware acceleration that I did do. You can read more about that on the WSLg GitHub README.

For example, if I wanted to use a popular text editor, GEdit:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install gedit

After running those commands in my WSL instance, the text editor is added to my start menu:

Gedit in the start menu

Clicking the icon will launch the application:

Gedit window opened

However, you might notice that the window looks a bit funny. That’s because the application is being launched from Linux, without any fancy window decorations installed. Windows is simply opening up a remote desktop instance and painting it on the screen. While I’m sure we could make the window decorations prettier, this is just fine for my use cases!

Problems

I’ll write a follow-up blog post if I run into any other issues, but so far I have encountered three issues:

  1. WSL wasn’t started by default after upgrading, leading to an annoying issue where launching Windows Terminal with Ubuntu set as my default would result in an error.
  2. In order to use WSLg with GPU hardware acceleration, I was forced to install a “beta” quality Nvidia driver.
  3. Although the patch for AMD CPU performance was released a few days ago, a fresh install still required an update to get things running smoothly.
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