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The 5 biggest problems with Windows 11 right now

With new visuals, multitasking features, and a new Microsoft Store, Windows 11 marks a new era for the Windows operating system. That doesn’t mean it is all perfect, though.

Many who were quick to adopt the new OS have also been quick to point out some of the issues when compared to Windows 10 — just look at Twitter for some core examples. We’re there, too, and have used Windows 11 as our main OS since it was in beta, but we still think there are five core problems that Microsoft needs to address.

Memory leaks

Windows 11 memory leak bug.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The first problem we want to point out is one that is well documented. In Windows 11, File Explorer suffers from a memory leak. What this means is that even if you open and then close the File Explorer app, it will still consume your system RAM in the background. On gaming systems, as well as systems where RAM might be limited, this is a big problem when it comes to day-to-day performance. Your system won’t be using all available resources and, in the case of the File Explorer, overuse those resources.

In our tests, File Explorer consumed 80MB of memory, and when we opened 50 windows, memory usage jumped to 640MB. Even after closing the windows and waiting for a couple of hours, File Explorer was still eating up about 420MB of memory.

Admittedly, this isn’t something that everyone will be doing, but it is still a problem. What’s worse is that it is something that has persisted since Windows 11 was in beta testing (Microsoft documented the issue in a Windows Insider build), but it hasn’t been addressed in the final version of the OS. We hope that a Patch Tuesday security patch can address this, but it remains one of our top problems in Windows 11.

Performance issues

The CPU in Windows 11.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Windows 11 promises to improve the performance of your PC thanks to the way it manages foreground and background tasks, but that’s not always the case. There are still some people who are reporting performance issues with the new operating system. These, too, have been well-documented, and it’s why this lands at number two on our list.

The best example of the performance issue involves Windows 11 systems with AMD processors. On October 6, AMD posted a notice warning of performance drops on AMD processors of up to 15%, especially when gaming or using applications that rely on the CPU’s memory subsystem.

The problem only impacts select Ryzen processors, but it’s a notable one, to say the least. A fix is coming for October, but no specific date was provided as of yet.

Compatibility issues

Compatibility issues in Windows 11.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The biggest controversy with Windows 11 relates to the systems it is compatible with. By now, you probably know that the new OS only works on systems with an Intel 8th-generation or newer processor or AMD Ryzen 2000 series or newer that supports TPM 2.0. Microsoft has held that this is due to security, reliability, and compatibility.

Yet, that also has left many modern systems in the dust and unable to run Windows 11. In fact, even in the workplace, reports find that the Windows 11 requirements are too high for most workstations, with 55% not being able to automatically upgrade to the new OS. As for consumers, one survey conducted in the months before the Windows 11 launch found that 20% of people don’t have the requirements to run Windows 11.

Microsoft still recommends that it’s best to meet system requirements to run Windows 11, but it does provide a workaround for incompatible systems. This involves using the Media Creation tool or tweaking the registry when using the Installation Assistant. You can see this on the Ways to Install Windows 11 page.

Even so, Microsoft hasn’t been clear about what happens if you install Windows 11 on an unsupported PC. It warns that these devices “will no longer be guaranteed to receive updates,” but despite our attempts to get a straight answer, Microsoft hasn’t been clear on this point.

Also relating to this point is the “slow rollout” of Windows 11. Despite releasing on October 4, not everyone is getting Windows 11 right away for compatibility reasons. To ensure a quality experience, Microsoft is rolling out Windows 11 in phases just like it did with Windows 10 featured updates.

Hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, the age of the device, and “other factors that impact the upgrade experience” go into when you’ll see Windows 11 in Windows Update. Officially, Microsoft mentioned that it’s officially expecting all eligible PCs to receive the update by mid-2022.

Lack of customization

Laptop screen showing the Windows 11 Start Menu reverted to classic.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Windows 10 featured many ways to customize the OS. You could move the Taskbar around to the top of the screen or drag files to the Taskbar, and a lot more. Microsoft, though, removed a lot of the customization options in Windows 11, and it has left some people angry.

Some of the features removed in Windows 11 include the ability to move the Taskbar around on the screen, as in Windows 11, it’s locked to the bottom. In addition, it’s not possible to pin files to the Taskbar, as dragging a file down will just show a “no” icon. Other features removed include the ability to pin a folder to the Start Menu, the full-context right-click menu on the Taskbar, and separate power settings for the battery on the Taskbar.

A lot of these functions can be restored with the third-party program Start11. It’s a paid program, however. But since they’ve proven you can bring back some of these features, maybe Microsoft can too in a future Windows 11 update.

Windows 10 leftovers

Design problems in Windows 11.

Highlighted features of Windows 11 are the rounded corners and cleaner look, but it’s not all pretty. There are some areas in Windows 11 that aren’t quite as polished and are still leftovers from Windows 10.

The best place to see this is in the classic control panel. Even though Windows 11 has a redesigned settings app, the OS still has the same control panel from Windows 7 and Windows 10. It does a lot of the same things as the new settings app and doesn’t support the dark mode.

In other areas, the volume sliders are the same as the ones in Windows 8 and Windows 10 — a black square box with square icons. Even the PIN pad on the login screen and the pop-out Wi-Fi menu on the lock screen are the same as Windows 10.

Once-a-year update offers hope … ?

In a big change from Windows 10, Microsoft will only be updating Windows 11 once a year. Just like MacOS, this offers Microsoft more time to apply fixes, add new features, and test new versions of the OS with Windows Insiders. There might be some issues in Windows 11 now, but there’s hope that it can be fixed.

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Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
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