Analysis: Windows 11 has leaked. It’s a bunch of BS

But now, six years later, Windows 11 is on its way. We can only assume Microsoft (MSFT) got bored, because what we’ve seen so far of Windows 11 doesn’t feel like anything revolutionary.

A complete internal version of Windows 11 has leaked online. You can download it from some sketchy websites, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Still, it’s there, and it appears legit.

Based on the leak, Windows 11 is full of mostly small visual changes.

That’s … pretty much it. Microsoft will reportedly update the Microsoft Store, but that wasn’t featured in the version of Windows 11 that leaked.

Here’s a quick visual synopsis from The Verge’s Tom Warren, who was braver than I and installed Windows 11 on a virtual machine.

The visual update is welcome. Microsoft has been teasing a big fall refresh for Windows 10, which makes sense for its longest-serving operating system version. (Windows XP was around for five years before Vista, so Windows 10 is the record holder — congrats!)

But new Windows versions usually bring some kind of new functionality or promise. If this really is all we’re getting, it feels a lot more like Windows 10.1 than Windows 11.

So why is Microsoft breaking its promise and turning Windows up to 11? Marketing.

Windows 10 was built for an era in which smartphones became the dominant computing tools and PCs were used almost exclusively for productivity. Sales dipped as people stopped buying new computers every couple years, and Microsoft shifted its strategy away from the whiz-bang new OS every few years to a far more boring but more consistent operating-system-as-a-service model.

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Then Covid hit. People are living their lives on their PCs, which are suddenly hot commodities again. Microsoft was caught a bit flat footed, as Chromebooks flew off shelves for remote-school students and Apple introduced its blazing-fast M1 chip for Macs.

Introducing: Windows 11. It may be Windows 10 with a sleek new interface, but it’s something Microsoft and its PC manufacturing partners can hang their hats on for back-to-school.

Of course, we’ll have to wait until Microsoft officially unveils Windows 11. Maybe there’s something magical under the hood that we can’t see from the leaks. Microsoft is expected to reveal Windows 11 on June 24 at 11 am ET.