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Windows 11 Continues to Evolve by Moving the Cheese

Article posted on 3/15/2022

When Microsoft released Windows 11 late last year, it was clear that the OS was still a work in progress. There were quite a few missing features, like being able to move the taskbar to the top of the screen, folders in the Start menu, and a lot more.

As the months have progressed, the company has been releasing updates within their Insider program to bring "new" features in order to backfill these gaps. While doing so, the company is also introducing new functionality - but at the same time, they are already moving content around within the OS.

Now that may not seem like a big deal, but in the latest build of Windows 11 on the Dev channel there is a new search experience that the company claims will enhance the search experience for users of the OS.

Image Credit: Microsoft

Image Credit: Microsoft

But, there is a problem: Microsoft has a habit of forcing users to stay within their own ecosystem and place ads inside your workflow. We have seen this already with the company making it harder to switch away from the Edge browser, pushing MSN content in the widgets, and now the search update looks to be the new home of external content invading your desktop.

There isn’t much you can do about it - at least, not natively. Microsoft is going to push this update out to everyone later this year and widgets will arrive inside the search panel as you can see in the image above.

Even if you don’t care about the content being injected into your search window, the experience is still a bit jarring, as searching on Windows 11 opens a separate window from the Start menu. When we built Start11, we aimed to address this awkward experience by building our search experience directly inside the Start menu.

The other benefit of the search experience with Start11 is that we do not inject third-party content from MSN or other sources – it’s your content, and your content alone. If you don’t like how Microsoft is moving your search cheese, Start11 lets you put it back where it belongs.

When we think about how Start11 has evolved the Windows 11 experience, we like to talk about how we are extending the functionality of the OS. However, the origins of StartX is with Windows 8 and bringing the Start menu back. And with Windows 11, Start11 returned classic functionality to Windows that was in Windows 10/8/7, but not in Windows 11.

Start11 keeps third-party content out of your workflow. While Microsoft is not saying they are going to put ads in the search experience, I would not be surprised to see it happen as they have already shown they will put ads in the Start menu itself.