Windows 11 was released to the public on October 5, 2021. The new OS is a major improvement in many areas making the new operating system user friendly, efficient and easy to use.
There are many new features in Windows 11 such as: a revamped UI, new multitasking options, virtual desktops, better memory management system, integrated Teams chat, enhanced gaming, widgets, Android apps, and restructured Settings menu. The following guide is designed for the beginners with no limited prior experience. The guide covers most aspects of what a working professional does in the workplace.
This page is designed to be the go-to place for learning how to learn and master Windows 11 for effectively using it in the workplace. We have developed both the full free course video accompanied by the quick guide below.
Windows 11 Full Tutorial – A 2 Hour Complete Course to Learn and Master Windows 11
Getting Started with Windows 11: A Quick Guide
Prepared by Sali Kaceli
The quick guide below has been designed to be concise on purpose for you to learn and master Windows 11. Feel free to link to this page.
WHAT IS NEW IN WINDOWS 11
There are at least 35 new features in Windows 11, most of which have been covered in the tutorial above. The main new features are:
- a revamped UI
- new multitasking options
- virtual desktops
- better memory management system
- integrated Teams chat
- enhanced gaming
- widgets, Android apps,
- restructured Settings menu.
Once your reboot the computer, enter your username and password. If someone else is already logged in, click on Switch Accounts option from the bottom left.
THE WINDOWS TASKBAR
The Taskbar contains key options for using the operating system such as the Start Menu, Windows Search, Virtual Desktops, Windows Explorer access and certain programs. On the right side, it lists applications currently running in the background along with the Action Center.
- The Start Menu allows you to access all the programs in the computer.
- Search allows to search for a program, settings or files.
- Desktops allows to create a new virtual desktop or switch between desktops.
- File Explorer allows access to files stored in the computer.
- The Widgets icon displays various updates such as weather, news etc.
- Teams Chat enables you to chat and video conference with anyone.
- Edge is the default browser for Windows 11.
- To customize the taskbar settings, right click on the Taskbar and select Taskbar Settings.
THE START MENU
The Windows 11 Start Menu incorporates the features of the Windows 10 but on a different position. The location can be changed by customizing the Taskbar Settings.
- Click on the Windows Logo and note the search functionality. To locate an app, simply start typing or click on All apps button locate your app.
- To add an application to Start menu, click on All Apps, locate the application, and then right click selecting Pin to Start.
- To remove an App from the tiles area, right click on it and choose Unpin.…
- To access the Start Menu Quick Options, right click on the Start Menu icon.
- To further customize the Start Menu, click on Start / Settings / Personalization / and then Start. Note the other options to customize the Background, Colors, Lock Screen, Themes etc.
Tip: Press the Windows key to access the Start Menu without clicking.
- To pin apps to the Taskbar, click Start / All Apps or search for the app, then right click and select Pin to Taskbar.
- To access key areas of managing Windows, right click on the Windows icon and select one of the options.
THE WINDOWS DESKTOP
The desktop allows you to launch applications or access files from the main desktop area.
- To add a program to the desktop, click on the Start Menu > All Programs > Drag the program icon to the desktop.
- To remove the icon from the desktop, simply press delete.
- To change desktop settings, right click anywhere where there are no icons and then select View and use one of the settings such as icon size etc.
- To further customize the desktop, right click where there are no icons and select Personalize.
- To create new virtual desktops, click on the Desktops icon on the Taskbar, and select new desktop.
LAUNCHING APPLICATIONS IN WINDOWS 11
- To launch an application, click on the icon on the Taskbar once.
- To launch an app from the desktop, doubleclick on the app’s icon.
- To launch an application from the Start Menu, locate the application and click on it once.
WORKING WITH ACTIVE APPLICATIONS
- To close the opened application, click on the X icon on the top right of the application bar.
- To minimize the application, click on the minimize icon – sign on the application bar.
- To resize the application window, click on the resize icon. Also note the various desktop layouts if you hold the mouse on the resize icon of the application bar. To select a position, simply click on it.
SWITCHING BETWEEN OPEN APPLICATIONS
- Hold the ALT key and press TAB and select the application.
- To switch between active apps, click on the application icon on the taskbar.
SEARCHING USING THE SEARCH ICON OR KEYSTROKE
- Press the Windows Key on the keyboard or click on the Search icon and start typing e.g. Word, or Settings.
ACCESSIG FILES / USING THE IMPROVED FILE EXPLORER
- Click on the File Explorer icon on the Taskbar.
- Note the various options on the left panel:
- Quick Access enables you to access recently accessed files and folder. To add a folder to Quick Access panel on the left, right click on the folder and select Pin to Quick access.
- Desktop displays the items on the main desktop.
- Documents displays folders and subfolders of your files under the account.
- Pictures is a shortcut to Pictures
- This PC shows al the devices connected to the PC.
- To change the default view of how the files show up, click on View and select the desired view under the layout area (e.g. List).
- To add a new file or folder, click on New on the top left bar.
- To copy files or folders, right click on the object selecting copy, then go to the new location and right click and press the Paste
- To create a .zip file, select a folder or a bunch of files, right click and select Compress to Zip
CONNECTING TO THE INTERNET
- If you use a wired connection, simply plugin the network cable.
- If you use a WIFI connection, click Connections icon on the Taskbar > click on the WIFI icon and make sure it is selected in Blue, then click on Manage WIFI Select your WIFI and enter the WIFI passphrase. Another option is to search for WIFI settings and then select Show Available networks.
BROWSING THE INTERNET USING MICROSOT EDGE
- Click on the Microsoft Edge icon on the Taskbar.
- Click through the prompts (if prompted)
- Type the URL of the site you want to visit in the address bar and press enter.
LOGGING OUT OR SHUTTING DOWN THE COMPUTER
- To logout, click on Start > click on your username > select Sign out.
- To lock the computer, click on Start > click on your username > Lock or use Windows Key + L.
- To shutdown the computer, click on Start > Power and then select Shutdown, or Reboot.
USING THE WINDOWS STORE
Like Google Play and Apple Store, Windows 10 offers the options for downloading apps that can be used across multiple devices.
- Press the Windows key on the keyboard and type Store.
- Open Windows Store and pick the app that you want like Apple/Android.
MODIFYING WINDOWS SETTINGS
- Click on the Search icon (or press the Windows key), then type Settings.
- Browse through the various categories of settings on the left. Note you can also search for a particular setting on the left panel. E.g. wallpaper.
PERSONALIZING THE LOOK AND FEEL OF WINDOWS 11
- Right click on the desktop and choose Personalize.
- Choose from one of the themes or backgrounds you like. This option is also in Settings.
CHANGING THE FONT SIZE
- Right click on the desktop and choose Display Settings.
- Scroll down to Scale and Layout section and change the scale %.
CONNECTING TO A PROJECTOR OR A SECONDARY SCREEN
- Press the Windows Key + P choose Project).
- Choose Duplicate (when connecting to a projector); Extended (two monitors).
PROJECTING TO THIS PC FROM A MOBILE DEVICE
This allows Windows devices that support Miracast or Android devices to connect to your Windows 11 PC. Note, both devices must be on the same WIFI network.
- Click on Search icon > Projection > Change settings to: Available from Anywhere > Ask every time a connection is requested and Pin to Always.
- Click on “Launch the Connect App to Project to this PC”.
UPDATING YOUR COMPUTER WITH THE LATEST UPDATES
- Click on Search > Windows Updates > Check for Updates
- Install the updates. Note you can change the settings under Advanced options.
USING THE WINDOWS SNAP LAYOUT FEATURE
- Maximize the application and drag the title bar to the top of the screen around the screen until you see the desired layout. Note you can also hold the mouse on the Window resize icon on the top right (to left of x icon) and select one of the layouts.
- Resize App to Half Screen: Windows Key + R or Windows Key + L (left).
USING THE STICKY NOTES
- Press the Windows Key and type Sticky Notes. (You can also choose to pin this application to the taskbar by right clicking on it)
- Start writing on the note.
USING THE SNIPPING TOOL
This is useful if you want to send part of a screenshot to someone via email, etc.
- Press the Windows Key and type Snipping tool.
- Click on New / Select a portion of the screen you want to capture.
- Choose Save to save the captured image or copy and paste the image.
CHANGING THE DEFAULT PRINTER
- Press the Windows key or type Printers in the search area in the Taskbar
- Scroll down and unselect “Let Windows manage my default printer”.
- Click on the printer you want to set as the default, click on Set as Default.
BACKING UP THE FILES
- Use OneDrive or an external drive to backup your files.
- Click Search > Windows Backup to configure the settings.
CHANGING THE WINDOWS PASSWORD
Updates are typically installed automatically. You can check also manually:
- Click Search > search for Password > Click on Password > Click on Change.
- Option 2: Press CTRL+ALT+Del and select Change Password
SCANNING YOUR COMPUTER FOR VIRUSES AND MALWARE
Windows 11 comes with built-in Antivirus protection called: Windows Defender.
- Press the Windows Key and type: Windows Security > Virus and Thread protection
- Click on Scan Now and/or customize the settings
USING THE TASK MANAGER TO TROUBLESHOOT PROBLEMS
- Click on Search, type Task Manager.
- Click on More Details and note the apps running in the background and how much CPU and Memory they are using. These indicators can be used to identify problematic apps in your PC. Note also the other tabs on the top such as Performance (Resource Monitor), Startup etc.
IDENTIFYING AND REMOVING UNNECESSARY APPS
Use this with caution. It is best to take note of what apps you have when you first get a computer and then remove any unnecessary ones later on.
- Press Windows Key and search for: Add or Remove Programs
- Click on the application properties (three dots on the right) and select
CUSTOMIZING THE PRIVACY SETTINGS IN WINDOWS 10
By default, Windows 11 collects a lot of data from browsing, online purchases, words you say or type in order to personalize your experience similar to Android and iOS.
- Press Start > Settings > Privacy Settings on the left. Then go through each item on the left such as location, camera, etc.
- Under General: What you write; Location: Off; Speech and Inking: Unless you like to use Cortana, turn it all off. Feedback and diagnostics: Diagnostic and usage data: Basic.
RESETTING THE COMPUTER FROM MALWARE OR TO SELL IT
- Search > Reset this PC
- To fix problems without resetting it, select the option “Fix problems without resetting”.
- To go back to a previous date and time (helpful in case of malware) choose Go Back.
- To reset the computer keeping the files or to sell it, select Reset this PC. Use this with caution of course.
ACCESSING THE ACTION CENTER
- Click on the action Center icon on the far right of the Taskbar.
- Note you can also add new icons by clicking on the pen icon.
ADDING AND CUSTOMIZING WIDGETS
- Click on the Widgets icon
- Click on Add Widgets.
- Relocate the widgets as needed.
CUSTOMIZING QUICK SETTINGS
- Click on the Quick Settings Icon on the far right of the toolbar first icon to the left of the time.
- Click on the little pen
- Click on Add and select the options you prefer. Click Done when finished.
CONTROLLING SOUND SETTINGS
- Right click on the Sounds icon on the Taskbar (far right) and select SoundMixer.
- Adjust the settings as needed. Note they are now application specific.
USING FOCUS ASSIST
Focus Assist is a new tool where you can control what alerts you will receive so that you can focus on tasks at hand.
- Click on the Quick Settings Icon on the far right of the toolbar first icon to the left of the time.
- Click to toggle the FocusAssist Additional settings are available under Settings.
ENABLING THE GAMING MODE
When you use Game Mode, Windows prioritizes your gaming experience.
- Click on Search > Gaming Mode
- Toggle the On
LAUNCHING THE WINDOWS TERMINAL
- Click on Search and type Command Prompt.
- To launch the Windows Terminal, click on Search and type Windows Terminal. This will launch the Windows Powershell.
CONTROLLING APPLICATIONS THAT START AUTOMATICALLY
- Click on Search and type Startup Apps.
- Turn off the apps you do not want on to start automatically.
CREATING A BOOTABLE USB FLASH DRIVE FOR A FRESH WINDOWS 11 INSTALL
- Go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows11 and select the second option: Create a Windows 11 Installation Media.
- To update manually to the latest Windows 11 release, select the first option: Windows 11 installation assistant.
Here is also a tutorial on how to upgrade to Windows 11 and how to create a bootable USB Drive for a fresh install.