I have authored books on each major Windows release from Windows 95 onwards and I meticulously track the changes in every product version. However, with the advent of Windows 11, my tracking process has been more complex. The reason behind this is that Microsoft has unpredictably introduced new features at odd times, bypassed testing stages in the Windows Insider Preview Program, or even ignored pre-release testing altogether.
My primary concern with Windows 11 is the failure of the Windows team to update the foundational technologies guiding this platform. Instead, they appear to be focusing on superficial and surface-level changes. The prime example of this problem is File Explorer. Microsoft has neglected to address ongoing performance and reliability issues within this core application, yet they continue to introduce updates to its user interface that have little to no impact on most users.
An interface that I felt Microsoft would never bother to update, the Windows Setup first-boot experience, has garnered my attention. This is the experience that appears when performing a clean installation of the operating system, preceding the more familiar Out of Box Experience (OOBE) that is synonymous with booting up a new PC. Microsoft updated OOBE for the initial version of Windows 11 in 2021, but the first-boot experience has remained unchanged since its initial introduction over two decades ago, in Longhorn, and its underlying technology can be traced back to the earliest versions of Windows NT.
In a revelatory discovery this week, I learned that Microsoft is finally planning to update the Windows Setup first-boot experience. This is a promising shift in the right direction considering that some vital user interfaces have remained untouched for decades.
My curiosity lies in where this change will lead in the future, given that its current form leaves an incomplete impression. Regardless, this is a felicitous development that I’m keen to see unfold moving forward.