I have just bought a new laptop just so I can experiment with Windows 11. I eventually settled on the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Generation 6. I chose this one only because of the screen. It has a 16″ screen (instead of the standard 15.6″ screen on laptops) that is Dolby Vision certified. I thought about some with an OLED screen, but you have to be careful with image burn-in for those screens. This laptop was on sale and I had a coupon. With tax, I paid $256 less than the MSRP (which doesn’t include tax). And even better, it shipped from Durham so I got it the next day! (I always thought it was funny that Lenovo, a Chinese company, still builds computers in North Carolina but HP and Dell, American companies, build most of their computers in China.)

These are my experiences with Windows 11. I am going to save you some time and sum up my experiences so far with this statement: overall, Windows 11 is even worse than Windows 10.

This post will be periodically updated. Content may change.

There is some good news. The rumor was Windows 11 home would require a Microsoft account to use. That rumor is false. But it is still an unclear step on how to avoid this. UPDATE: The steps to do this have changed! (Profit before privacy.) Remember: Nobody should ever, without exception, use a Microsoft account to log in to Windows. It is not Microsoft’s business when I use and how I use my computer. These are the steps you absolutely must take, without exception: (I am sure these steps will be taken away in the future too.)

  • Whatever you do, DO NOT connect the network cable until you login for the first time!
  • When you get to the step that asks to connect to the internet, press SHIFT + F10. If you have a laptop, likely you will have to press FN + SHIFT + F10. Very important, you must do this at the connect to internet page, never after that.
  • In the black command prompt type these instructions:
cd \windows\system32\oobe
  • The computer should restart after that. If for some reason that does not work, type this command:
  • This will open the registry editor. Go the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\OOBE
  • Then, right-click some white space in the right-hand side of the registry editor, and then left-click New then DWORD (32-bit).
  • You will have to provide a name, type BypassNROThis is case-sensitive!
  • Double-click BypassNRO and change the value to 1.
  • Close the registry editor by clicking the X in the top-right corner of the window.
  • Type this command back in the black command prompt:
shutdown /r /t 0
  • After the computer restarts, you should now see an option in small writing at the bottom that says “I don’t have internet”. You need to click that. Then follow the instructions to create a local account, saying NO to everything Microsoft says.

These steps below no longer work:

  • Whatever you do, DO NOT connect the network cable until you login for the first time!
  • When you get to the step that asks to connect to the internet, press Windows Key + R or SHIFT + F10. (This is a carryover from Windows 2000/XP installs. I would use this to play Freecell while Windows XP would finish installing.) Very important, you must do this at the connect to internet page, never after that.
  • If you pressed Window Key + R, type taskmgr and press enter
  • When the Task Manager opens, click More Details near the bottom.
  • Find the task Network Connection Flow. Right-click that task, and left-click end task.
  • Now you can create the proper, correct local account.
  • After you login, immediately submit feedback to Microsoft telling them how wrong this is; make sure you don’t use any language that would cause them to immediately bin your legitimate complaint.

Another alternative is to keep putting in the same fake email — making sure it is the same and is formatted like a real email address — and a fake password. Eventually it should let you create a local account.

If all that fails, you can create a local account after login by using with these commands:

  • Replace <user> below with the name you want to use for your account.
  • Click the start or search button and type cmd (short for command). Then when Command Prompt appears, right-click it and left-click Run as Administrator.
  • In the command prompt window type:
    • net user <user> /add
    • net localgroup administrators <user> /add
  • This is optional. To add a password to the new account, type:
    • net user <user> *
  • Now login in to the proper, correct local account and delete the unethical, immortal Microsoft account from the Settings app.

Also, these steps below no longer work:

  • When you first turn on the computer, you will have to connect it to the internet. If you use a wireless connection, make sure you DO NOT check automatically box!
  • Some updates will install. After Win11 restarts for the first time, disconnect the wired, Ethernet connection. Whatever you do and however you do it, do not let the computer connect to the internet after the restart.
  • After the computer restarts, you can create an account without letting Microsoft know.

Even if you were tricked or forced into signing in with a Microsoft account, you can still create a normal account without Microsoft knowing. The ways to do this almost certainly won’t be taken away.

Now some bad news. Some really really bad news. Many Windows 11 computers encrypt the hard drive by default. For most people, this is a very very bad thing. If ever your motherboard dies, the chances of me recovering your files is not good. The first thing you should do after logging in is to turn this off. The way you do this is to go into settings and search for “bitlocker” (11 Pro) or “device encryption” (11 Home). That will bring up the setting. It may not exist in 11 Home. Once on the appropriate page, turn off the encryption. (Windows 11 update KB5012170, which was released middle August 2022, was causing problems with encrypted hard drives not booting. TURN OFF DEVICE ENCRYPTION!!)

The default layout of the icons on the taskbar on the bottom are centered. That is a personal preference and it is nice that we now have the choice. There are some bad things with the new taskbar, however. Very bad things. When you right (or alternate) click on the taskbar in all previous version of Windows, you get plenty of good and useful options. On Windows 11, you get only one: the option to modify taskbar options. It gets worse. Windows 7 introduced the ability to drag-and-slide-up on the icons on the bottom. When you did, you got plenty of good options. But Windows 11 took that away. Now you have to right-click to the same thing.

The start menu in Windows 11 is worse than ever before, if that is to be believed. The one in Windows 7 and XP was near perfection. Logical, easy to use and understand, useful. This one … ugh. To get a list of programs installed, now I have to click on “All Apps” at the top of the open start menu. “All Programs” was at the bottom on Windows XP/Vista/7 where it is a short distance away. Now, to do the same thing is a long distance away and at an inconvenient location. I can’t wait until Open Shell is fully compatible.

Overall, Windows 11 is prettier than Windows 10 and 8. Not Windows 7 pretty. But a step back in the right direction. The replacement for the Windows 10 settings page is very well designed. A big improvement. Still not as good as the control panel of previous versions because there are still more steps to do the same thing. One thing I have now seen on many new Windows 11 computers is the new settings page was actually not there. The settings page was just like the Windows 10 one. After the first update, it appeared. I am sure that in the future this won’t be an issue.

I found out that you can customize the three-finger and four-finger swipes for the touchpad in Windows 11. The settings page has the two, three, and four finger swipes in different sections. These sections let you choose a template for the three and four-finger swipe. But near the bottom is an advanced options where you can modify the swipe to fit your needs. I changed the four-finger swipe up and down to raise and lower my laptop volume.

For some stupid reason, Microsoft still doesn’t understand most people do not live in the Pacific timezone. How hard is it to ask which timezone a person lives in? Windows 7 did.

While I am going on with the clock, in Windows 10 when I clicked on the clock, I got the time with seconds, I got a calendar, and I got the option to have another clock. In Windows 11, I get one clock without seconds and a calendar. I need a clock with seconds. To add a second second clock — I always like having UTC time easily available — continues to be a series of unclear steps. Ever since Windows 8, Microsoft has made sure things aren’t clear and quick. Now every action has many unclear steps, instead of few clear steps.

I haven’t experimented with the widgets feature. That feature required a Microsoft account. I can live without that feature. Especially since nobody should ever, without exception, use a Microsoft account to sign in to Windows.

I do like how you are told which programs and apps are using your microphone on the taskbar.

The hacks to enable the group-policy editor in Windows still work with Win11 Home. I enabled it and quickly used it to delay updates by 30 days. Which is to say my laptop will not install an update until it has been available for 30 days. That should give me plenty of time to avoid those bad updates that incompetent Microsoft pushes out several times a year.

Windows 10 would activate with a Windows 7 and Windows 8 legal license. Windows 11 will only support Windows 11 licenses. You cannot even use a Windows 10 license in Windows 11. Not a big deal because you can install Windows 10 with a Windows 7 license and then upgrade to Windows 11.

This post will updated periodically. Some content may change. I am still learning.