Huge leak shows Windows 11's refreshed icons, start menu

More of a spring clean than a true step-change for the desktop OS.

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It’s been rumored that Microsoft was planning a visual refresh of Windows 10 sometime this year. Now, a beta version has leaked that all but confirms that Windows 11 is just Windows 10 with a fresh coat of paint.


The new look at Windows 11 comes from Paul Thurrott, a longtime Microsoft follower who obtained and installed a Windows 11 build on his personal computer.

Microsoft will reportedly unveil the updated OS at its planned Windows event on June 24. But if the leak is correct, it’s not going to blow your mind. The big changes in Windows 11 appear to be the addition of the new system icons, rounded corners around windows, and lots of rectangles.

The search menu. Paul Thurrott
The “all apps” panel. Paul Thurrott

“The more I dive into Windows 11, the more it’s obvious that this is literally just Windows 10 with a fresh coat of paint. At least for now.”

Paul Thurott

Paul Thurrott

Not that it matters much, but Windows 11 reminds us of another OS...


One notable feature change in Windows 11 is the death of the Live Tile concept. Introduced first in Windows 8, the tile system replaced the desktop with a full-screen Start menu. Rows of apps could be organized, like on a smartphone, and would display dynamic information right on their tile.

The idea was to rethink Windows for the touchscreen era, but it conflicted with the way PC users rely on the desktop to organize files and Live Tile was relegated to the Start menu in Windows 10. Microsoft attempts to reinvent Windows for touchscreen were mostly a failure.


The Start menu in Windows 10, featuring those blocky tiles beside the app list.


The new Start menu, sans tiles. RIP.

(note updated icons in the bottom task bar)

Paul Thurrott

What do you think of Windows 11?

Love it? Hate it? Hoped for more? Our opinion is it’s a welcome refresh — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.


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