Windows 11 Field Guide (The Book + Extra)
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Windows 11 Field Guide

About the Book

Welcome to the Windows 11 Field Guide. Like Windows 11 itself, this book is a bit different from its predecessor, the Windows 10 Field Guide. It’s been simplified, so it looks a little different, and at this early stage, it covers only the biggest changes in this release.

For this reason, it comes with a free copy of the Windows 10 Field Guide. But we will continue updating this book until it is complete, and as Microsoft improves and changes Windows 11 over time. Our expectation is that the final book will be somewhere between 500 and 1000 pages long in its PDF version.

But the Windows 11 Field Guide also shares many things with its predecessor, of course.

It is self-published, and it is an entirely independent and self-created work.

It is being written and updated transparently over time so that readers can follow its progress and get all new updates for free.

It is quite inexpensive compared to physical books and even other e-books.

It’s available in multiple digital formats—-PDF, MOBI and EPUB—-so that it will work on any device.

And perhaps most importantly, the Windows 11 Field Guide is intended as both a how-to and a reference: you can read it straight through if that’s your thing, or you can dive in and out of specific areas to learn what’s new and, in many cases, how to work around some of the limitations in this product version.

Thanks for reading!

-- Paul Thurrott and Rafael Rivera

About the Authors

Paul Thurrott
Paul Thurrott

Paul Thurrott is an award-winning technology journalist and blogger with over 20 years of industry experience and the author of over 25 books. He is the News Director for the Petri IT Knowledgebase, the major domo at, and the co-host of three podcasts: Windows Weekly with Leo Laporte and Mary Jo Foley, What the Tech with Andrew Zarian, and First Ring Daily with Brad Sams. He was formerly the senior technology analyst at Windows IT Pro and the creator of the SuperSite for Windows. You can reach Paul via email or on Twitter at @thurrott.

Rafael Rivera
Rafael Rivera

Rafael Rivera is a software engineer with 18+ years of experience working on mission critical systems for the United States Department of Defense and Intelligence Community. He is also a certified reverse engineering analyst and takes Windows apart for fun in his free time. You can reach Rafael via email or on Twitter at @withinrafael.

Table of Contents

    • About the Book
      • Trademarks and disclaimers
      • We want your feedback!
      • Meet the authors
      • Thanks!
    • Introduction
  • Get to Know Windows 11
    • What’s New and Familiar in Windows 11
      • New design
      • Lock screen and sign-in screen
      • Desktop
      • Taskbar
      • Start
      • Widgets
      • Search
      • Task view
      • Chat
      • Quick settings
      • Notifications and Calendar
      • Quick access menu
      • File Explorer
      • Multitasking
      • Tablet experience
      • Gaming
      • Improved Microsoft Store
      • Improved and new apps
      • Android Appstore and Android apps
      • Improved Settings
      • Accessibility improvements
      • Security improvements
      • Command-line and automation improvements
      • Servicing and updating improvements
    • What’s Missing in Windows 11
      • Windows 10 features that are deprecated in Windows 11
      • Windows 10 features that are not available in Windows 11
  • Install Windows 11
    • Create Windows 11 Install Media
    • Clean Install
    • Step-By-Step: The Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE)
    • Overcome Windows 11 Setup Annoyances
      • Bypass the network connection and Microsoft account requirements during Setup
      • Bypass just the Microsoft account requirement during Setup
      • Create install media that removes Setup annoyances
  • Upgrade to Windows 11
    • Windows 11 Hardware Requirements and Recommendations
      • Understand the Windows 11 hardware requirements
      • Find out if your Windows 10 PC can upgrade to Windows 11
      • Features in Windows 11 that require additional hardware support
    • Upgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 11
      • Deal with safeguard holds
      • Manually upgrade to Windows 11
    • Upgrade to Windows 11 on Unsupported Hardware
      • Upgrade to Windows 11 on an unsupported PC
      • Remove the annoying desktop watermark
  • Personalize Windows 11
    • Windows 11 Personalization First Steps
      • Lower the volume
      • Delete superfluous Microsoft Edge shortcuts
      • Turn off Do not disturb (Optional)
      • Configure the Desktop theme (Optional)
      • Configure File Explorer
      • Check your date and time settings
      • Rename your PC
      • Prevent Microsoft Teams from auto-starting
      • Remove unnecessary Taskbar icons
      • Use Windows Update to get Windows 11 up-to-date
      • Run your PC maker’s support/driver update application
      • Create a recovery drive (Optional)
      • Configure OneDrive
      • Update the built-in Microsoft Store apps
      • Install the applications you need
      • Examine which apps are running when your PC boots up
      • Configure Windows Hello (Optional)
      • Eliminate “suggestions”
      • Further personalize Windows 11
    • Customize Your Privacy Settings
    • Customize the Display
    • Customize the Lock and Sign-In Screens
      • Choose a background
      • Choose an app to deliver Detailed status alerts
      • Show the Lock screen background on the Sign-in screen
      • Make the lock screen background react when you move the PC
  • Desktop
    • Desktop
      • What’s changed with the Desktop context menus?
      • Display the Desktop when it’s covered with windows
      • Hide all windows except for the one you’re using
      • Customize the Desktop
      • Determine which icons appear on the Desktop
    • Start
      • Get to know Start
      • Customize Start
      • Use the Quick Access menu
    • Taskbar
      • Get to know the Taskbar
      • Understand Taskbar behaviors
      • Customize the Taskbar
    • Widgets
      • The problem with Widgets
      • View the weather forecast
      • Open the widget board
      • Search the web
      • Browse the widget board
      • Pin new widgets to the widget board
      • Customize a pinned widget
      • Unpin widgets from the widget board
      • Customize the feed
      • Save a story for later
      • Remove the Widgets icon on the Taskbar
    • Search
      • Get to know Search
      • Search for files with File Explorer
      • Configure Search
    • Quick Settings
      • Quickly access commonly-needed system settings
      • Quickly adjust your PC’s screen brightness and volume
      • Configure the quick settings buttons
      • Open Settings
      • Directly access the Network, Volume, or Power settings
  • Multitasking
    • Alt-Tab
      • Use Alt-Tab to switch between open windows
      • Determine whether Microsoft Edge tabs appear in Alt-Tab
    • Task View
      • Use Task view to switch between open windows
      • Remove the Task view item from the Taskbar
    • Shake
    • Snap
      • Snap windows manually
      • Use Snap layouts to arrange windows
      • Use Snap groups to restore a previous layout
      • Configure Snap
    • Task Manager
      • Get to know Task Manager
      • Use Task Manager to manage apps and processes
      • Use Task Manager to determine which apps run at startup
      • Use Task Manager to run a new task
      • Configure Task Manager
    • Desktops
      • Access Desktops
      • Create a new virtual desktop
      • Switch between virtual desktops
      • Customize a virtual desktop
      • Move an app or window to a different virtual desktop
      • Close a virtual desktop
    • Do Not Disturb and Focus
      • Do not disturb
      • Focus
    • Clipboard
      • Paste multiple items to the Clipboard with Clipboard history
      • Enable Clipboard history
      • Use Clipboard history
      • Sync the Clipboard across your PCs
      • Use Suggested actions
  • Files
    • File Explorer
      • Get to know the Windows 11 File Explorer
      • Customize File Explorer
      • Customize the navigation bar
    • Nearby Sharing
      • A quick survey of legacy sharing features
      • Get to know Nearby sharing
      • Toggle Nearby sharing with Quick settings
      • Configure Nearby sharing
    • OneDrive
      • Get to know OneDrive in Windows 11
      • Configure OneDrive folder backup
      • Access your OneDrive content at any time from your PC
      • Share OneDrive files with others
      • Protect your most important files with Personal Vault
      • Configure and manage OneDrive
    • Storage
      • Storage basics
      • Manage internal storage
      • Manage removable storage
      • Get it done more quickly with Disk Management
    • Device Encryption
      • Manage device encryption
      • Manage BitLocker
      • Use a BitLocker-protected removable disk
      • Manage an encrypted removable disk
      • Use the BitLocker recovery key
    • Backup
      • Get started with File History
      • Restore an earlier version of a file
  • Help and Recovery
    • Recovery Drive
      • Create a recovery drive
      • Boot your PC with the recovery drive
      • Use Windows 11 installation media as a recovery drive
    • Reset This PC
      • Find Reset this PC
      • Use Reset this PC to refresh or reset your PC
  • Hardware
  • Accounts
    • Microsoft Accounts
      • Microsoft account basics
      • Microsoft account security basics
      • Manage your Microsoft account in Windows 11
    • Work and School Accounts
      • Add a work or school account to your Microsoft account sign in
      • Sign in to Windows 11 with a work or school account
  • Security
  • Internet and Networking
    • Networking Basics
      • Get to know Windows 11 networking
    • Wi-Fi
      • Find and connect to a Wi-Fi network
      • Configure a Wi-Fi network
      • Disconnect from or forget a Wi-Fi network
    • Ethernet
      • Connect to an Ethernet network
      • Configure an Ethernet network
    • Cellular Data
      • Connect to a data plan
      • Enable and disable a cellular connection
      • Configure a cellular data connection
    • Airplane Mode
      • Toggle Airplane mode
      • Configure Airplane mode
    • Mobile Hotspot
      • Determine which connection to share
      • Share your Internet connection over Wi-Fi
      • Share your Internet connection over Bluetooth
      • Enable the Mobile hotspot quick setting button in Quick Settings
  • Apps
  • Microsoft Edge
    • Set Up Microsoft Edge Correctly
      • Initial set up
      • Configure the New tab page and Home
      • Protect yourself online with privacy extensions
      • Configure Edge performance and efficiency
    • Microsoft Edge Basics
      • Toolbar and address bar
      • Tabs
      • Favorites
      • History
      • Notifications
      • Downloads
      • Page zoom
      • Find on page
      • Sidebar
      • Search engine
      • Themes
      • Media
      • Extensions
      • Sharing
      • Profiles
    • Reading with Microsoft Edge
      • Read articles on the web
      • Read and annotate a PDF file
      • Fill in a PDF form
    • Microsoft Edge Collections
      • Create a new collection
      • Add a web page to a collection
      • Add specific text to a collection
      • Add an image to a collection
      • Edit a collection
      • Add a note to a collection
      • Share a collection or items in a collection
      • Delete one or more collections
    • Microsoft Edge Shopping
      • Shopping
      • Microsoft Rewards
    • Microsoft Edge and Web Apps
      • Install a web app
      • Install a web page as if it were an app
      • Use installed web apps and pages alongside other apps
      • Manage installed web apps and pages
  • Reference
    • Keyboard Shortcuts
      • Desktop
      • Multitasking
      • Microsoft Edge

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