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

23H2 Edition

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 25 years of industry experience and the author of about 30 books. He is the major domo at Thurrott.com and the host of three podcasts: Windows Weekly with Leo Laporte and Richard Campbell, First Ring Daily with Brad Sams, and Hands-On Windows. 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
      • Introduction, original 22H2 edition
  • Get to Know Windows 11
    • What’s New and Familiar in Windows 11 Version 23H2
      • New design
      • Lock screen and sign-in screen
      • Desktop
      • Taskbar
      • Start
      • Widgets
      • Search
      • Copilot
      • Task view
      • Quick settings
      • Notifications and Calendar
      • Quick link menu
      • File Explorer
      • Multitasking
      • Windows Backup
      • Tablet experience
      • Video games
      • Microsoft Store
      • Microsoft Edge
      • New and improved apps
      • Settings
      • Accessibility
      • Security
      • Command-line improvements
      • Developer improvements
      • Servicing and updating
    • What’s Missing in Windows 11 Version 23H2
      • Windows 10 and 11 features that are deprecated in Windows 11 version 23H2
      • Windows 10 and 11 features that are no longer available in Windows 11 version 23H2
  • Upgrade to Windows 11
    • Windows 11 Version 23H2 Hardware Requirements and Recommendations
      • Key points
      • 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 Version 23H2
      • Key points
      • Deal with safeguard holds
      • Manually upgrade to Windows 11
    • Upgrade to Windows 11 Version 23H2 on Unsupported Hardware
      • Key points
      • Consider the potential downsides
      • Upgrade to Windows 11 on an unsupported PC
  • Install Windows 11
    • Create Windows 11 Version 23H2 Install Media
      • Key points
    • Step-by-Step: Windows Setup First-Boot Experience
      • Key points
    • Step-By-Step: Windows Setup Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE)
      • Key points
    • Overcome Windows Setup Annoyances
      • Key points
      • Perform a super-clean install of Windows 11 without the crapware
      • Bypass the Microsoft account sign-in requirement in Windows Setup
  • Personalize Windows 11
    • Windows 11 Version 23H2 Personalization First Steps
      • Key points
      • Configure the Desktop
      • Update and configure the system
      • Update and configure apps
      • More Windows 11 personalization and configuration tasks
    • Customize the Display
      • Key points
      • Change the display resolution
      • Change the display scaling
      • Make text bigger
      • Customize the display brightness
      • Enable and configure Night light
      • Enable and configure HDR
      • But wait, there’s more
    • Customize the Lock and Sign-In Screens
      • Key points
      • Get to know the Lock and Sign-in screens
      • Customize the Lock screen
      • Customize the Sign-in screen
    • Customize Your Privacy Settings
      • Key points
      • Correctly configure the key Windows 11 privacy settings
      • Additional privacy settings to consider changing
  • Desktop
    • Desktop
      • Key points
      • 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
    • Start
      • Key points
      • Get to know Start
      • Customize Start
      • Use the Quick link menu
    • Taskbar
      • Key points
      • Get to know the Taskbar
      • Understand Taskbar behaviors
      • Customize the Taskbar
    • Widgets
      • Key points
      • The problems with Widgets
      • Fix annoying Widgets behaviors
      • View the weather forecast, news bulletins, and notifications in the Widgets Taskbar button
      • Open the widget board
      • Display the widget board in Full View
      • Use and configure widgets
      • Use and configure the Microsoft Start feed
    • Search
      • Key points
      • Get to know Search
      • Search for files with File Explorer
      • Configure Search
    • Copilot
      • Key points
      • A bit of history
      • Get to know Copilot
      • Ask Copilot a simple question
      • Rewrite a question
      • Ask Copilot a complex question
      • Create text-based content with Copilot
      • Summarize a web page with Copilot
      • Create an image with Copilot
      • Learn more about an image with Copilot
      • Access some Windows features and settings with Copilot
    • Quick Settings
      • Key points
      • Quickly access commonly needed system settings
      • Configure the quick settings buttons
      • Open Settings
      • Directly access the Network, Volume, or Power settings
  • Multitasking
    • Alt-Tab
      • Key points
      • Use Alt-Tab to switch between open windows
      • Determine whether Microsoft Edge tabs appear in Alt-Tab
    • Task View
      • Key points
      • Use Task view to switch between open windows
      • Remove the Task view item from the Taskbar
    • Shake
      • Key points
    • Snap
      • Key points
      • Snap windows manually
      • Use Snap layouts to arrange windows
      • Use Snap layouts by dragging a window
      • 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
      • Key points
      • 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
      • Key points
      • Do not disturb
      • Focus
    • Clipboard
      • Key points
      • 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
      • Key points
      • Access multiple file system views with tabs
      • Understand the File Explorer home page
      • Access commonly used locations with the navigation pane
      • Interact with the address bar
      • Use Gallery to view your photo collection
      • Learn more about files with the Details pane
      • Extract archive files
      • Customize File Explorer
    • Nearby Sharing
      • Key points
      • A quick survey of legacy sharing features
      • Get to know Nearby sharing
      • Toggle Nearby sharing with Quick settings
      • Configure Nearby sharing
    • OneDrive
      • Key points
      • Get to know OneDrive in Windows 11
      • Configure OneDrive
      • Configure File Explorer integration with OneDrive
      • Access your OneDrive content at any time with Files on Demand
      • Share OneDrive files with others
      • Protect your most important files with Personal Vault
      • Disable OneDrive
    • Storage
      • Key points
      • Storage basics
      • Manage internal storage
      • Manage removable storage
      • Get it done more quickly with Disk Management
    • Device Encryption
      • Key points
      • Manage device encryption
      • Manage BitLocker
      • Use a BitLocker-protected removable disk
      • Manage an encrypted removable disk
      • Use the BitLocker recovery key
    • Windows Backup
      • Key points
      • Get to know Windows Backup
      • Create a backup
      • Manage your backups
      • Restore from a backup
  • Help and Recovery
    • Quick Assist
      • Key points
      • Take full control of a sharer’s PC
      • Remotely view the sharer’s screen
    • Troubleshooting
      • Key points
      • Configure troubleshooting
      • Find and run a troubleshooter
    • Recovery Drive
      • Key points
      • Create a recovery drive
      • Boot your PC with the recovery drive
      • Use Windows 11 installation media as a recovery drive
    • Reset This PC
      • Key points
      • Find Reset this PC
      • Use Reset this PC to refresh or reset your PC
  • Hardware
    • Devices Basics
      • Key points
      • Connect a device and install drivers if needed
    • USB
      • Key points
      • Determine what happens when you connect a removable device
      • Unplug a USB device
    • Bluetooth
      • Key points
      • Manage Bluetooth with Windows 11
      • Pair a Bluetooth device to your PC
      • Configure and manage a Bluetooth device
    • Displays
      • Key points
      • Connect to a secondary display
      • Connect to a wireless display
      • Use another PC as a wireless display
    • Keyboards, Mice, and Touchpads
      • Key points
      • Keyboard
      • Mouse and touchpad
    • Printers and Scanners
      • Key points
      • Printers
      • Scanners
    • Touch, Pen, and Tablet
      • Key points
      • Multitouch
      • Smartpen
      • Tablet experience
    • Phone Link
      • Key points
      • Use Phone Link with an Android phone
      • Use Phone Link with an iPhone
    • Dynamic Lighting
      • Key points
      • Get to know Dynamic lighting
      • Use Dynamic lighting with third-party RGB software
      • Configure a Dynamic lighting theme or effect
    • Windows Studio Effects
      • Key points
      • Check to see whether your PC supports Windows Studio Effects
      • Configure Windows Studio Effects
      • Toggle Windows Studio Effects on or off
  • Accounts
    • Accounts Basics
      • Understand the different types of accounts
      • A few examples
    • Microsoft Accounts
      • Microsoft account basics
      • Microsoft account security basics
      • Manage your Microsoft account in Windows 11
    • Work and School Accounts
      • Connect a work or school account to your Microsoft account sign-in
      • Sign-in to Windows 11 with a work or school account
    • Local Accounts
      • What changes when you use a local account
      • Sign in to Windows 11 with a local account
    • Windows Hello, Presence Sensing, and Dynamic Lock
      • Windows Hello
      • Presence Sensing
      • Dynamic lock
    • Accounts Used by Other Apps
      • Add and configure an account that can be used by Microsoft Store apps
    • Multiple Accounts
      • Understand account types
      • Add and manage sign-in accounts
      • Switch between available sign-in accounts
  • Security
    • Secure Your Microsoft Account
      • Get started with Microsoft account configuration
      • Configure your profile information
      • Configure additional sign-in and verification methods
      • Enable two-step verification
      • Review your account safety options
      • Understand the other security features offered by the Microsoft account website
      • Optionally remove the password from your Microsoft account
    • Passkeys and Security Keys
      • Manage the passkeys on your PC
      • Use your Microsoft account passkey to sign in to a website
      • Create a passkey for a Microsoft account
      • Save and use a passkey for another online account
      • Use a security key to further protect your Microsoft account and other online accounts
      • Can you access your Microsoft account on mobile using a passkey or a security?
    • Windows Update
      • Use Windows Update to keep Windows up-to-date
      • Pause updates
      • View your update history
      • Configure other Windows Update settings
    • Windows Security
      • Get to know Windows Security
      • Properly configure Windows Security
    • Windows Defender
      • Scan a file or folder with Windows Defender
      • Scan your PC with Windows Defender
    • Find My Device
  • 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
    • Apps Basics
      • Get the know the types of apps that can run on Windows 11
      • Configure where you can get apps
      • Uninstall an app
      • Configure default apps
      • Configure where apps are located
      • Determine which apps are allowed to start when you sign in
    • Microsoft Store
      • Get to know the Microsoft Store
      • Before you start
      • Find and install apps and games
      • Update apps
    • Notifications
      • Get to know notifications
      • Configure notifications
      • Configure notifications for an app or system service
      • Handle an app notification as it appears
      • Handle previous app notifications
  • 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
      • Reorder your 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
    • Microsoft Edge Security and Privacy
      • Examine the security and privacy features in Microsoft Edge
      • Limit online tracking
      • Enhance your security while browsing the web
      • Enable secure domain name resolution
      • Manage and monitor your passwords
  • Productivity Apps and Utilities
    • Mail
      • Get to know the Mail app
      • Manage your accounts
      • Read and send email messages
      • Use Mail more efficiently
      • Customize Mail
    • Calendar
      • Get to know the Calendar app
      • Manage accounts and calendars
      • Create and manage events
      • Create and manage meetings
      • Customize Calendar
    • Outlook (New)
    • Microsoft 365
      • Understand Microsoft 365
      • Access your Office apps
      • Create a new document with a template
      • Access your recent, pinned, and shared documents and other content
    • Snipping Tool, Screenshots, and Screen Recordings
      • Key points
      • Get to know the Snipping Tool
      • Configure Snipping Tool
      • Use Snipping Tool to capture a screenshot of the entire screen, a window, or an area
      • Use Snipping Tool to edit a screenshot
      • Use Snipping Tool to create a screen recording
      • Capture a screenshot or screen recording using other methods
  • Digital Media
    • Photos
      • Use Photos to view one or more images
      • Use Photos to manage your photos and other image files
      • Import photos and videos from your smartphone or another device
    • Media Player
      • Get to know Media Player
      • Configure Media Player
      • Manage your music library
      • Control music playback
      • Manage your videos
      • Create and manage playlists
    • Movies & TV
      • Configure Movies & TV
      • Play a video
      • Rent a movie from Microsoft
      • Purchase a movie or TV show from Microsoft
      • Watch movies you’ve purchased from other services
    • Camera
      • Get to know the Camera app
      • Configure the Camera app and your PC’s cameras
      • Take a photo with the Camera app
      • Take a video with the Camera app
      • Scan a document, whiteboard, or barcode with the Camera app
    • Sound Recorder
      • Get to know Sound Recorder
      • Configure Sound Recorder
      • Record your voice or other audio
      • Play a recording
      • Manage a recording
      • Import a recording into Sound Recorder
      • What’s missing
    • Clipchamp
      • Get to know Clipchamp
      • Create a simple video from start to finish
      • But wait, there’s more
  • Xbox and Games
    • Xbox and Games Basics
      • Configure your PC to play games
      • Find and buy games
      • Play a game
    • Xbox Game Bar
      • Use the Controller bar with an Xbox Wireless Controller
      • Take a screenshot of a game
      • Record a game clip
      • Share a game screenshot or clip
    • Xbox App
      • Get to know the Xbox app
      • Find Xbox-compatible games for your PC
      • Manage your library of Xbox games for PC
      • PC Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate
      • Stream games from the cloud with Xbox Cloud Gaming
  • Command Line
    • Terminal
      • Get to know Terminal
      • Launch Terminal
      • Configure Terminal
      • Control Terminal with the Command Palette
      • Use Terminal in Focus mode
      • Go to a specific folder more easily
    • Command Prompt
      • Access Command Prompt
      • Learn which commands are available
      • Learn how to use individual commands
      • Move more quickly around the file system
      • Learn some useful Command Prompt commands
    • Linux
      • Install Linux in Windows 11
      • Configure WSL
      • Use the Linux command-line interface
      • Install and use Linux graphical apps
      • File system interoperability
    • Windows Package Manager
      • Get to know the Windows Package Manager
      • Find an app to install with the Windows Package Manager
      • Keep your apps up-to-date with the Windows Package Manager
      • Bulk-install apps with the Windows Package Manager
  • Virtualization
    • Hyper-V
      • Install Hyper-V
      • Get to know Hyper-V Manager
      • Create and use virtual machines
    • Windows Sandbox
      • Install Windows Sandbox
      • Get to know Windows Sandbox
      • Test suspicious software in Windows Sandbox
  • Reference
    • Keyboard Shortcuts
      • Windows Setup
      • Desktop
      • File Explorer
      • Multitasking
      • Accounts
      • Microsoft Edge
      • Snipping Tool, Screenshots, and Screen Captures
      • Photos
      • Sound Recorder

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