Windows 11 is rapidly approaching and there are a lot of questions that need answering. Being the first major Windows version in six years suggests that we’re in for some big changes. Thankfully, a leaked build of Windows 11 has given us a good look at what we can expect. Put simply, we can expect Windows 10 but with a different look. If you’re wondering about app compatibility on Windows 11, you shouldn’t have to worry. All your Windows 10 apps should work just fine.
What’s different in Windows 11?
Windows 10 came out six years ago, and it’s been receiving updates ever since. Instead of Microsoft releasing another Windows version 3 years later, we’ve been getting feature updates. Windows 10 today isn’t the same Windows 10 we got back in 2015. New features have been added, others have been removed, and the design of the OS has changed significantly. But the name has stayed the same. So why is Windows 11 a thing now?
On the surface, Windows 11 looks significantly different from Windows 10, but those differences become far less obvious as you dive into it. All the included apps are essentially the same, and even the system features are identical. Fundamentally, what’s changed is the look and feel. We have rounded corners, a centered taskbar — which is optional — and a new Start menu.
At its core though, Windows 11 is just another feature update to Windows 10. The Windows name is mostly a way to symbolize the new look and feel, but all the core features are still there. In fact, our own Corbin Davenport has written about how Windows 11 doesn’t change as much as it should.
Will my app work with Windows 11?
As with any big software update, your mileage may vary, but everything points to Windows 11 running all the same apps as Windows 10. We’ve been testing the new OS extensively and we haven’t found any broken apps. In fact, if you have Windows on an ARM PC, you may find that more apps will work on Windows 11. Since Microsoft is adding x64 emulation to ARM PCs, you’ll be able to run apps like Photoshop, which aren’t available in 32-bit versions anymore. Some apps are leaving behind the 32-bit architecture, so this is going to be increasingly important.
Any trouble you might have will come from running older versions of Windows, like Windows 7 or 8.1. Windows 10 was significantly different from these two and it removed some legacy components, which may have caused very old apps to stop working. If you’re still running these legacy apps, they may not work on Windows 11. A quick way to check though is to see if they work on Windows 10 right now. If you find one of your apps is broken and you need it, you may want to consider using a virtual machine to run the older versions of Windows. Remember, Windows 7 isn’t supported anymore and can be a major security risk to keep using it.
That’s all there is to know about Windows 11 app compatibility. Things may change in the future, and Microsoft has yet to officially reveal Windows 11, so we may hear something about this at the June 24th event. But based on our testing, everything that works in Windows 10 will work in Windows 11 just fine.