New Windows 11 device? Want to downgrade to 10? You’ve got options | #firefox | #chrome | #microsoftedge

So, you got a shiny new Windows 11 computer over the holidays, opened it up, and turned it on. And, well, you sort of miss being able to right-mouse-click on the taskbar, or pin things on the taskbar, or doing any number of things you’ve been doing since Windows XP.

So now you have a decision to make: Do you want to stay on Windows 11 or install Windows 10 on that new computer (and possibly void a warranty or two)? I do hope you have enough RAM (16GB or more), a processor that can support Windows 11 (even if you don’t want to install it), and more importantly, an SSD drive. If you purchase a computer that doesn’t have an SSD, you may see something like Costco warned about on its website: “After the initial boot up of your laptop, your device may experience performance lags for approximately the first one to two hours as performance features are downloaded and installed. The laptop will return to normal operating conditions once all downloads are completed.”

That’s certainly not the best experience with a new laptop — and it’s a telltale sign Windows should not be deployed on systems with old-fashioned IDE drives. If you have this sort of laptop, I recommend you take it back and try to get a replacement that includes a SSD drive.

If you still have a Windows 10 machine using an older hard drive, figure out whether you can upgrade to an SSD. You can typically use your backup software to create a full image drive and then restore it to a clean drive. The SSD drive connection is typically the same as an IDE drive and you can easily find mounting units that let you slide the new SSD into the existing drive slot.

Before you think about installing or downgrading to Windows 10, consider first the third-party software that can bring back many of the features you want. There are many options to choose from, including Startallback and Start11. Both bring back many of the traditional menu functions Windows 10 migrators will want. My recommendation: install either one first and see whether Windows 11 is acceptable with these additions. (You can see the various options for Windows 10-style menus here.)

One item I’ve not yet seen return to Windows 11 is a preview of photos and videos that normally occurs in File Explorer. To speed up the new OS, Microsoft removed the thumbnail view of folders. So while this feels like a step back, it might allow your machine to run faster. The major difference between Windows 10 and Windows 11 is in the folder pane view. Startallback and Start11 will move the menu to the left and bring back right-mouse-click on the taskbar. (The workaround could be as simple as better organizational naming of folders.)

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