Windows 11 leak criticised as an early, incomplete build

Is what's leaked of Windows 11 truly the next generation of Microsoft's operating system? We're told there's more to come.

Credit: Mark Hachman / IDG

Windows 11 may be better than we thought.

PCWorld has been told by a knowledgeable source close to Microsoft that the leaked Windows 11 build is being characterised as a portion of an incomplete, early build. The source characterised the Windows 11 build as not a final product, saying that Microsoft will offer a fuller look at what it plans to offer at its “what’s next for Windows” event on June 24.

The source did not refer to the leaked build as either “Windows 10” or “Windows 11.” Of course, running the winver command on the leaked build labels it as Windows 11. It’s also referred to as Windows Dev build 21996.1.

It’s unclear what Microsoft may add to Windows 11. Though the leaked build offers a graphical overhaul to Windows 10—complete with new icons and rounded corners on menus—the underlying architecture of the build appears to be heavily dependent upon Windows 10.

Familiar Windows 10 apps like Mail, Calendar, and Photos all appear, and the build connects to familiar services like Microsoft’s OneDrive. The most profound changes are in the Taskbar and especially the Start menu, which draw heavily from the now-cancelled Windows 10X.

However, the Windows 11 build that was leaked also excludes new features that had been talked about as part of an upcoming Windows release, such as an updated, improved Microsoft Store app and the “Auto HDR” capability that Microsoft had added to certain Xbox Series X games.

The latter feature would add HDR capabilities to PC games that hadn’t specifically been coded for it. Though Auto HDR is being tested as part of the Windows Insider program for PCs, it does not feature in the leaked Windows 11 build.

Satya Nadella’s involvement lends some credence to the report. Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive, had characterised the upcoming Windows release as the most significant to Windows in about a decade, and he had publicly referred to it as the next generation of Windows as well.

Would Nadella endorse Windows 11 in its current form, as represented by the leaked build? Perhaps, but it’s more likely that Microsoft has something else up its sleeve when it debuts what’s next for Windows next week.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindows 11

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mark Hachman

Mark Hachman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?