Since upgrading to Windows 11, my laptop is no longer the same.
While I knew from PCWorld’s Windows 11 review that Microsoft’s latest operating system had a rocky launch, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to upgrade my laptop from trip – a 2019 Lenovo Yoga C940 – for experimentation. I love the visual overhauls and was looking forward to trying out some of the new Windows 11 features, such as Android app support.
The last few months have proven that this was not a good decision and have reinforced my desire to stick with Windows 10 on the desktop PC I use every day for work.
Below is an account of all the issues I’ve encountered since upgrading to Windows 11, along with my attempts to fix some of them. While this may not represent everyone’s experience, this is still a warning about upgrading your PC just for fun (especially as Windows 10 continues to receive security updates):
It drains the battery at idle
My biggest frustration after updating to Windows 11 was how it burned through battery life while sleeping. Because I work primarily on a desktop computer, my laptop can go unused for days, so I should preemptively charge it before using it to avoid being stuck with a dead battery.
Why was this happening? By default, Windows 10 and Windows 11 use a mode called Modern Standby, which keeps the computer connected to Wi-Fi in a low-power state when you put it to sleep. This allows Windows to quickly wake up from sleep mode and even download updates when the computer is idle.
Unfortunately, Modern Standby can also be a battery vampire, and although I enabled it in Windows 10, it came back with a vengeance in Windows 11.
I did however find a solution: via this post on ElevenForum, a small registry tweak allows you to disable Modern Standby via the Windows Control Panel:
Open an elevated command prompt and enter the following: REG ADD HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlPowerPowerSettingsF15576E8-98B7-4186-B944-EAFA664402D9 /v Attributes /t REG_DWORD /d 2 /f
Visit Control Panel > Power Options > Change plan settings > Change advanced power settings.
Under the “Balanced” profile, expand the “Network connectivity on standby” option and select “Disable” on battery.
While I’m glad these changes helped, no one should have to tweak the registry just to avoid draining the battery.
Here’s a frustration you may already know: In Windows 11, Microsoft eliminated the ability to “never combine” taskbar items, making it harder to multitask between multiple instances of the same program. Microsoft also got rid of Jumplists, which can show quick actions or recent files when you right-click an icon in the taskbar or Start menu.
As recommended by my colleague Mark Hachman, I solved this problem by installing Start11, Stardock’s $6 utility that lets you restore the Start menu and taskbar to its old functionality.
But Start11 is not a perfect solution either. Its search function doesn’t always recognize newly installed programs, and sometimes I encounter a bug that requires restarting the menu. Also, Start11’s Jumplist for Typora, my writing app of choice, only shows “Frequent” documents instead of “Recent”. Start11 is still a big improvement over the default Start menu and taskbar in Windows 11, but it’s less efficient for me than what Microsoft offered in Windows 10.
Power button not working properly
Windows 11 also introduced a quirk to the power button on my Yoga C940: when I press it, the LED blinks for about 30 seconds, during which time the laptop cannot be turned back on. If I don’t want to wait for the light to stop blinking, I have to long press the button to force a shutdown, then restart the laptop (which probably takes about 30 seconds anyway).
Jared Newman / Foundry
Switching the power button behavior from hibernation to sleep mode didn’t help, and I haven’t found any other solutions yet. Stranger still, closing the lid of my laptop doesn’t cause the same behavior.
For now, I’ve resigned myself to thinking twice before hitting the power button. While this is only a minor annoyance overall, it is also a persistent reminder of the problems caused by Windows 11.
Screen contrast (temporarily) degraded
About a year ago I wrote about how some Intel-powered laptops have a weird auto-contrast feature that’s supposed to save power but ends up making the screen look dirty. At the time, I could disable this feature through Intel’s Graphics Command Center app with no apparent impact on battery life.
But about a month ago, I noticed that my laptop had reverted to its old ways of contrast correction, and Intel Graphics Command Center no longer offered any way to fix it. The required setting just disappeared and the constant contrast changes were slowly driving me crazy.
Stranger still, the problem suddenly resolved itself last week after an extended discussion with an Intel spokesperson, and I was able to disable the Graphics Command Center’s counterproductive power management attempts. While I’m glad my screen is back to normal, I haven’t received an explanation of what went wrong in the first place, and it makes me wonder how many more mild frustrations people are tolerating without a clear path to resolution.
It’s just slower (sometimes)
That last point is hard to pinpoint, let alone measure objectively, but my laptop has felt slower and less responsive at times since upgrading to Windows 11.
My Lenovo Yoga C940 has a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor and 12GB of RAM, which should be more than enough for my usual web browsing, email, and document editing. Still, sometimes the laptop can feel sluggish on startup and slow to switch between apps or browser tabs. Even keyboard input feels laggy at times.
To be honest, I’ve had plenty of periods where the laptop performs just fine, both on and off the charger, but that makes the occasional hiccup even more vexing. I take very good care of my computers, and investigation of the usual suspects (such as startup and system tray applications) turned up no obvious culprits. Again, it’s hard to tell if these issues are even directly related to Windows 11.
But I bring it up because it fits into the general pattern of things not working the way they used to, which makes me spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out why.
Most of the time, I get excited about software updates. I quickly embraced Windows 10 when it launched in 2015, and I always upgrade to the latest iOS or Android versions when available (sometimes even in beta). Even when issues with these updates do arise, they tend to be resolved fairly quickly, and I don’t regret taking the plunge.
Windows 11, for me, was the unfortunate exception.
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