I managed to install Windows 11 build 21996.1, inside a virtual machine thanks to a kind fellow journalist linking me to the leaked ISO, it took around five minutes. The out of box experience is pleasant with light colors used and not the harsh dark blue and blacks we were used to with Windows 8 and 10, well I will let the images speak for themselves in the gallery below.
As you can see above, the context menu for Start received an upgrade. I haven't been able to find this style of menu anywhere else yet, I checked the context menu for the taskbar, and it is now just a floating Settings option, as seen below.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to enable Dark mode through the VM thanks to not having the proper display drivers installed. However, thanks to Paul Thurrott who decided to upgrade one of his desktop PCs, we can see the fuller extent of the graphics experience through his First Impressions article.
It seems the leaks did not go by unnoticed from Microsoft too, who tweeted that "This is just the Start." Yes, it's clear that this is a super early build, it isn't uncommon for new Windows versions to use a base from the previous version to start off, in this case a 'prettyified' copy of Windows 10 with elements borrowed from Windows 10X.
I am sure we will still be surprised by what Microsoft shows us on June 24, we'll be there bringing you coverage.