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Windows 11 'new' setup experience is in fact ten years old

Windows 11s new setup experience

Last week, Microsoft released a new Windows 11 Canary build with a freshly made setup experience. Shortly after that, we published our closer look article, giving everyone a chance to check it out without installing build 26040. As it turned out, that setup process is anything but new.

If you have a few old Windows builds, you can try the "new experience" by executing setuphost /install /boot in Command Prompt. From there, everything looks like what Microsoft shipped turned on by default in build 26040. @XenoPanther on X demonstrated the command using the famous builds 21996 that was leaked shortly before the official Windows 11 announcement. Windows Central, on the other hand, claims you can get it working in one of the earliest Windows Technical Preview builds from 2014.

There is no information on why Microsoft decided to enable this 10-year-old experience in the latest Windows 11 preview build, not to mention advertising it like something brandnew. Besides, the "redesign" looks nothing like Windows 11's native design elements, resembling more Windows 7 or Windows Vista, despite Microsoft saying the interface is "much cleaner and more modern."

The situation is a bit funny and ironic, but it is not likely to upset hundreds of millions of users. A big chunk of the Windows audience will never see the setup process, nor will it care about what era it is from. On the other hand, dedicated Windows fans and enthusiasts can be rightfully disappointed.

As a reminder, some things in the Canary Channel may not ship to the public at all. Maybe there is still some hope for a better version with modernized UI bits and screens that look more Windows 11-like instead of Windows Vista-like.

Does Windows 11's new setup experience upset you? Let us know in the comments.

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