Microsoft doubles down on compression in Windows 11: Small ‘Inbox’ apps binaries will ‘load on demand’, and optional drivers can be uninstalled safely

Windows 11 Small Inbox Apps Compression Drivers Uninstall
Windows 11 will compress and offer apps as stubs until used. Pic credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is quite aggressively attempting to keep Windows 11 lean on the boot disk. The OS will keep small “Inbox” apps as launch icons only while users can safely uninstall hardware drivers to further reclaim disk space.

Windows 11 will arrive in about a fortnight, and Microsoft has been releasing some interesting titbits of information about the new operating system.

Small ‘Inbox’ apps in Windows 11 will have their binaries ‘load on demand’ but larger applications are ‘ready to go’:

Windows 11 will start rolling out as a free upgrade and as part of new computers on October 5. Microsoft has been sharing some interesting information about the new OS, and the latest one is about new compression techniques to keep Windows 11 lean.

Windows 11 will try and reduce the disk footprint for various “Inbox Apps”. To reduce disk space consumption, Microsoft claims it has made changes to the compression technology of the operating system and as well the inbox apps.

Microsoft collectively calls some apps, including the calculator, the mail/calendar app, and the snipping tool, like the Inbox Apps. These are small apps that do not need a lot of computing power or storage space.

Microsoft has indicated that the default state of inbox apps like Sticky notes and Microsoft To-Do is actually a stub. In other words, users will merely get icons that launch these apps.

These apps won’t have all the binaries locally installed until first installed. Whenever a Windows 11 user will launch Sticky Notes for the first time from the Start menu, they will see a new loading screen.

While the user is seeing the loading screen, Windows 11 will collect and load all the necessary app binaries. Microsoft calls it “on-demand loading”, and claims it helps reduce the size of apps on disk: “This reduces size on disk, and you’ll also see less background update activity and download traffic”.

Windows 11 users can uninstall or delete certain drivers as they are now ‘Features on Demand’:

It appears Windows 11 will pull all the binaries for the Inbox Apps from the Microsoft Store. It is quite likely that Microsoft might not even include the files with the OS.

Microsoft has confirmed that large applications such as MS Office will be part of “on-demand loading”. However, certain drivers and software related to hardware will be part of “Features on Demand” or FOD

Microsoft has mentioned that pre-installed Ethernet and Wi-Fi drivers are now FODs. Windows 11 will include these pieces of software. However, if users do not need these drivers, they can manually remove the FODs for the drivers

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