The biggest advancements I have seen in Windows in the past few versions are
Windows snap (use it 100x a day)
Start menu search. When Vista came out, half the complaints were about the start menu. With windows search, who the hell uses the start menu? I have not since Vista
Much improved task manager
Virtual desktops - still lag behind MacOS but they are a welcome addition
Windows snap: never use it
Start menu search: rarely use it. It's worthless if you don't know the name of the item you're searching for but a hierarchical menu system will get you there.
Virtual desktops: never use them.
There are a couple things that are a must in a GUI -- you should be able to get to everything within it and you should keep things consistent. Microsoft has violated both precepts.
Microsoft started eliminating apps in favor of things that you can only get to through powershell or vbscript. The reason that Windows exists in the server environment was because it could be administered from a GUI rather than Unix/Linux which relied on the CLI and scripting. I know that scripting works better at scale but now I have to hire administrators with scripting/programming skills even for small environments.
If you can objectively improve things, you can make changes and violate the consistency rule but you should never do so arbitrarily. This is what's pissed off so many people in the past with the Windows menus. Microsoft would arbitrarily change where things were located. What was the compelling need to change the start menu from Windows 7 to WIndows 8/10? Why is there now a settings menu with less features than what control panel had? Why wouldn't Device Manager be under Windows System? Microsoft seems to be improving the Windows Subsystem for Linux to truly be part of the Windows OS. Once you do that, why not rely on the Linux scripting tools for administration? There's so much inconsistency in how things are done in Windows now, it's really hard to get excited about any new release. The features they add usually aren't compelling and they make so many arbitrary changes that it just makes your life harder for no reason while also breaking something in the process. The Start Menu thing almost seems like a make-work government project because each release just ensures that another one is required when the obvious solution seems to be to look at what worked in Windows 7 and replicate it as much as possible since people are still using Classic-shell/Open-Shell, Startx, etc for a reason.