I’ve held on for about a year, but the Windows 11 2022 Update could be the thing that finally makes me ditch Windows 10. Microsoft has announced all the new features coming to the next version of Windows 11, including UI improvements. There are also new accessibility features that bring Windows 11 on par with iOS, macOS, and Android, plus an improved native video editor. Here’s a rundown of some of the exciting new capabilities in Windows 11.
How to download the Windows 11 2022 update
If you’re itching to get your hands on the new version, it’s actually quite easy. If you already have Windows 11 on version 21H2 or higher, just open Windows Update settings and select the option Check for new updates.
If you’re like me and still on Windows 10, Microsoft suggests that you first verify that your PC meets the minimum system requirements through the PC Health Check app. If you don’t have it, you can download it at this official page. The link is below. Once you’re ready, check for the update the same way you would in Windows 11. If you still want to wait after checking out some of the new capabilities, there’s good news: Microsoft will continue to service Windows 10 with regular updates through October 2020. 2025.
Microsoft has always bragged about Windows’ ability to help you multitask, and this update is no different. File Explorer gains tabs, just like an Internet browser. The new start page in File Explorer starts with quick access to recent files and everything you’ve bookmarked, including files and folders you’ve pinned to that space beforehand. Microsoft will offer additional personalized suggestions based on your OneDrive and Microsoft 365 accounts.
Window snapping layouts will get better touch navigation in this version of Windows 11, making them feel less choppy when you’re dragging and snapping on a touchscreen PC. If you’re using Microsoft Edge, the update brings instant layouts for multiple browser tabs, so you can keep links open within the app instead of sprawling them all over your desktop. That alone should make it easier to work with multiple browser windows.
Microsoft’s Photos app is also getting a makeover. The new update will overhaul the gallery and help you better navigate the file system. Microsoft has also been “inspired” by Apple and Google Photos to present Memories, a space that combines similar images and shows them with a slight narrative touch. I’m very curious how that will work with my screenshot archive of Beverly Hills, 90210.
Windows 11 Update offers additional suggested actions when you copy a text, phone number, or date in the future, though it entirely depends on how deep into the company ecosystem you are. The system will suggest, for example, calling a number through Teams or Skype. If you copy a date, it will offer an option to add it as an event in the Calendar app. These new interface improvements are coming to Windows 11 starting in October.
Native tools to work at home or on the go
Windows also boasts of being a productivity platform, which is why the latest Windows 11 update is packed with ways to get things done without having to search for a third-party app to do it for you.
The first is better notification control. A new feature called Focus Session will activate Do not disturb, muting notifications throughout the system and all apps. It also hides notification icons from the taskbar to prevent you from being visually distracted. This new feature is integrated with the Clock app to remind you to take regular Pomodoro-style breaks. For people who are on Teams calls all day, Microsoft has added Windows Studio Effects to help improve audio and video. The effects use AI to help you see yourself better, with background blur and automatic framing. It can also help dampen background noise, which is a feature most conferencing apps already implement. Working from home doesn’t have to be a quiet environment, especially with children and animals running around.
I’m especially interested in the new native Windows video editing app, because no one should have to use a full editing suite just to cut a few seconds for a class project. clipchamp it’s now part of Windows and has been updated with additional templates and effects if you want to do something a little more polished.
Real-time captions and accessibility
Windows 11 joins the rest of the tech world by adding live subtitles system-wide. The ability existed before in specific Windows apps, but is now available whenever you’re playing video or audio. You can also move the live subtitles to make it more comfortable for you to read them.
Voice access is another tool coming to Windows 11 that allows you to navigate the interface and dictate text with your voice. The feature has a tutorial that is activated the first time you activate it to help you understand how to control your PC in this way. While using voice access, you can ask for help along the way so you can adjust your voice commands as needed. Lastly, Microsoft has added natural voices to its narration feature, which makes the PC sound less robotic when you’re in this assist mode. Their names are Aria, Guy and Jenny.
Video games on PC, of course
If you’re running Windows 11, chances are you’ll end up playing one or two (or 200) PC games. The new controller bar that comes as part of this update makes it easy to switch between different games and launchers. Appears when you press the Xbox button on the Xbox Wireless Controller or other compatible controller.
Windows 11 2022 Update also adds some graphical improvements for windowed games. Any game running DirectX10 or 11 will get improved display latency, Auto HDR, and variable refresh rate support, which should help overall game fluidity. Until now, these features were only available for full-screen gaming.
The security features Microsoft introduced in April of this year are finally available in this version of Windows 11. They include support for Microsoft Pluto, which uses a security chip built into the CPU to help provide additional encryption, and smart app control. . The latter is what your IT department can use to scan applications before installing them on your work computer.
Microsoft has also improved phishing detection with Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, while business PCs will have Local Security Authority (LSA) turned on by default. You can read the full rundown of the new security features at security blog from Microsoft.
Windows 11 2022, or version 22H2, starts rolling out today. Some features, like the new Tabbed File Explorer, are scheduled to launch in October. Please note that if your PC is not up to spec, you may not see the update available for some time.