The 2022 Update for Windows 11 comes with something fresh for everyone.
When Microsoft released Windows 11 in 2017, it was abundantly evident that personal computers had returned. During-the-pandemic, the number of people using personal computers had surged, and hybrid work had become the new normal for many people worldwide. But the new operating system wasn’t quite ready to capitalize on those advancements; Windows 11 gave off the impression of being a work in progress, like an old house undergoing extensive remodeling. Microsoft is now offering the Windows 11 2022 Update to make those renovations appear to be more comprehensive.
Over the past year, Microsoft has made significant advancements to Windows 11, to the point where it now appears as though the operating system receives upgrades every month. The Windows 11 2022 Update addresses many early problems I had with Microsoft’s original active system release. It has improved enough sections that I have gone ahead and upgraded my primary PC to Windows 11 after initially holding off on the change for as long as I could. If you, like many others, have been reluctant to upgrade, the Windows 11 2022 Update might be the perfect-opportunity to take-the plunge. This, of course, assumes that your computer can run the updated version in the first place.
Features like Start-menu-folders, improvements to Snap Layouts, Live Captions across the entire operating system, improved touch-gestures, and even a new Xbox-controller bar is included in the Windows 11 2022 Update, which is now available for download. In addition, it marks a significant shift in Microsoft’s approach to developing new features and includes several substantial accessibility improvements. Almost everyone using Windows will find something new and valuable in this post.
The Start menu now supports folders. Image: Microsoft
Once you have upgraded to the Windows 11 2022 Update, the first noticeable feature is the addition of folders to the Start menu. On the Start menu, you can build folders by pinning programs to top of one another and then dragging more apps on top of those folders. Additionally, Microsoft has included the capability to resize the pinned area, allowing users to view a smaller portion of the recommended feed of files that displays underneath apps on the Start menu. This is one of the new features that has been included.
I’m sure there will be a lot of Windows users who wish they had more control and customization options over the Start menu. Still, I enjoy the modifications that Microsoft has made to Windows 11 in general concerning this aspect of the operating system. The Start menu now appears more comprehensive due to the addition of folders.
The Windows 11 2022 Update has made improvements to Snap Layouts, which is one of my favorite features in Windows 11. This update brings about even more progress. A new snap bar will emerge at the top of your screen as soon as you start moving an app or folder around. This bar will allow you to rapidly organize apps into Snap Layouts, and larger monitors will provide you with a more significant number of grids and layout options.
Snap Layouts are even more helpful now. Image: Microsoft
It’s a simple and discreet adjustment, but it means I’m now using Snap Layouts on both my laptop and desktop computer, which are running Windows 11. I’ve gone back to Windows 10 on several of the devices I own, and while I like the operating system overall, I regret having Snap Layouts and other simple ways to organize programs and windows.
If you, like me, weren’t a big fan of the taskbar in Windows 11, you’ll be happy to know that it has undergone significant improvements over the past year. At the beginning of this year, the time and date in the taskbar returned to multiple monitors, and the Windows 11 2022 Update gives back the ability to drag and drop. Simply incorporating these straightforward improvements into Windows 11 makes the operating system far more workable for me, and I’m relieved that Microsoft didn’t make me wait too long before reintroducing them.
The taskbar, on the other hand, is not yet quite flawless. It’s not a big deal for me if I can’t change the size or position of the taskbar, or if I can’t ungroup the icons on it, or if I can’t even set small taskbar icons, but there are those Windows users who genuinely miss having this level of customization. Because Microsoft is still working on this redesigned taskbar, the process is not yet complete on this computer.
The Task-Manager now has a dark mode. Image:- Microsoft
According to Christina Koehn, primary design director for Windows 11, in an interview with The Verge, “We did completely-overhaul the taskbar for Windows-11 and there were a lot of reasons for doing so.” “We are aware that consumers want to be able to dock it to the left or the right or move it about, and it boils down to prioritizing functionality depending on the requirements of our clients,” said the company.
Windows 11 is also beginning to have a more uniform appearance at this point. In the Windows 11 2022 Update, Microsoft has made some under-the-radar modifications to the design, including improvements to animations, icons, and more. Even the dark mode has been updated, and now the Task Manager has a new user interface in addition to its dark appearance. Microsoft is taking its time to get them right and not simply applying a general black theme everywhere. There are still many sections of Windows 11 that aren’t dark, and it is clear that this is because many parts of Windows 11 aren’t fully opaque.
“In the past, we’ve looked at dark-themes or dark-mode as being solid back, and what we’ve learned by following our principles is that a dark-gray or a softer-gray works as it has got to be really tuned in so that it’s not just black,” explains Koehn. “A dark-gray or a softer-gray works as it has got to be tuned in so that it’s not just black.” You can see this in the Task-Manager, where the white text on the black background is still easy to see, and many portions are either a darker or softer gray. There is still a significant amount of work that has to be done, and Microsoft has not yet released the dark mode for Microsoft Paint, even though it was announced over a-year-ago.
The Xbox-controller bar is ideal for navigating without a keyboard and mouse. Image:- Microsoft
It is strongly-recommended that you install the Windows 11 2022 Update on any tablet or 2-in-1 computer you own. In this version, Microsoft has significantly improved the gestures, enabling users to do actions such as swiping up to enter the Start menu or using gestures to quickly move between apps. Similarly, playing games on Windows will notice some significant improvements after installing this update. You can now easily access PC launchers and rounds using just your Xbox controller, and if you play games in windowed mode, there have been improvements made to latency and performance. This feature is only available for fun on the Xbox One.
Windows 11 was released with the Auto HDR capability found on the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles. Additionally, Microsoft now enables windowed games to use Auto HDR and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). Further, the latency of older DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 games run in windowed mode is greatly improved due to the changes. PC gamers, who in the past have often been required to run games in full screen to gain all of the latency and performance benefits, will find this inspiring news.
The Windows 11 2022 Update also includes some significant enhancements to functions related to accessibility. Live Captions are quickly becoming one of the most popular new features. Live Captions is something that I find myself using on an almost daily basis to automatically generate captions for any content that contains audio. People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing will benefit tremendously from using the Winkey + CTRL + L keyboard shortcut, which provides access to the Live Captions feature. Captions can float in a window, be displayed at the top or bottom of a screen, or be generated automatically on the device from any content that includes audio. Captions are generated automatically from any content that includes audio.
Live Captions are a significant improvement in the Windows 11 2022 Update. Image: Microsoft
Voice Access, which enables a user to manage a computer using only their voice and new voices for the Narrator function, are also included in the Windows 11 2022 Update. If you have any experience with the older versions of the Microsoft Sam voice, you are aware of how artificial and unnatural it sounds. In comparison, the new agents offered by Microsoft are very remarkable.
In an interview with The Verge, Carolina Hernandez, a principal PM manager at Microsoft, stated that the company is working on incorporating “state-of-the-art text-to-speech” into the Windows operating system. “Because these voices can more accurately mimic natural conversation, it is far more enjoyable to listen to these voices.”
According to Hernandez, who is in charge of a team working to make Windows’s design more accessible for individuals with impairments, Microsoft has engaged disabled people to assist push certain types of investments. This investment is paying off as many accessibility-focused improvements have been added this year.
The Narrator sounds way more natural now. Image: Microsoft
The accessibility focus of this version continues with the addition of a new feature called Voice Access. With Voice Access, a narration bar will appear at the top of your screen, allowing you to navigate Windows solely via your voice. You can interact with applications, move the cursor around, copy and paste text, and do pretty much anything else that you would typically be able to do with a keyboard and mouse. People who are limited in their movement or anyone else who wants or needs to control their computer with nothing more than a microphone would benefit from this feature.
“One-of-the things that we’ve adopted is this inclusive design philosophy for our goods,” says Hernandez. “This is one of the things that we’ve done.” Outside of the realm of technology, we have witnessed this phenomenon for many years with curb cuts that were at first designed for wheelchair users but now also assist cyclists and parents pushing strollers and baby carriages. Microsoft is approaching accessibility improvements in this area analogous to previously.
Voice-Access lets you control your PC with just your voice. Image:- Microsoft
In addition to the significant advancements in accessibility, the Windows 11 2022 Update also contains specific enhancements to the “do not disturb” option and the focus mode. If you want to be able to concentrate on your work without being distracted by notifications, there is a new “do not disturb” button in the notification panel that you can use. If you want to take things a step-further, you can create a 30-minute focus session from this panel, which will remove the badge icons from the taskbar. It is designed to be free of distractions, and I found it quite helpful as I was writing all about this update.
If there weren’t any new or improved security features in the Windows 11 2022 Upgrade, there wouldn’t be an update to Windows. In this most recent version, Microsoft is adding a new feature known as Smart App Control. This is a new component aimed at preventing scripting assaults and the launch of untrusted applications. However, to receive this specific feature, you will need to perform a clean installation of Windows 11. This is because Microsoft wants to ensure that there aren’t any untrusted applications already operating on the device before enabling the capability.
Smart App Control in Windows 11. Image: Microsoft
Additionally, Microsoft is working to make Windows Update friendlier to the environment by enhancing it. According to Nicci Trovinger, senior director of Windows product marketing, in an interview with The Verge, “We can plan your Windows Update for a time when more green energy is available, which helps you potentially lessen your carbon impact.”
The name “Windows 11 2022 Update” gives the impression that this will be the only update released in 2022. However, Microsoft has promised more features before the year is out. In October, tabs, a much-requested feature, will be added to File Explorer. Tabs will be part of a redesigned homepage in File Explorer that will provide rapid access to files that have been recently used or favorites.
The Images app will also receive an upgrade the following month, bringing a new user interface for managing photos, including a gallery, improved browsing, and the ability to simply back up photos to the cloud storage service OneDrive. In October, the taskbar will also receive an overflow menu and a new suggested actions feature. This feature will give you possible actions whenever you copy information, such as phone numbers, dates, and more.
File Explorer tabs are coming in October. Image: Microsoft
However, not all of the improvements introduced by the Windows 11 2022 Update are desirable. If you are using a device for personal use, you will also need a Microsoft account to complete the setup process. Microsoft now demands that your device has internet connectivity during the first device setup process for the Pro version. This behavior was first seen in Windows 11 Home editions, and it is disheartening to discover that Microsoft now enforces this policy for Windows 11 Professional editions.
In terms of the future, Microsoft has indicated that it will deliver new Windows 11 features as-soon-as they are prepared to do so. This might imply that we get new features every month, but it doesn’t mean that the major update that comes out yearly will be eliminated. Rumors were going around that Microsoft wouldn’t issue a significant update for Windows 11 in 2023, but Microsoft has denied those rumors. “We will still have an annual-release that will be available once every year, and it will be available in the second-half of the-year,” adds Trovinger. “This will be available in the second half of the year.”
As part of the company’s efforts to cultivate new ideas and concepts, Microsoft is currently putting additional aspects of Windows 11 through the Windows Insider program through which it tests and experiments. According to Amanda Langowski, the chief of the Windows Insider program, “We’ve started thinking about how we can-lean in and trust the Windows-Insider-program a lot more.” Sharing early versions of code or ideas before they have been wholly developed means this. “In the past, people might have been a little more anxious about that, and they might have wanted it to be perfect and polished before we put it out there. However, we’re becoming a lot more comfortable sharing some of these ideas, listening to customer feedback, and just observing how people are actually interacting with it.”
These tests will now define the future of Windows 11 and the updates available to all of us in the coming year and beyond. Before that, however, the Windows 11 2022 Update will become available, ensuring that upgrading to the following operating system will be worthwhile. Live-Captions, Snap Layouts, and some of the gaming enhancements are some things that I rely on every single day, but a year ago, I couldn’t point to a single feature in Windows 11 that was worth the instant upgrade. Now, however, I can tell to all of these things.
Windows 11 maintains the classic Windows experience that has been around for decades. Still, the 2022 Update adds even more cutting-edge capabilities that I believe the vast majority of Windows users are going to find to be highly appealing.