Microsoft today released its biggest update yet for Windows 11 since its launch. Here are some of the new features in the 22H2 update.
This will be the biggest update to date for Windows 11, and according to Microsoft, it will focus on these four areas – which translate to the best of our ability from Microsoft’s own PR language:
- Making computer use easier and safer for everyone.
- Empowering people to be more productive.
- Improving opportunities for socialization, production and gaming.
- More security, management and flexibility in the workplace.
Focus mode, or ‘focus mode’, is said to help users focus on what they’re doing, including by putting notifications and the like on hold through the automatic ‘Do Not Disturb’ function. Focus mode should also be integrated with the Clock app, so Windows can remind you to take breaks, among other things.
Folders in the start menu and other changes to the interface
After months of testing, Microsoft should now be ready to run folders in the start menu, so that you can group apps and other things in them, thus better organizing the list.
The taskbar also gets a welcome upgrade, in the form of a “drag and drop” return.
In addition, the task manager will get a new dark mode and a significantly improved design, with a new command line. It should now be easier to prevent apps from running unruly and consuming too much performance.
New animations and touch gestures will also come in the 22H2, as well as an improved functionality to automatically organize apps and windows on the screen.
One of the areas of focus for Microsoft in this update was accessibility, and this is reflected, among other things, in the improved automatic translation of audio recordings. There should also be a new voice control in your computer.
File Explorer will get categories, reportedly, but not yet. This is expected to come in a later update during the fall.
Better features for players
HDR in Windows has always been an issue, but Microsoft is now promising to improve the point. Auto-HDR and variable screen refresh rate will come to Windows 11, as well as Game Pass, but then to the Xbox app. HDR should be able to calibrate it using a new app with this in mind.
HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range” and is a technology that should provide good detail reproduction in both the darkest and brightest parts of the image at the same time.
A new “control bar,” which should make it easier to use the game console to select and activate games you’ve played before, will also come to Windows.
Smart APP Control
Smart App Control should be able to block apps that Microsoft considers unsafe. When an app stops, you’ll be given the option to search for an app in the Microsoft App Store, or if you think the blocking was wrong, send feedback to Microsoft about the matter. As far as we can see, no option has been added to bypass the ban and install the app in question anyway.
Smart App Control can be set in “Assessment Mode”, which is supposed to be able to know what to stop and what to let pass.
However, you can choose to turn off Smart App Control entirely – but it will be permanent, and you will then have to reinstall Windows to change the choice. You also cannot activate Smart App Control if you have updated an existing Windows installation. A brand new Windows installation is required.
Another security feature is Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, which should automatically log when a user enters their login criteria into a suspicious app or website, and warn them when this happens.
clench the fist
A less pleasant change is that Microsoft is now tightening its grip on the capabilities of setting up a Windows PC without having a Microsoft account. Previously, this was not a strict requirement for the Pro version of Windows 11, but in the 22H2 update, according to what we have learned, Microsoft will close one of the known possibilities for this. Previously, you could have eliminated this by disconnecting the device from the Internet in time, but 22H2 should remove that possibility.
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