The official release of Windows 11 version 22H2, the first major update to Windows 11 since its launch in October 2021, is anticipated for later this fall. After the release of Windows 11, Microsoft stated that the operating system will only receive annual feature updates.
The Windows Insider Program’s Release Preview Channel has had 22H2 available since June 7, 2022. If you own a device running Windows 11, you can sign up to receive the update earlier if you like.
You can pre-test upcoming Windows features through the Windows Insider Program. Since June 2021, this is where you want to be if you really want to test out the 22H2 update, as Microsoft has been releasing early copies of Windows 11 in the Windows Insider Program.
If you have never registered before, the process is simple. Go to insider.windows.com and log in using your Microsoft account that you are using on your Windows 11 device. The next step is to head to Settings > Windows Update > Windows Insider Program and click ‘Get started’.
When 22H2 is released in its final form, you can count on a proper review from us. However, if you’re curious, here’s a preview of what the final release will look like.
Any user who has ever used the Task Manager to do things like examine memory utilization or disable applications running at startup will notice some changes. Instead of tabs across the top, icons for processes, performance, startup apps, and so on are arranged in a vertical row down the left side. The icons are now larger, there is more white space around the listings, and there is a new dark mode. The new Task Manager also allows you to do things like open a folder or launch an application with a single click.
The taskbar also underwent significant changes in Windows 11, although certain features were lost in the process. Previously, it was unable to drag and drop anything between applications on the taskbar in Windows 11, but that has since been fixed. Once again, you can drag a file from one application and drop it onto another by gliding over the taskbar.
While not technically part of the taskbar, Microsoft has also added a shortcut to Microsoft Journal to the pen menu (displayed whenever a pen is attached and active). This is a brand new app that offers a different approach to taking notes.
The introduction of tabs in File Explorer has been a long time coming and greatly simplifies working with numerous directories at once and transferring files between them. It’s great to see Microsoft finally implementing this long-awaited functionality.
Nonetheless, that is by no means the only change made to File Explorer. Next, some tweaks have been made to what was previously known as the Quick Access page. Important files can now be pinned to the new Favorites section, and the Recent Items list at the bottom could include recent files from OneDrive and SharePoint.
Microsoft has also made some improvements to the modernized context menu, so you don’t really have to utilize the Show more options function as much. Fonts, certificates, and .inf files all display an Install option in the contemporary context menu, for starters. In the This PC area, the context menu when you click an empty spot now contains the ability to map a network drive, and right-clicking a network drive now makes it easy to disconnect it. Microsoft has also enabled the contemporary context menu whenever users right-click the recycle bin on the desktop. By holding Shift when right-clicking, you can now access the standard context menu.
The OneDrive folder has also been updated so that the app’s icon appears in the menu bar. You can check how much space you have left in OneDrive and whether or not your files are synced from this page.
The Quick Settings panel is another new feature that has been much improved in Windows 11. The widespread adoption of Bluetooth-enabled gadgets represents a significant shift in this context. No longer do you have to navigate to the Settings menu just to handle your Bluetooth devices; you can do it right from the Quick Settings panel. From this discreet drop-down menu, you may pair or unpair devices, check their battery status, and connect new ones.
For machines that can use multiple color profiles, Quick Settings now includes the ability to swap between them. This feature is available on some devices designed for creative workers, and it’s helpful to have it situated where you can easily use it in order to toggle between tasks.
Smart App Control is the first of several new security features included in Windows 11 version 22H2. This function prevents you from launching potentially harmful applications by comparing them to databases of trusted software and security vulnerabilities. Until Windows 11 is reinstalled from scratch, you won’t have access to this function. To assess whether or not it can be useful in keeping your device secure without being annoying, it first spends some time checking your usage habits after being enabled.
Memory integrity is another innovation aimed at preventing the injection of malicious code into highly secure operations. Windows Security will prompt you to turn on this feature if you haven’t already, as disabling it poses a serious security risk.
There are also significant enhancements in this edition for users with disabilities who rely on accessibility features. The brand new Voice Access feature, along with Live captioning and tweaks to Narrator, are examples.
Live captions, which are comparable to those found on Android devices, are a new and exciting feature in Windows 11 version 22H2. Live captions provide real-time subtitles for any audio output from your computer, but at the moment they are only available in English (US). This is a huge step forward in terms of accessibility for people of all hearing abilities as well as those who have trouble focusing on audio alone, such as those who are still learning English and may not be able to quickly distinguish every spoken word.
New in Windows 11, this capability enables you to command the operating system with your voice. The Settings app includes a voice toggle that can be activated under the Accessibility > Speech menu. After activation, you may use voice control to perform actions such as opening, closing, and minimizing apps, as well as clicking, right-clicking, scrolling, and more.
One of Voice Access’s strongest features is the ability to attach numbers to screen items, making it easier to pick the thing you want by simply speaking the number associated with it. Displaying a grid can further subdivide the UI into more manageable chunks, making it simpler to find the precise section of the UI you need. When you have voice access, you can also use your voice to input text.