Windows 11 22H2 new features (2022 Update) is available starting September 20, 2022. It represents the first major update of the new generation of Windows, introducing a new set of features and enhancements to improve security, productivity, and the overall user experience. On September 20, Microsoft made available the Windows 11 2022 Update as a free upgrade for devices already running Windows 11 21H2 and those compatible computers running Windows 10 that are known to have a smooth upgrade experience. Over time, the update will continue to expand to more devices based on hardware eligibility, reliability metrics, age of the hardware, and other factors. Then sometime during the first half of 2023, Windows 11 22H2 will be fully available.
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Like previous releases, you will receive a notification to download the new version manually through Windows Update. If you are a “seeker,” you can force the upgrade by clicking the Check for updates button in the Windows Update settings and then the Download and install button. Alternatively, you can install the new update using a USB installation media or ISO file to perform an in-place upgrade or clean installation. In addition, you can use the Installation Assistant to upgrade. This guide highlights the improvements as they appear in previews through the Windows Insider Program and will be updated regularly to reflect the changes. Last updated on November 4, 2022, with the changes available to build 22622.675 in the Release Preview Channel.
These are the new features for Windows 11 22H2:
- New Start menu folders to group apps.
- New option to change the number of pins in the Start menu.
- Taskbar ability to drag and drop files and apps.
- Taskbar Overflow menu to hide apps that don’t fit.
- New Snap layouts drag and drop interface.
- New Task Manager with a modern interface.
- New Live captions feature to improve understanding of spoken content.
- New Voice access feature to control a device with voice.
- New touch gestures for tablets.
- News Smart App Control (SAC) feature to block dangerous apps.
- Legacy interface with visual changes.
- Updated Focus feature with focus session integration.
- Updated File Explorer with tabs and redesigned navigation pane.
- Updated Quick Settings with options to control Bluetooth devices.
- Updated Print Queue and Print dialog apps with automatic printer detection.
- Improved power management tweaks to reduce energy composition.
- Option to uninstall updates from the Settings app.
What’s new on Windows 11 22H2
These are the new Windows 11 22H2 features already available through the Windows Insider Program.
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Start menu improvements
Windows 11 22H2 brings new settings to customize the “Recommended” section in the Start menu. While it’s still not possible to disable and remove the feature, you can now choose from three different options in the Start settings page to show fewer recommended items and more pins, including “More pins,” “Default,” and “More recommendations.” The “More pins” only shows a single row of items and allows you to show more pins. The “Default” option shows three rows of recommended items and three rows of pin items, and the “More Recommendations” option offers more recommended items and two rows of pins.
In addition, this new version adds another entry in the right-click context menu for the “Recommended” and “More” buttons in the Start menu to refresh the items. As part of the power menu settings, Windows also adds a quick access button that opens the “Sign-in options” page. The “Windows Easy of Access” folder has been renamed to “Accessibility,” the “Windows Terminal” to “Terminal,” and “Windows Media Player” to “Windows Media Player Legacy.” Another big feature of the Start menu is folders. You can now drag an app on top of another to create a folder. You can add more apps to a folder, rearrange apps within a folder, and remove apps from a folder. It’s also possible to rename the folder with the “Edit folder” option.
In the Taskbar, you can now scroll the mouse wheel in the Taskbar volume icon to change the volume level. On the Taskbar settings page, you will now find the option to enable or disable the ability to share a window from a Taskbar on apps like Microsoft Teams. The experience is getting a minor update that shows when you use spatial sound in the tooltip. Windows 11 22H2 brings some changes for the “Quick Settings” flyout, including a new option to open the “Bluetooth & Devices” setting page when right-clicking the “Bluetooth” button. In addition, there’s a new icon next to the volume slider to make the option more discoverable. Also, the tooltip on the volume icon has been updated to show when you are using spatial sound. In the “Notification Center,” the experience improves the visibility of app names from the notifications. In addition, the notification design has been updated to include an acrylic background. And the animation used in the Windows Hello notification when setting up the feature has been updated.
Microsoft is also updating the notification system. For example, in apps that send notifications for calls, reminders, or alarms, the three high-priority notifications will now appear stacked simultaneously. This means that you may end up seeing up to four notifications at one time (three high-priority and one normal-priority). Windows 11 2022 Update finally brings an updated flyout design for the system hardware indicators, including volume, brightness, camera privacy, turning the camera on and off, and airplane mode to align with the new system style design language. These new elements also support the light and dark color modes. Furthermore, when using the Windows key + ALT + K keyboard shortcut, you will now see a confirmation flyout when muting a Microsoft Teams call. Also, when you open the “Quick links” menu by right-clicking the Start button or using the “Windows key + X” keyboard shortcut, you will notice that the “Apps & Features” entry has now been renamed to “Installed apps.”
Furthermore, the menu now includes the “Terminal” entry to open Windows Terminal as the app is the new system default for all the command-line applications. The Windows PowerShell entry will appear if the console isn’t available. Also, Windows 11 now shows the estimated battery life in the tooltip for the battery icon in the System tray. The Task View (Windows key + Tab) experience now shows Snap groups allowing users to quickly switch to different snap groups. Also, the preview for Snap groups will now show part of the desktop wallpaper to make it easier to distinguish between the groups. When you open Task View on a system with multiple monitors, the background should now be acrylic on both monitors. In addition, this version makes the keyboard focus visuals more prominent in Task View to make them easier to see. Furthermore, when using the ALT + Tab keyboard shortcut, the experience will show running apps in a windowed interface instead of a full-screen experience. However, clicking the Task View button in the Taskbar will continue to show running apps in full-screen. Also, The selected item in “ALT + TAB,” “Task View,” and “Snap assist” will now use the system accent color. In addition, this new version has a new interface to switch between languages and keyboard layouts with an acrylic background. Also, Microsoft made improvements to its overall performance and reliability. Windows 11 22H2 also brings the ability to drag and drop files between app windows by hovering over apps in the Taskbar to bring their windows to the foreground. If you attach a file to an Outlook email by dragging it and hovering over the Outlook icon in the Taskbar to get the window to the foreground. Once in the foreground, drop your file into the email to attach it.
You can also customize the Taskbar with apps from Start’s “All apps” list by dragging and dropping over the Taskbar to pin them. And you can drag and drop to the desktop via “Show desktop” at the very left corner of the Taskbar. Microsoft has added a new visual indication to the Taskbar in the share window feature, indicating which window is being shared. This is important when multiple applications run or split your attention across multiple monitors. When you choose to share a window in your Microsoft Teams call, the shared window will now be surrounded by a colored border. On a laptop or desktop configured with more than one color profile, you will be able to add a quick setting to switch more easily between these modes. When casting (Windows key + K) from your computer, a “Cast” icon will appear at the lower-left corner of your Taskbar to indicate you are casting. Clicking the icon will open the “Cast Quick Settings,” where you can quickly stop the stream.
This new version also introduces the Taskbar Overflow feature, which makes it easier to switch and launch apps when you don’t have a lot of space in the Taskbar. According to the company, the Taskbar will automatically transition into this new Overflow mode when it reaches its maximum capacity.
While in the Overflow mode, the Taskbar will offer an entry point to an overflow menu that allows viewing the apps in one space. The overflow menu features many Taskbar behaviors, including support for pinned apps, jump lists, and an extended interface. After invoking overflow, the menu will quietly dismiss once you click outside of it or navigate to an application.
Do Not Disturb and Focus
On Windows 11, the “do not disturb” feature makes it easy to silence notification banners. In the Notifications settings, you can set up rules to automatically turn on do not disturb. For example, you could automatically set do not disturb to turn on outside your work hours. In addition, you can set priority notifications to control whether calls, reminders, and specific app breaks through when do not disturb is enabled. In addition to changing the name from “Focus assist” to “Focus” to help you stay on track, the feature now integrates with the Clock app for other focus tools, such as a focus timer and calming music.
To start “Focus” is easy from the Notification Center by pressing the Start Focus button. When you start a “Focus” session, Taskbar badging will turn off, flashing of applications in the Taskbar will turn off, a focus timer will appear on screen, and do not disturb will turn on. When your focus session ends, you’ll receive a notification letting you know your focus time has been completed. You can personalize your focus experience on Settings > System > Focus.
New Snap layouts drop menu
Microsoft is also adding a new way to snap windows into snap layouts for both touch and mouse. You can try it by dragging a window to the top of the screen to reveal the snap layouts, dropping the window on top of a zone to snap it, and using Snap assist to finish snapping your windows in the selected layout. The company has improved Snap assist to seamlessly animate between zones in a layout for a better end-to-end experience. Snap assist will now show the three most recent tabs of Microsoft Edge as suggestions to snap in the layout. You can always disable the feature from the “Multitasking” settings page in the “System” section. When resizing apps in the snap layouts, you will see the corresponding app “icon” on top of the acrylic background. If you press the “Windows key + Z” keyboard shortcut to open Snap layouts, the layouts will now appear with numbers to make them easier to identify.
Microsoft has updated the snap group visuals to include the desktop wallpaper to make it easier to differentiate your groups from normal windows. This will appear when using ALT + TAB, Task View, and Taskbar previews. You will also notice a new transition animation that shows going from one snapped window state to another. Rotating the computer between portrait and landscape orientation is snappier and more responsive. And Microsoft has reduced the number of notification sounds that play when you connect and disconnect docks and monitors. It is now easier to move the cursor and windows between monitors by letting your cursor jump over areas where it would previously get stuck. This behavior is controlled in System > Display > Multiple displays settings and using the Ease cursor movement between displays option. Finally, Windows 11 also made minor changes to the snapping options under System > Multitasking to help simplify them and make them easier to understand.
File Explorer update
Starting with the 2022 Update, Windows 11 introduces an update for File Explorer that includes several visual changes and improvements. For example, this version ships with new and highly requested features, including support for tabs and redesigned navigation pane. You will find a new Home page, OneDrive integration, shortcuts, changes for the context menu, and more.
New Home page
File Explorer has a new default “Home” page. However, this isn’t something entirely new. Microsoft has only renamed the “Quick access” page to “Home” and added a new icon. Also, the “Quick access” name will now be the name of the first section in “Home” that holds your pinned folders, and the “Pinned files” section is now called “Favorites.” The “Recent” section holds your recent files locally stored on the device or in the cloud. Also, the recent and favorite files sections are now searchable using the box in File Explorer, even if they are not local files. The “Add to Favorites” support through the context menu will now be available for files and folders, and these contents will appear in the new “Favorites” section above “Recent” in Home.
When using a Microsoft, work, or education account, “Favorites” and “Recent” files from Office.com will also appear on the “Home” page. The “Home” page can show content from OneDrive, Downloads, and virtually from all the index locations. If files are unavailable locally on the computer, they will show thumbnails, and you can share them through OneDrive. Changes that pin or unpin files hosted in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams will sync and be reflected in Office.com and Office apps. Also, file activity updates from collaborators, such as edits and comments, are shown in the “Tiles” view and can also be shown in the “Details” view. On the “Folder Options” page, in the General tab, the “Open File Explorer to” option lets you decide to open the file manager on the OneDrive folder, This PC, or the Home page. Also, a new “Show files from Office.com” option allows you to show or hide recent and favorites on the Home page.
File Explorer is finally getting support for tabs. The new tabs system work like the experience in the web browser. Instead of having multiple instances of the app, you can now use one instance of the app to navigate multiple folders and drive locations. When you open the file manager, you will find a plus (+) button to create a new tab in the title bar. Or you can right-click a folder and select the option to open in a new tab.
When comparing the old and new designs, we can see some improvements. For instance, you can now right-click a tab to access a context menu with the options to close the current, close all others, or close tabs on the right. You can also rearrange the tabs as needed using the mouse. File Explorer even includes some keyboard shortcuts to work with tabs. You can use the Ctrl + T keyboard shortcut to create a new tab, the Ctrl + W keyboard shortcut to close a tab, and you can use the middle button of the mouse to close a tab.