Microsoft has announced the general availability of the first major update for Windows 11, dubbed the “2022 Update” but more commonly known as “version 22H2”. This release includes a handful of new features and enhancements, mostly focused on improving the existing Windows 11 experience by fleshing out areas such as the Start menu and Taskbar with more capabilities.
A huge focus for this release has been productivity, with new features such as a snap bar which now appears at the top of the screen when you move a window around, making initiating snap layouts easier for mouse users. The Start menu now has folders and has an adjustable pinned area, which should help with keeping apps pinned to the Start menu neatly organized.
The Taskbar has also seen some updates, with flyouts such as the Notification Center now featuring a do not disturb button and quick access to the Windows 11’s focus timer mode. You can now also see and manage Bluetooth devices straight from the Windows 11 Control Center.
Microsoft is also planning to expand support for the Windows Subsystem for Android to 31 with this release in the next few weeks. There are also general improvements coming to the Microsoft Store, including the ability to search for Android apps, the ability to restore apps with a single click, view screenshots in search results, and more.
An additional area of highlight is with new accessibility features such as Live Captions and Voice Access. Live Captions lets users turn on captions for any video or audio content playing on your device, even if said content doesn’t have captions provided. Voice Access enables the ability to control your PC entirely with voice, no keyboard or mouse required.
Another big change with version 22H2 is Microsoft’s update cadence. Going forward, the company plans to deliver “continuous innovation” to Windows 11 users via frequent feature drops outside of the annual fall feature update, with the first feature drop expected to begin rolling out next month that brings new features such as Tabs in File Explorer and a new Suggested Actions menu.
Users on Windows 11 can head to Windows Update now to see if the new release is already waiting for them to download and install. Microsoft says the rollout of version 22H2 is taking a measured and phased approach, meaning the update won’t be offered to everyone immediately, but gradually over the next few weeks as Microsoft monitors feedback and ensures there are no showstopping bugs.
Windows 10 users can also upgrade directly to version 22H2 via Windows Update, but the system requirements for this release have not changed, meaning if you were ineligible for last year’s Windows 11 release, you won’t be offered the 2022 Update either.