Windows 11 version 22H2, the first feature update to Windows 11 since its launch in October 2021, is expected to be officially released this fall, probably in October. (“22” means 2022, and “H2” means it’s being released in the second half of the year.) Microsoft has already released a version of it on the release preview channel of the Windows 11 Insider program; Build 22621 is expected to be close to the final version, if not final.
When the final release of 22H2 is released, we will give it a full review. However, if you want to get a glimpse, we’ve seen the release preview channel version, as well as some features introduced in subsequent builds on beta and dev channels that could make it a final release. Based on this, here is what you can expect if the official version hits.
New Task Manager
Anyone who does things like checking memory usage or disabling programs running at startup will get a refined task manager by feeding them to their system. Instead of the top tabs for Processes, Performance, Startup Applications, etc., you’ll find them as vertical running icons at the bottom of the left column. The icons are bigger, there is more space in the lists (which is bigger), and there is a new dark mode. You can now run new tasks such as opening a folder or running a program directly from the Task Manager.
Start menu tweaks
In this update, Microsoft continues to whistle with the Start menu. You can create app folders to organize your apps the way you used to in Windows 10, and you can adjust the size of the pinned apps section. There is a whole new section in the settings to personalize the Start menu, including tweaking how many pinned items should be displayed.
Drag to taskbar
In the 22H2 version, Microsoft is bringing back another feature that it discontinued in the initial Windows 11 release – drag and drop in the taskbar. You can drag a file to an app icon in the taskbar and the file will open in the same application as in Windows 10.
With each new feature version of Windows, Microsoft curves with the settings menu, and it’s no different. The Accounts page gets a serious look, providing a surprising amount of information at a glance. In addition to names, emails, etc., you’ll find information on whether you have Microsoft 365 installed, and if so, which version and how much you’re paying for it. There’s also a list of who you’re sharing the file with, how much you’ve paid for OneDrive storage, and how much you’ve used.
The ability to turn off the system tray overflow menu, Bing as your desktop wallpaper to show you a different image every day, and a variety of other changes across settings, among others.
File Explorer Facelift
File Explorer has got a new look in Windows 11 22H2, with a clearer-view, more useful left navigation pane that lets you get frequently used folders and pinned folders. At the top right is an icon for OneDrive that, when clicked, shows its sync status, total capacity, total space used, and quick access to settings and options for managing storage. You will only see that icon if you are currently viewing a OneDrive folder.
If you dig deep enough into the File Explorer options, you can show it to OneDrive as your default folder so you can open it whenever you launch File Explorer. There is also a possibility to get the File Explorer tab.
New apps: Clipchamp and Family Safety
There are also two new apps on the 22H2: Clipchamp and Family Safety. Clipchamp is a free, basic video editor. If you want to work with videos in 1080p resolution, there will be a paid version, probably available for $ 19 a month.
Family Safety works seamlessly with Windows devices, Xbox PCs and Android devices, including software installed to show kids location. It has several more features, including a shared family calendar.
New touchscreen gestures
If you have a touchscreen device, you will get several new gestures. You can swipe up to go to the Start menu and use a three-finger swipe to make your apps smaller. Swipe from right to quick settings and use the left or right three-finger swipe to switch between running apps.
Lots of extra minor changes are coming across the operating system. One such change is the Snap Layout feature, which lets you group your open windows into one of half a dozen pre-built screen layouts. In Windows 11 Update, you’ll be able to drag a window to the top of the screen and then drop it into a snap layout. Also, the task view (Windows key + tab) will show your snap groups so you can easily switch between them.
A few changes can help you reduce carbon emissions. Depending on where you live, you may see the message “Windows Update committed to help reduce carbon emissions” on the Windows Update page. If you do, Windows will try to update at a time that can reduce carbon emissions – for example, when your utility company uses more solar or hydropower. Similarly, there will be power settings aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
Sys admins will not be forgotten in the Windows 11 update. They will get new group policies for their users to control the Start menu, taskbar and system tray.
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