Windows 11 22H2 is the next biggest release to Windows 11 with an aim to improve the interface, user experience, security, productivity, and other aspects.
In October 2021, Windows 11 was introduced with improved features and functionality.
Modern systems are required to be improved and become more advanced with time in order to meet user demands and elevate experiences.
This is why Microsoft is coming up with an update to Windows 11, making it easier to use, secure, and packed with features.
Let’s discuss some key features expected to roll out in Windows 11 22H2.
Windows 11 22H2: An Overview
Windows 11 version 22H2 is a major update to Windows 11 and is set to release, most probably in fall 2022. This update will be free for Windows 11 users.
Codenamed “Sun Valley 2”, Windows 11 22H2 will bring new enhancements and features to improve productivity, usability, security, and other aspects in order to elevate user experience.
Right now, if you want to preview the build, you can join the Windows Insider Program and check what it looks like before its complete official release. So, if you are a Windows Insider, this build is available in the Release Preview Channel through the “seeker” experience in the update.
This implies that Insiders in the Channel that meet the hardware requirements of Windows 11 can go to the “Settings” section followed by Windows Update and then select download and install the new version – Windows 11 22H2. Next, they will automatically receive new updates via Windows Update.
Features expected to roll out
#1. Start menu changes
Windows 11 22H2 will bring new options to customize the section – “Recommended” that you can find in the Start menu. Although you can’t remove and disable this feature, it’s possible to choose one option among three from the Start settings page, which will enable you to view more pins and lesser recommended items, such as “More Recommendations”, “More pins,”, “Default”, etc.
With the “More Recommendations” option, you can view two different rows of pins and more items that might be useful to you.
“More Pins” will offer just one row of items and more pins
“Default” offers three rows of both recommended and pin items
There’s another option to refresh the menu items, and you can quickly access your system with “Sign-in options” included in the power menu settings.
Furthermore, they have renamed the “Windows Ease of Access” to “Accessibility”, “Windows Media Player”, “Windows Media Player Legacy”, and “Windows Terminal” to “Terminal”.
Additionally, you can easily add more applications to any folder, remove any app, and rearrange them inside the folder as you wish. You can even rename any folder by editing it.
#2. New Home Page
Microsoft will replace “Quick access” to the “Home” page with a fresh icon. However, it has used “Quick access” to name the first option of “Home” containing the pinned folders. This is not it; now, the “Pinned files” is renamed “Favorites,” while “Recent” contains all the recent files stored locally in the cloud or on your device. You can also easily search your favorite and recent files in File Explorer.
In addition, the new Home page will display content from Downloads, OneDrive, and index locations virtually. You can also see activity updates like comments and edits in “Details” and “Tiles,” while the changes in unpinning or pinning files from Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive will be synced and reflected in the Office apps and Office.com.
#3. Taskbar improvements
Windows 11 22H2 has introduced a feature in the Taskbar to enable you to scroll your mouse wheel in the volume icon. This will help you increase or decrease the volume level of your system.
Furthermore, you can see some changes in the flyout – “Quick Settings”. It might include an option to help you open the setting page – “Bluetooth & Devices” if you right-click on “Bluetooth”. You will also see an icon placed just next to the volume slider, which will help you discover the option easily.
In addition, you will get to see changes in hardware indicators like brightness, volume, camera controls and privacy, airplane mode, light and dark color modes, etc. They have also removed the “Keyboard Layout” option from this flyout.
In the “quick links”, you might notice a changed entry; “Apps & Features” is changed to “Installed apps”. They also have included “Terminal” to allow opening Windows Terminal since the application works as the system default for command-line applications. If the console is unavailable, you can see Windows PowerShell. Plus, you might notice estimated battery life in your System tray.
#4. Taskbar Overflow
You will be introduced to the Taskbar Overflow option to easily switch apps and launch them if there’s insufficient space in your Taskbar. It will also let you visualize all the applications in a single place. This menu will also feature different Taskbar behaviors like app pining support, extended interface, jump lists, and more.
#5. Task View
Snap groups will help you quickly switch to a different snap group. You can also preview it to distinguish between two groups. On opening the Task View with different monitors on a device, you notice an acrylic background on both different monitors. In addition, Windows 11 22H2 can make keyboard-focused visuals prominent so that you can visualize them easily.
Furthermore, when you use the shortcut, ALT + TAB, you could see running applications in a window rather than a full screen. But if you click on the button – “Task View”, you can still see the running applications on full screen. The new interface will also allow you to switch keyboard layouts and languages, and Microsoft has also put effort into improving the overall reliability and performance of Windows 11.
#6. Task manager
Task manager in Windows 11 22H2 is redesigned in desktop style. It features a hamburger-style navigation and settings page. You can also access everyday actions with a command bar. It also includes “efficiency mode” instead of “Eco mode” to help limit resource consumption and prioritize apps.
The Taskbar will also have accent color support to highlight “Processes,” but you might also see a blue accent color for better readability.
#7. Notification center
They have made changes in the “notification center” to improve your experience of viewing application names. They also have updated the design to add an acrylic background. In addition, they have updated the animation in the notification – Windows Hello – when you set up the feature.
Microsoft is also changing the notification system, where you will now see three highest-priority notifications stacked simultaneously. In total, you could see at least four notifications, one of normal priority and three of higher priority.
#8. Drag and drop
Now, you can drag an application and place it on top of another app to create a new folder, like many smartphones allow you to. You can also drag and drop a file between windows by hovering over applications from the Taskbar. It will even help you customize your Taskbar with the application. In addition, you can see all the shared windows, which is useful when you run multiple apps or split your screen.
Smart App Control (SAC) is a security feature to block dangerous and untrusted applications.
#10. Live captions
It allows users to understand audio better by viewing speak content options. It will generate captions automatically from content using audio. You can also personalize the caption window.
#11. Voice Access
It’s a new feature to allow you to control your device with your voice. It will help you open apps, switch them, dictate emails, and more.
#12. Power and battery
You can notice the updated battery charging indicator. Instead of using a power cable, the updated version has included a lightning bolt. The default values for idle screen and sleep are also reduced to reduce carbon emissions and save energy.
When you click on “Bluetooth”, you will be directed to another page to visualize all the available devices, disconnect or connect peripherals, and view the battery status.
#14. Dynamic Widgets
You can now see a dynamic widget for weather, sports, news, and finance in the Taskbar.
#15. Start page
This page has new settings – “Layouts” to help you control the pins.
All your account details will be placed under “Accounts”. It will have data like payment information, storage usage, billing details, app versions, etc. It has a “family” page with settings formerly available under the page – “Family & other people”.
You can use the Do Not Disturb (DND) option to silence your notification banners. In addition, set up your rules to automatically initiate the DND in your notifications settings. By setting priority notifications, you can also control reminders, calls, app breaks, etc.
By renaming “Focus assist” to “Focus”, you can be on track and integrate this feature with other tools like calming music, focus timer, etc. You can enable this option by clicking on “Start Focus” and personalizing the experience from Settings > System > Focus.
#19. Touch gestures
Windows 11 22H2 has fresh touch gestures to help you quickly and easily navigate the apps and desktop.
Updated animation while swiping from your screen’s right edge to call or dismiss the Notification Center for better responsiveness
To open the Start menu, you can swipe with a finger from the Taskbar’s center and dismiss it by swapping back down
Return to Pinned by swiping left to right from “Pinned” and right to left to view all apps
Swiping from the Taskbar’s bottom right will invoke the Quick Settings page
#20. Snap layouts
You will get a new feature of snap layouts for mouse and touch both. To reveal this, you can drag a window to the screen’s top and drop it within a zone for snapping. Next, use “Snap Assist” to complete snapping the windows in your chosen layout.
The Snap Assist can also animate zones seamlessly inside a layout to improve the end-to-end experience. If you don’t want this feature, you can disable it from Settings > Multitasking > System.
Furthermore, you will see a transition animation showing how one window snapped to another. In addition, rotating your computer between landscape and portrait is more responsive and snappier. Also, Microsoft has reduced the frequency of notification sounds playing while you disconnect or connect monitors and docks.
A few changes in snapping could be seen for easy understanding. You can see your snapped windows by hovering over the taskbar applications, easily snap without dragging, and much more. In addition, you can disable or enable the option – “Sharing any window from my Taskbar” on applications such as Teams, Slack, etc. This will help you multitask with ease.
#22. Updated File Explorer
Your File Explorer will also be updated to bring changes in its visuals and other aspects.
The new version may include redesigned navigations, tab support, OneDrive integration, context menu changes, shortcuts, a new home page, and more.
#23. Tab support
Windows 11 22H2 will support tabs to offer a browser-like experience. You can use one app instance and navigate different drive locations and folders rather than multiple instances. You can create new tabs using a plus button from the title bar, right-clicking on a folder and opening a fresh tab, or using the shortcut – Ctrl + T.
#24. Keyboard shortcuts
New keyboard shortcuts will be introduced, such as:
Ctrl + T to create a tab
Ctrl + W to close a tab
Ctrl + Shift + C to copy an item to clipboard
Shift + Right-click to open the context menu
Ctrl + Tab to navigate through different tabs
Ctrl + Shift + Tab to navigate through different tabs in reverse
Alt + E to end a chosen process
Alt + V to turn on/off “Efficiency mode”
Alt + N to open a dialog and run a task
There are other shortcuts that you can trigger, such as pressing the Alt key and viewing options.
#25. Redesigned Navigation
The improved visuals allow you to easily access frequently used and pinned folders along with OneDrive cloud files reflecting the user’s account name. With a clearly defined navigation to synced folders in OneDrive, you can effortlessly understand the location of a file, whether it’s locally stored or on the cloud.
Interestingly, you can no longer find the known folders like Music, Pictures, Documents, Downloads, etc., inside “This PC”. It will keep your view focussed right on your drives.
#26. Context menu changes
More padding is given to the items in the context menu, plus the highlight is dark or light based on system color rather than blue. Also, more options are added, such as “Install”, “Install certificate”, “Disconnect”, “Disconnect network drive”, and more. New icons are given for “Expand”, “Rename”, “Optimize”, and “Properties”.
In addition, the Recycle Bin will have a right-click menu with different options like “Open”, “Pin to Start”, “Properties”, etc. All this is done to make the options easier to comprehend and consistent.
#27. “Open With” dialog
Windows 11 22H2 could feature an “Open With” dialog box with a new interface. You can even update the default app easily in a few clicks.
#28. Suggested actions
“Suggested Actions” is a fresh feature that comes with inline suggestions for making a phone call or creating an event when you copy a phone number, date, or time.
#29. OneDrive integration
You can better control your file syncing and storage consumption with OneDrive integration by visualizing usage quota and sync status in the app.
You can now preview all your items within a folder.
You might witness a better sharing experience in Windows 11 22H2. More options could come when you click on “Share”, such as contact suggestions for sharing content, apps, etc. In addition, you can compose an email when sharing a file to Outlook from File Explorer. For Nearby sharing, Bluetooth and UDP protocols will be used to discover more devices.
Microsoft has redesigned the Print Queue application to enable easy viewing and managing of your prints. They also have updated the Print Dialog’s interface to help you automatically discover printers in your network and install a new printer.
#33. Lock Screen
Microsoft has improved the lock screen by updating the accessibility flyout that aligns well with modern design perspectives.
The Settings app will showcase various changes and features such as improved search results, bigger icons, links to help you find programs and recycle or format your computer, default Storage Sense, app management, and more.
#35. Display Page
The Display Page shows rounded corners for “identify,” and you can calibrate the display easily under HDR. You will find a new option for “Multiple displays” to simplify cursor motion between displays and on the Graphics page to change your default graphics. You can also optimize the page for games to improve speed and features like VRR and Auto HDR.
They have tweaked some theme colors and made the links more distinct.
A warning sign could be seen if the microphone is restricted in the privacy settings.
#38. Volumes and Disks
The design might change with new icons, corners, and visuals. They even have updated the volume icon’s tooltip to indicate if you use spatial sound.
#39. Storage space
It has been redesigned with a new icon, but the features are the same.
#40. Wi-Fi and Ethernet
Windows 11 22H2 might feature added support for DDR or Discover of Designated Resolvers. You could also find some more VPN connection information.
#41. Text inputs
This page has more customization, theme settings, and accepted inputs like emoji panel, voice typing, etc.
#42. Date, time, and language
Windows 11 22H2 will have a live digital clock with details like time zone and region. You can also change your timezone even if you are a non-admin. You can also choose a language to install, and the design aligns with it.
#43. System improvements
Microsoft has updated the system. The legacy title bar will have mica material. They have improved the graphics by expanding DRR experiences on your laptops by including 120Hz displays.
There are many more improvements that you are going to see in Windows 11 22H22 in terms of usability, interface, system, productivity, security, etc.
Windows 11 22H22 is going to be a major update to Windows. With the above new features, you can see that many aspects of this operating system are going to improve. Thus, you can either wait for the final version to release and use it or preview the build now by joining the Windows Insider Program.
Durga Prasad Acharya is a Freelance Technical Writer who loves writing on emerging technologies, such as AI & ML, Cybersecurity, Web Hosting, SaaS, Cloud Computing, and more. Besides writing, he’s a web designer and is passionate about… read more