Windows 11 Is Finally Giving You Reasons to Upgrade

I’ve lasted about a year now, but Windows 11 2022 Update might finally get me to upgrade from Windows 10. Microsoft has announced all new features for the next version of Windows 11, including user interface improvements that promise to streamline the operating system experience. There are also new accessibility features that bring Windows 11 up to speed with iOS, macOS, and Android, as well as an improved native video editor. Here’s a rundown of some of the exciting new Windows 11 capabilities.

How to download Windows 11 2022 update

If you’re longing to get your hands on the new version, it’s pretty easy. If you’re already using Windows 11 and running version 21H2 or later, open Windows Update settings and select the option to Check for new updates.

If you’re like me and still using Windows 10, Microsoft recommends checking if your PC meets the minimum system requirements via the PC Health Check app. (I know my PC is fine; I’ve been holding back so as not to interrupt my workflow.) Once you’re done, check for the update just like you would on Windows 11.

If you’re still waiting after reviewing some of the new skills, there’s good news: Microsoft will continue to wait for Windows 10 with regular updates until October 2025.

Thoroughly improved Windows

The tabbed file explorer will be a game changer as I no longer have to shuffle around the file explorer windows.  (Image: Microsoft)The tabbed file explorer will be a game changer as I no longer have to shuffle around the file explorer windows. (Image: Microsoft)

Microsoft has always touted the Windows operating system’s ability to help you multitask, and this update is no different. File Explorer gets tabs, just like an internet browser. The new File Explorer home page gives you quick access to recent files and anything you’ve marked as favorite, including files and folders you’ve previously pinned. Microsoft offers additional personalized suggestions based on your OneDrive and Microsoft 365 accounts.

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Snap layouts get better touch navigation in this version of Windows 11, making them feel less choppy when dragging and snapping on a touch-enabled PC. If you’re using Microsoft Edge, the update introduces snap layouts for multiple browser tabs, allowing you to keep open links contained within the app instead of placing them all over the desktop. This should make it easier to edit multiple browser windows.

The Photos app from Microsoft is also being revised. The new update will revamp the gallery and help you navigate the file system better. Microsoft even took a page from the Apple and Google Photos playbook by introducing Memories, which ties together similar images and presents them with a slight touch of narrative. I’m so excited to see how this will work with my archive Beverly Hills, 90210 Screencaps, that’s all I save on my Windows PC.

The Windows 11 update offers additional suggested actions when you copy a text, phone number or future date, although it depends solely on staying in the company’s ecosystem. For example, the system suggests calling a number via Teams or Skype. When you copy a date, it offers an option to add it as an event in the calendar app.

These new user interface improvements will be available for Windows 11 in October.

First-party tools for working from home and anywhere

Hopefully, Clipchamp will make stringing together a video in Windows 11 a more effortless experience.  (Image: Microsoft)Hopefully, Clipchamp will make stringing together a video in Windows 11 a more effortless experience. (Image: Microsoft)

Windows also prides itself as a productivity platform, which is why the latest Windows 11 update is chock-full of ways to get things done without having to find a third-party app to do it for you.

First up is better notification controls while in the zone. A new feature called Focus Session turns on Do Not Disturb and mutes notifications across the system and across all apps. It also hides taskbar badges so you aren’t visually distracted. And it’s built into the Clock app to remind you to take regular breaks.

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For people on Teams calls all day, Microsoft added Windows Studio Effects to enhance audio and video. The effects use AI to make you look better than you feel, with background blur and auto-framing. It can also help block out background noise, which is a feature most conferencing apps already implement. Working from home is not a quiet environment, especially when there are children and animals running around.

I’m excited about Windows’ new native way of editing video because you shouldn’t have to use a full-fledged editing suite just to cut a few seconds for a class project. Clipchamp is now part of Windows and has been updated with additional templates and effects if you want to do something a little more polished.

Live subtitles and more accessibility features

Live subtitles can be used across the operating system.  (Image: Microsoft)Live subtitles can be used across the operating system. (Image: Microsoft)

Windows 11 joins the rest of the tech world in adding live subtitles system-wide. The ability previously existed in certain Windows apps, but now it’s available whenever you tune into video or audio. You can also move live subtitles to make your reading more enjoyable.

Voice Access is another accessibility-focused tool for Windows 11 that lets you navigate the interface and dictate text using your voice. The feature will get you on board at first launch to help you understand how to control your PC. If you use voice access, you can ask him to help you with this and he will let you know how he heard your request so you can adjust your requests as needed.

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Finally, Microsoft added Natural Voices for Narrator, making the PC sound less robotic in assistive mode. Their names are Aria, Guy, and Jenny, and Microsoft says it’s “collected a ton of feedback” for the new voices.

PC gaming of course

If you’re running Windows 11, you’re probably trying your hand at a PC game or two. The new controller bar comes as part of this update and provides controller-friendly access to switch between games and launchers. It appears when you press the Xbox button on your Xbox Wireless Controller or other compatible controller.

Windows 11 2022 update also adds some graphical improvements for window games. Any game running DirectX10 and 11 will get improved display latency, Auto-HDR, and variable refresh rate support, which should contribute to smoother gameplay overall. Previously, these skills were only available for full-screen games.

Better security is coming

The security features Microsoft touted back in April are finally available in this version of Windows 11. These include support for Microsoft Pluton, which uses a security chip embedded in the CPU to provide additional encryption, and Smart App Control, which your IT department can use to scan apps before installing them on your work computer. Microsoft has also improved phishing detection with Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, while company-specific PCs have Local Security Authority (LSA) enabled by default. You can read the full overview of new security features on Microsoft’s security blog.

Windows 11 2022 or version 22H2 begins rolling out today. Some features, like the new tabbed file explorer, will be released in staggered October. Note that if your computer does not meet specifications, the update may not be available for some time.

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