When Windows 11 first launched the OS had a somewhat unfinished feel, it was a bit rough around the edges. Microsoft clearly realised this and minor updates have been trickling out regularly, among them the introduction of Android apps for Windows. However, many still choose to postpone upgrading from Windows 10. Now the first major update is here as the Windows 11 2022 update has begun rolling out.
What’s new in the Windows 11 2022 update
A lot of the changes are focused around improving user interface and productivity which provides a much-needed boost. Windows 11 finally feels like we get a complete and polished product. Another focus area Microsoft has emphasized is security. It’s important for professional use and especially for remote workers, who are prime targets for malware and other cyberattacks. If you are still on Windows 10 as a precaution, it might be time to reconsider and upgrade to 11.
New security features
Many of the security upgrades in the new update are based around hardware and TPM 2.0, which are also part of the reasons many devices can’t be upgraded to Windows 11. Devices that run on 8th gen intel chips (or newer) will now have hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI) and virtualization-based security (VBS) enabled by default. Two technologies that help protect your computer from both ransomware and more advanced cyberattacks.
You get smarter password protection which among other things aids against phishing on compromised networks. There’s also the new Credential Guard that prevents software without special privilege to access sensitive info and Smart App Control which, when enabled, prevents employees from installing malicious apps.
Improved UI & UX
The Windows 11 2022 update is a huge upgrade if you are a tablet user. Microsoft has made navigating with gestures a much smoother experience. You can now switch between apps with gestures and access the start menu by swiping.
The pinned area of the start menu can now be resized to fit the number of apps you want to pin. This also means you can see fewer of the recommended files in the area below. Start menu folders are another new feature in the update. It works and looks much like app folders on Android. You drag one app on top of another to create a folder on the start menu.
The Snap Layout feature is also getting an upgrade in the Windows 11 2022 update. When you start dragging a folder, app, or other windows around, the snap bar pops up at the top. This makes it super smooth to organize apps into different side-by-side layouts. If you haven’t tried or heard of this feature, just start dragging the browser towards the top of your screen right now to give it a go.
Your taskbar will get drag and drop back which is a nice quality of life upgrade. Dark mode is getting a few improvements as well, the Task Manager (that also gets a new interface) gets a dark theme among other things. Microsoft is taking their time with Dark Mode to get it right and easily readable, expect more improvements to roll out slowly.
Speech to text and text to speech
Windows accessibility feature is getting some attention as well with Voice Access, Live Captions and more. Voice Access makes it possible for anyone to control their PC with just their voice. Live Captions generates captions from any type of audio content automatically, the captions can either float in a window or show on the top or bottom of your screen.
Windows is also adding state-of-the-art text to speech with a much-improved narrator voice. Instead of the old robot voice, the new ones are very natural. Microsoft is working hard on accessibility and the new features are impressive.
There are several more tweaks and changes rolling out with the Windows 11 2022 update. We should also expect more minor tweaks to roll out continuously but the big updates, like this one, will continue to be a yearly feature.