What’s new in Windows 11 22H2 TechRadar
Windows 11 version 22H2, the first Windows 11 feature update since its introduction in October 2021, is expected to be officially released this fall, likely in October. (The “22” represents the year 2022 and “H2” means it will be released in the second half of the year.) Microsoft has already released a version of it on the Windows 11 Insider Program build preview channel. ; Build 22621 should be close to release, if not release.
When 22H2 has its final release, we’ll give it a full review. However, if you want a preview, we’ve looked at the release in the Release Preview channel, as well as some features introduced in later releases released on the Beta and Dev channels that may make it into the final release. Based on that, here’s what you can expect when the official version releases.
New task manager
Anyone who fiddles with their system to do things like check memory usage or disable programs that run at startup will find a revamped task manager. Rather than tabs at the top for processes, performance, startup applications, etc., you’ll find them as icons running vertically in the left column. Icons are bigger, there’s more space between lists (which are also bigger), and there’s a new dark mode too. You can also now perform new tasks such as opening a folder or running a program directly from Task Manager.
In this update, Microsoft continues to fiddle with the Start menu. You can create app folders to organize your apps, like you did before in Windows 10, and you can adjust the size of the pinned apps section. There’s also a whole new section in the settings for customizing the Start menu, including adjusting the number of pinned items to display on it.
Drag and drop to taskbar
In build 22H2, Microsoft is bringing back another feature it removed in the initial Windows 11 release – drag and drop to the taskbar. You can drag a file onto an app icon in the taskbar and the file will open in the app, just like in Windows 10.
With each new version of Windows, Microsoft fiddles with the Settings menu, and it’s no different this time around. The Accounts page gets a facelift, offering a surprising amount of information at a glance. In addition to name, email, etc., you will find information such as whether Microsoft 365 is installed and, if so, which version and how much you pay. There’s also a list of who you share files with, how much OneDrive storage you’ve paid for, and how much you’ve used.
There are a variety of other tweaks in the settings, including the ability to disable the system tray overflow menu, have Bing show you a different image every day as your desktop wallpaper, and ‘others.
File Explorer redesign
File Explorer gets a facelift in Windows 11 22H2, including a cleaner and more useful left navigation pane that lets you access frequently used folders and pinned folders. At the top right, there’s an icon for OneDrive which, when clicked, shows you its sync status, total capacity, total space used, and quick access to settings and storage management options. You only see this icon if you’re currently viewing a OneDrive folder.
If you dig deep enough into File Explorer’s options, you can make it show OneDrive as the default folder so you open it every time you launch File Explorer. It is also possible for File Explorer to get tabs.
New apps: Clipchamp and Family Safety
There are also two new apps in 22H2: Clipchamp and Family Safety. Clipchamp is a free basic video editor. There will be a paid version, probably available for $19 per month, if you want to work with 1080p resolution videos.
Family Safety works with Windows devices, Xbox PCs, and Android devices with software installed to show children’s locations. It also has several other features, including a shared family calendar.
New touch screen gestures
If you have a touchscreen device, you get several new gestures. You can swipe up to access the Start menu and use a three-finger swipe to minimize your apps. Swipe from the right to access quick settings and use a three-finger swipe left or right to switch between running apps.
There are a host of additional minor tweaks coming to the operating system. One of those tweaks is the Snap Layouts feature, which lets you group your open windows into one of half a dozen predefined screen layouts. In Windows 11 Update, you will be able to drag a window to the top of the screen and then drop it into a Snap Layout. Additionally, Task View (Windows key + tab) will show your Snap groups so you can easily switch between them.
A few tweaks can help you reduce carbon emissions. Depending on where you live, you may see the message “Windows Update is committed to helping reduce carbon emissions” on the Windows Update page. If you do, Windows will try to schedule updates at times that might reduce carbon emissions, for example, when solar or hydro power is used more by your utility company. Similarly, there will be power settings aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
System administrators will not be forgotten in the Windows 11 update. They will get new group policies to control the Start menu, taskbar, and system tray for their users.
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