Windows 11 is getting its first significant feature upgrade. This update, which is now officially known as Windows 11, Version 22H2, resolves many of the quality of life concerns that have been raised by users. It adds folders to the Start Menu, as well as the ability to drag and drop files to the Taskbar.
Some of these features were previously featured while they were in early beta testing in the Windows Insider program’s Dev Channel. Microsoft has now transferred these improvements to the Release Preview channel and approved Windows 11, Version 22H2 for wider and safer testing. It has also made ISO files available for download, allowing you to perform a “clean install” on a new or current computer.
In this article, we’ll go through how to download Windows 11 22H2 and what to expect. However, Microsoft has not released an official list of new features in Windows 11, Version 22H2.
We’re just going on our gut after attempting the update for several weeks and reading prior Microsoft blog postings about it being “coming soon” to Windows. Microsoft hasn’t said when Windows 11, Version 22H2, will be released to the public, outside of betas, although we expect it to be later this autumn.
We’ll try our best to keep this guide up to date when new features are confirmed by Microsoft.
Use the Windows Insider Program to get it
Enrolling your PC in the Windows Insider Program is required to begin the process of obtaining Windows 11, Version 22H2. Don’t worry, the Release Preview channel you’ll be joining is very safe, with little chance of data loss or other issues. Make sure you have Windows 11 installed before you begin.
Using the Windows key + I, open the Windows 11 Settings app. After that, go to Privacy & Security. Make that the toggle for sending optional diagnostic data is set on in the Diagnostics and feedback area.
Return to the settings app’s sidebar and select Windows update. Select Windows Insider Program from the drop-down menu.
To get started, click the Get started button. Sign in and link your Microsoft Account after that. Continue by selecting the Release Preview channel. Then restart your computer by following the procedures on your screen.
Return to Windows Update and check for updates once you’re back in your PC. A new update should be ready for you. “Windows 11, Version 22H2 available” will be the label. Select Download & Install from the drop-down menu.
When you’re ready, your PC will download and finish the installation, inviting you to restart. It might take up to an hour, so be patient.
If you don’t see Windows 11, Version 22H2 on the Release Preview channel, you may receive it by switching to the Beta channel. These channels are all equal, with very little chance of harming or crashing your computer.
Simply return to Windows Update, select Windows Insider Program, and then select Beta Channel under Choose your insider preferences. Return to Windows Update and you should see the major update available.
Use the ISO to download
If everything else fails and you can’t update to Windows 11, Version 22H2 via Windows Update, Microsoft offers an ISO file for download. Simply go to the Windows Insider website, sign in with your Microsoft Account, then pick the Release Preview Channel option at the bottom of the screen to download the ISO.
We have a separate guide that describes how to install Windows 11 using that ISO.
In short, using Windows 11 22H2, this ISO may be used to “clean install” and delete your previous Windows 11 installation. This may be used on your own computer or on a different computer. It may also be used for an in-place upgrade; simply double-click the ISO image to mount it, then start the installer and follow the on-screen instructions.
Improvements to the Start Menu
One of the key areas in Windows 11, Version 22H2, that received significant upgrades is the Start Menu. You may now name and create folders in the Start Menu. To test an app, simply drag it on top of another app.
You may also tweak the suggested part a little more. This allows you to view more of your pinned applications and less of the stuff that is recommended to you. Alternatively, there may be more recommended material and less bookmarked applications. There are now four rows of pinned applications visible.
On the power button in the Start Menu, Microsoft even created a shortcut to the Sign-in preferences page. This should make features like Windows Hello, Security Keys Dynamic Lock, and saving programmes on restart much easier to adjust.
Modifications to the Taskbar
The Taskbar is the next area where Windows 11, Version 22H2, improves. These are some minor enhancements to the quality of life. You may, for example, drag files back onto programmes that you’ve pinned to the taskbar. You may also create shortcuts by dragging programmes from the desktop or Start Menu to the Taskbar.
Other Taskbar changes include the ability to modify the volume by scrolling your mouse wheel over the volume symbol in the Taskbar’s system tray area. When an app receives a notification, you’ll also notice a more modest flashing.
Aside from that, there are new icons in the Taskbar system tray for casting to a display and a new lightning bolt indicator for charging your battery. Oh, and in supported programmes like Teams or Zoom, pressing Windows key + ALT + K will now disable your microphone. It will appear as a notice above the Taskbar.
Captions in real time
Live Captions are a feature that you may be acquainted with on Android phones, and Windows 11, Version 22H2, adds a Microsoft take on it. By pressing Windows key > Control key > L on your keyboard, you can get to it. You’ll see a bar at the top of your screen with a readout of what Windows 11 is hearing after being prompted to set up and download the feature. It’s a bar that matches the mica effects in Windows 11.
Touch movements that are useful
The way touch screen Windows devices function has been tweaked in Windows 11, Version 22H2. The Start Menu may now be opened by swiping up with one finger. You may also open the Quick Settings section by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. Other touch-centric features include a three-finger swipe from the left or right, or right to switch between running programmes, and a three-finger swipe from the center of the screen to dismiss all of your apps.
Task Manager has been redesigned
The Task Manager in the initial edition of Windows 11 is a carryover from Windows 10 and Windows 8. The Task Manager has been updated with the 22H2 update to reflect the appearance of Windows 11. There’s a new sidebar to help with navigation, dark mode support, a new command bar for each page, and an efficiency mode for processes that you may switch on to save RAM and resources. The heatmap in the processes part of Task Manager will even identify your theme color.
Snap Layouts have been improved
Snap Layouts are a standout feature of Windows 11, and the 22H2 update puts it even more front and center. You’ll notice a tiny drop-down from the top of your screen now when you move a window around. When you drag a window to the drop-down area, you’ll see options for putting it in a Snap Layout. After that, you may release the window above the Snap Layout you wish to activate.
Hovering your cursor over the maximize button isn’t necessary. It’s also compatible with touch displays and your fingertips. Oh, and the Windows Key + Z shortcut will also provide numbers on how to activate a given Snap Layout.
File Explorer is a program that allows you to browse
In Windows 11 22H2, the File Explorer features a new “Home” page. Every time you open the File Explorer, you’ll see this. Quick Access at the top of the app has been replaced by this.
Quick Access has been renamed “Favorites.” When you right-click a file or folder, you’ll see a new “Favorites” option appear.
Aside from that, File Explorer works better with OneDrive and Outlook. A drop-down option for OneDrive sync and storage status is now available in the app. In File Explorer, the “Share” menu now includes a new option to share with Outlook without having to launch the Outlook programme.
Oh, and did you see anything? After being removed from the original edition of Windows 11, folder previews are returned in 22H2. You may now get a sneak peek at what’s within a folder! That’s in addition to the new visual icons in menus for things like properties, renaming files, and showing additional alternatives.
Quick Settings now have cleaner volume, brightness sliders, and Bluetooth choices
The volume and brightness sliders in Windows 11 have been modified in 22H2 to reflect the new look of the operating system. The sliders have been moved to the bottom of the screen, giving them a thinner appearance.
In terms of Quick Settings, there’s now a specific sub-menu for connecting devices that can be accessed via the Bluetooth icon. You won’t have to go into the Bluetooth section of the Windows settings programme to achieve this.
Appearance of Items in Settings
In 22H2, two new categories were added to Windows 11’s settings programme. The first, under Accounts, is for your subscriptions. You may check the status of your Microsoft 365 subscriptions from here. In addition, using the settings app, you’ll be able to modify Family preferences. This is connected to the new Family Safety app that comes with the Windows 10 upgrade.
Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s talk about it. In Windows 11 22H2, you may also make Windows Spotlight your background. Microsoft provides you with a fresh wallpaper every day. With a camera icon in the top right of your screen, you’ll be able to operate it from your desktop. It’s under Personalize your background in Settings > Personalization > Windows highlight.
Visuals for Alt+Tab
Alt+Tab has been around for a long time in Windows, and Windows 11 22H2 offers it a new design. When you use the keyboard shortcut, your open applications will no longer appear in a full-screen backdrop. Instead, you’ll see a narrow window with an acrylic backdrop that displays all of your active programmes. It’s tidy and effective.
Notifications, Do not interrupt, and concentrate
You’ll notice that 22H2 modifies your notification center somewhat. The “Focus Sessions” feature from Windows 11’s Clock is now front and center here. This allows you to set a timer from the notification center’s bottom and wind down and relax, as well as arrange concentrated periods throughout the week.
A “Do Not Disturb” option has also been provided by Microsoft. This disables all alerts except those you’ve prioritized. This is essentially the same as the former Focus Assist function, which has been renamed Focus.
What else is new in terms of notifications is that they will appear differently based on the app. Windows 11 will display alerts for apps that are calling, reminding, or setting alarms at the same time.
Journal published by Microsoft
Microsoft Journal is a new inking software from the company that prioritizes the use of your pen. In Windows 11 22H2, it’s a new option in the Pen Menu. If you don’t already have the app, you may get it from the App Store by tapping the Journal symbol.
Lock Screen music player has been updated
The Windows 11 lock screen is certainly familiar to you, but Windows 11 22H2 adds a few minor changes, as do the rest of the OS’s features. When your screen is locked, one of them is a new UI for media controls. When music is playing, it now matches the area that appears in Quick Settings. To complement the wallpaper, it stays in a dark mode.
Controlling Smart Apps
Smart App Control is one of the most recent additions to Windows 11 22H2. This is found under Windows Security, but it will only be activated if you’ve completely cleaned and reinstalled Windows. It’s made to keep your device safe from ransomware and other malicious applications. The function can detect harmful untrusted applications by learning which app you’re running.
That’s all there is to it! The latest major update for Windows 11 is now available for download. And, once it’s ready for download, you’ll be able to enjoy a slew of new features. Now that Windows is only updated once a year, you may expect the next major upgrade in 2023, which is currently in testing with the Windows Insider program’s Dev Channel.