(Pocket-lint) – Microsoft is rolling out a significant update to Windows 11 that includes a number of changes to make the operating system even better.
With these changes the company says it’s marking Windows 11 even easier and safer to use, adding tools to help people be more creative and productive and much more besides.
What’s new with these changes though? We’re here to guide you through the most significant parts of the update.
Start menu and quick settings changes
Ease of use is an important part of the Windows 11 2022 update. Microsoft says it has worked to improve the Start Menu but also to make search faster, more accurate and more useful as well as tweaking Quick Settings and adding tabs to File Explorer.
All this is with the goal of making Windows understand and anticipate your needs.
More accessibility options
Another part of making Windows 11 more user-friendly is adding more accessibility settings to Windows 11.
These include things like system-wide live captions that will automatically generate from any audio that’s currently playing. Those live captions no longer stop when you minimise the app that’s playing the audio but instead appear at the top of the screen as default. Making it easier for users to multitask while continuing to follow the audio.
For virtual meetings, the Windows 11 live captions can also be used to transcribe the conversation. Making it easy to follow along and have a record of what’s happening.
Narrator is also being updated to use more natural-sounding voices thanks to Microsoft’s state-of-the-art text-to-speech technology. These voices will mirror natural speech and make it more pleasant for those who use Narrator in their day-to-day lives.
Microsoft has said it has also worked to make the voice access experience more accessible and user-friendly. Now when users first use voice access to control their computer with their voice they will be guided through an interactive tutorial. You’ll also be able to get a full list of possible voice commands by asking “what can I say?”.
This Windows 11 update also includes a new experience called Focus sessions.
When you need to concentrate on what you’re doing you can use Focus sessions and Do No Disturb to turn off pesky interruptions from notifications, flashing apps in the taskbar and taskbar badges too.
Focus sessions also works with a timer to nudge you to take breaks and to help improve your productivity.
Enhanced snap layouts
Snap layouts are a popular feature of Windows 11 that allows you to optimise your workload for multitasking.
Now Microsoft is making Snap layouts more versatile. It’ll work more effectively with touch navigation and also work nicely with multiple Microsoft Edge browser tabs.
Making you look your best on calls
This Windows 11 update includes Windows Studio camera and audio effects that are designed to help you look and sound your best on video calls.
These use advanced artificial intelligence to help eliminate background noise, automatically frame you on screen, blur your background and help maintain eye contact too.
Creator and gamer tools
Microsoft says it wants to make Windows the best place to play games (take that Xbox!) but it also wants to help gaming creators to express themselves easily. As a result, Clipchamp is now included with Windows 11 and makes editing gaming videos simple.
The Windows 11 2022 update is also bringing performance optimisations to make your gaming experience even smoother. Windows 11 will have improved latency and other useful features like Auto HDR, a new HDR calibration app and Variable Refresh Rate on windowed games too.
Though you can get plenty of games for Windows via the Microsoft Store and GamePass, Microsoft also wants to give you access to more. To enable this it’s expanding the Amazon Appstore Preview to more regions and giving more users access to over 20,000 Android apps and games.
The Xbox Game Bar is getting an update and you’ll also see a new Controller bar which gives you access to recently played games and launchers with just a couple of clicks or by pressing the Xbox button on your Xbox controller.
Tabs in File Explorer
With a mix of changes coming to Windows 11 Microsoft is also adding tabs and other enhancements to File Explorer.
You’ll now be able to get quick access to your most important files and folders, pin them for quick access and even see update information on shared files too.
How to get the Windows 11 2022 update
The Windows 11 2022 Update (also known as Windows 11, version 22H2) is going to be pushed out in a phased rollout. This will enable Microsoft to ensure it’s fully compatible and there aren’t any issues. So you may have to wait, but the update will come via Windows Updates.
- Click the Windows start button
- Search for “Windows Update Settings”
- Click to check for updates
You can also check on the “health” of the current update here.
Writing by Adrian Willings.