Windows 11 is getting its first major update with 22H2, codenamed “Sun Valley 2” during development. With Windows 11, Microsoft has moved to an annual release cycle for major updates, leaving behind the frenetic twice-yearly schedule of Windows 10.
What you need to know
This update is named 22H2 because it was released in the second half of 2022. Specifically, it was released on Microsoft’s Release Preview channel on June 7, 2022. This implies that the update was released on June 7, 2022. The update could be out in the summer of 2022.
However, since Microsoft only has an annual release cycle for major updates and Windows 11 is released on October 4, 2021, chances are that the update may not become stable until the fall. 2022. Microsoft has yet to give an exact release date. We don’t really know for sure, but if you press us, we’d say you should expect it in the fall.
When available, the free update will be made available through Windows Update. You’ll see it as an option at the top of the window in Settings > Windows Update.
If you want to update soon, you can always join the Windows Insider Program’s Release Preview channel on your PC. However, if you install the update before it’s all ready, you’re increasing your chances of getting an error.
Note: We’ll focus on what we think are the most interesting changes here. As always, there are many bug fixes, performance improvements, security patches, and minor tweaks throughout the operating system. For example, Microsoft has renamed “Windows Terminal” to “Terminal”.
New Task Manager
Windows 11 now has an updated, modernized Task Manager with some new features. As usual, you can press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open it, right-click the Start button and select “Task Manager”, launch “Task Manager” from the Start menu, or press Ctrl + Alt + Delete then click “Task Manager” to open it.
Task Manager’s interface now looks like home on Windows 11. It’s similar to how Microsoft handled the Notepad update: All the standard functionality is still here. However, the interface is modernized — it now even supports dark mode and shading for resource usage columns on the Processes tab using your chosen accent color.
Under the Processes tab, you will also find an “Effective Mode” option. You can enable this feature manually for certain processes to reduce their energy usage. Certain processes — like some Microsoft Edge processes — automatically use similar techniques and will display a leaf icon in their Status column.
Drag and drop taskbar
One big missing feature is back: You can now drag and drop files, images, and more onto the taskbar icons. This is a big feature loved by many Windows users in Windows 10 and earlier versions of Windows.
Now it’s back and works almost as you’d expect. However, when you drag something onto the taskbar icon, you’ll still see a circle with a line through it, implying that you can’t drag and drop. However, when you drag to the application icon, Windows 11 will switch to the related window and you can drag and drop directly into that window as usual.
Unfortunately, you still can’t move the taskbar—not without a registry hack, anyway.
Maybe: Tabs in File Explorer
File Explorer is finally getting tabs, years after Microsoft removed the Sets feature that was supposed to add them to Windows 10. The feature hasn’t worked for everyone using the Release Preview yet, because so it’s not clear if it’s actually part of the final version of the 22H2 update. However, Microsoft is actively testing it in the beta channel of 22H2 at the end of June 2022.
Tabs work as you would expect — File Explorer has a tab bar at the top of each window. You can use keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl + T to open a new tab and Ctrl + W to close the current tab, drag and drop tabs to move them, and middle-click a folder to open them in a new tab — like as you can middle click on links to open them in a new tab in your web browser.
If this feature is not part of 22H2, then hopefully it will be part of the next update or come soon after.
Snap layout and Snap Groups are one of the best Windows 11 improvements. Snap gets even better in 22H2 with some new features.
Now, when you move any window around your screen, you will see a latch at the top of the screen. You can drag the window to the handle and position it in the Snap Layout grid. It will make Snap easier to discover for more Windows 11 users.
Love using the keyboard? You can now press Windows + Z and the Snap Layout grid will pop up with numbers. Press one of the numbers that appear to choose a location for the window.
Windows will also remember the Snap Groups you configure and display them when you hover over the taskbar icon. This will make it easy to switch between groups of windows.
Finally, Edge is taking action: When you snap a window to one side of the screen, you’ll see your three most recently used Edge tabs as options you can snap along the window , just like you see Edge browser tabs in Alt + Tab.
You can configure all of these features from the Settings app at Settings > Multitasking > Snapshot.
Start Menu Improvements
Folders for app shortcuts will return to the Start menu in the 22H2 update. It works the same as it does on mobile platforms like iPhone, iPad and Android.
In the “Pinned” area on the start menu, simply drag and drop an app’s icon onto another app’s icon. You will get a folder containing both icons. You can click on the folder to open it, give it any name you like, and drag additional icons onto it to add it to the folder.
You can now also choose an additional layout for your Start menu from Settings > Personalization > Start, choosing whether to see more pinned apps or more auto-suggested items.
Connect a Bluetooth device on the taskbar
The Quick Settings area is getting a bunch of changes in 22H2, and one of the most useful is the ability to view Bluetooth devices, connect to them, and disconnect from them without opening the Settings window.
It works just like connecting to a Wi-Fi network. Just like with Wi-Fi networks, you can now open the Quick Settings menu, click or tap the arrow to the right of the Bluetooth icon, and you’ll see a list of paired Bluetooth devices as well as other Bluetooth devices. nearby Bluetooth devices that you can pair.
A new print queue and print dialog
Windows 11’s printing features are also getting a nice new redesign and coating. Both the system print dialog (what you see when you click File > Print in most applications) as well as the print queue window have been redesigned. They now support dark mode as well as automatically detect and install printers without having to go to the Settings app.
Live subtitles for any audio
Windows 11 now has a “Live Subtitles” feature (just like it does on Android.) When enabled, Windows automatically shows subtitles for whatever audio you’re listening to on your PC, whether it’s a voice call you’re in, the video you’re watching online, or anything else. Audio is copied locally on your PC — not uploaded to the cloud.
To enable it, search for “Live Captions” in the Start menu, or click the Quick Settings menu button to the left of the taskbar clock, click the “Accessibility” button in the Quick Settings menu, and enable “Live Subtitles. “
Better volume change
Windows 11 now has a new volume change indicator that appears when you use your keyboard’s volume keys to adjust the volume. Looks like it belongs in Windows 11. (The new design appears when you change the screen’s brightness.)
More interestingly, you can now hover your mouse pointer over the volume icon on the taskbar and use the mouse wheel to increase or decrease the volume. It would be easy to miss this innovation if you’ve never heard of it and we just think it’s cool.
Two new apps, including a video editor
Windows 11 now has two new built-in apps: Clipchamp and Family.
Clipchamp is a video editor that Microsoft acquired in 2021. When Microsoft first added it to Windows, it required a $9 per month subscription to output 1080p video. Thankfully, that restriction has been removed. Clipchamp has a free tier, however, it still offers optional paid monthly subscriptions. Its premium features are not included with Microsoft’s standard Microsoft 365 subscription as of June 2022.
The app provides an easy way to edit videos, create clips, add audio, configure transitions, and export your videos in web-friendly formats. It’s a long-awaited app after the demise of the beloved Windows Movie Maker. (Windows 10’s hidden video editor isn’t quite right for it.)
Windows also now includes a Home app. It works in tandem with Microsoft Family Safety, allowing parents to configure app and game time limits, respond to requests from their children’s accounts for more time, configure filtering content and location sharing. Some of these features required Microsoft 365. Before this app existed, many of these features were only available on the web.
And many more
There are a lot of other changes in the 22H2 update. For example, Microsoft took the time to add a lot of settings to the Settings app and reorganized some of the existing ones. The Spotlight feature has been renamed to Do Not Disturb. There are new touchscreen gestures, like swiping left with three fingers to switch to your most recently used app. Windows 11 now even supports wideband voice with AirPods.
Is it worth the upgrade?
None of these features are truly groundbreaking, but they all make for a solid, substantial upgrade with a large number of improvements throughout. Many of them are obvious improvements to make—like the ability to drag and drop on the taskbar. Over time, it becomes difficult to remember which of these changes were made in the 22H2 update and which were part of the original version of Windows 11. If you’re using Windows 11, this should be for sure. Definitely a great upgrade.
If you’re not using Windows 11, you can upgrade for free — assuming it supports your PC. If Windows 11 doesn’t support your PC, there are still a few ways you can install it. Third-party developers are helping: Rufus Utility is making it easier than ever to install Windows 11 on unsupported PCs.
However, Windows 11 certainly runs best on modern PCs, and Windows 10 is still supported until October 2025. We think people with unsupported PCs should stick with Windows 10 for now. . Windows 10 works fine and you’ll probably get fewer errors if you use a properly supported version of Windows.
Finally, if you have an unsupported PC and really want to use Windows 11, the best way to get it is to buy a new PC that supports it. If that means you’re on Windows 10 for a few more years until you upgrade, you don’t have to miss out. Windows 10 works fine.