Windows 11 gets its first major update with 22H2, codenamed “Sun Valley 2” during development. With Windows 11, Microsoft has moved to an annual cycle of releasing major updates, leaving behind Windows 10’s frantic twice-a-year schedule.
What you need to know
This update is called 22H2 because it was released in the second half of 2022. Specifically, it appeared on Microsoft’s release preview channel on June 7, 2022. This implies that the update could be released sometime in the summer of 2022.
However, since Microsoft is only on an annual release cycle for major updates, and Windows 11 was released on October 4, 2022, it’s very possible that the update won’t become stable until fall 2022. Microsoft hasn’t given a firm release date yet. We don’t know for sure, but if you pressed us, we’d say you should expect it in the fall.
When available, a free update will be offered through Windows Update. You’ll see it as an option at the top of the window in Settings > Windows Update.
If you want an early update, you can always join the Windows Insider release preview channel on your PC. However, if you install an update before everything is ready to go, you increase the chances of running into bugs.
Note: We will focus on what we consider the most interesting changes. As always, there are many bug fixes, performance improvements, security patches and small tweaks throughout the operating system. For example, Microsoft renamed “Windows Terminal” to “Terminal”.
New Task Manager
Windows 11 now has an updated, modernized Task Manager with some new features. As always, 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 and then click “Task Manager ” to open it.
The Task Manager interface now looks much more at home on Windows 11. It’s similar to how Microsoft handled the Notepad update: All the standard features are still there. However, the interface has been modernized – it now even has support for dark mode, and the shading of the resource usage columns in the Processes tab uses the selected accent color.
On the Processes tab, you’ll also find an “Efficiency Mode” option. You can manually enable this for certain processes to reduce their power consumption. Certain processes—such as some Microsoft Edge processes—automatically use similar techniques and will display a leaf icon in the Status column.
Taskbar Drag and Drop
One huge missing feature: You can now drag and drop files, images, and other things onto taskbar icons. This was a big feature loved by many Windows users in Windows 10 and earlier versions of Windows.
Now it’s back and working mostly as you’d expect. However, when you drag something onto a taskbar icon, you’ll still see a circle with a line through it, meaning you can’t drag and drop. However, when you drag to an app icon, Windows 11 will switch to the appropriate window and you can drag and drop directly to that window as usual.
Unfortunately, you still can’t move the taskbar – not without hacking the registry, anyway.
Maybe: Tabs in File Explorer
File Explorer is finally getting tabs, years after Microsoft scrapped the Sets feature that would have added them to Windows 10. The feature isn’t yet available to everyone using Release Preview, so it’s unclear if it will actually be part of the final version of the 22H2 update. However, Microsoft is actively testing it in beta channel 22H2 from the end of June 2022.
Tabs work as you’d expect – File Explorer gets a strip of tabs 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 around, and middle-click folders to open them in a new tab—just like you can middle-click links to open them in a new tab in your web browser.
If this feature is not part of 22H2, hopefully it will be part of the next update or arrive soon after.
Snap Layouts and Snap Group are one of the best advancements of Windows 11. Snap gets even better in 22H2 with some new features.
Now, when you move any window on the desktop, you will see a handle at the top of the screen. You can drag a window on the handle and choose a location for it in the Snap Layouts grid. It should make Snap discovery easier for more Windows 11 users.
Prefer to use the keyboard? Now you can press Windows+Z and the Snap Layouts grid will appear with numbers. Press one of the numbers that appear to select 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 easier to switch between window groups.
Finally, Edge gets in on the action: When you put a window to one side of the screen, you’ll see your three most recently used Edge tabs as options that you can position next to the window, just like you see Edge browser tabs in Alt+Tab.
You can configure all these features from the Settings app in Settings > Multitasking > Snap.
Start menu improvements
App shortcut folders 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 of the home menu, just drag and drop one app’s icon onto another app’s icon. You will get a folder containing both icons. You can click on a folder to open it, give it any name you want, and drag additional icons onto it to add it to the folder.
You can now choose additional looks for your Start menu from Settings > Personalization > Start, too, choosing to see more pinned apps or more auto-recommended items.
Bluetooth device connections in the taskbar
The Quick Settings area gets a bunch of changes in the 22H2, and one of the most useful is the ability to view, connect to, and disconnect Bluetooth devices without opening the Settings window.
It works the same as connecting to Wi-Fi networks. Just like with Wi-Fi, 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 nearby Bluetooth devices you can pair with.
New print queue and print dialog
Windows 11’s printing features also get a nice new redesign and polish. Both the system print dialog (what you see when you click File > Print in most applications) and the print order window have been redesigned. They now support dark mode as well as automatic printer detection and installation without visiting the Settings app.
Live subtitles for any sound
Windows 11 now has a “Live Captions” feature (just like Android). When enabled, Windows will automatically display subtitles for any audio you’re listening to on your computer, whether it’s a voice call you’re in, a video you’re watching online, or anything else. Audio is transcribed locally on your computer – 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 clock on the taskbar, click the “Accessibility” button in the Quick Settings menu, and turn on “Live Captions”. ”
Better volume change
Windows 11 now has a new volume change indicator that appears when you use the volume keys on your keyboard to adjust the volume. It looks like it belongs in Windows 11. (The new design appears when you change the screen brightness as well.)
Even more exciting, you can now hover 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 enhancement 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 was acquired by Microsoft in 2021. When Microsoft first added it to Windows, it required a $9/month subscription to output 1080p video. Fortunately, that limitation has been lifted. Clipchamp has a free tier, but still offers optional paid monthly subscriptions. Its premium features are not bundled with Microsoft’s standard Microsoft 365 subscription as of June 2022.
The application provides an easy way to edit videos, create clips, add audio, configure transitions and export videos in web-friendly formats. It is a long-awaited application after the demise of the beloved Windows Movie Maker. (Windows 10’s hidden video editor couldn’t quite fill its shoes.)
Windows now includes a family app. It works hand-in-hand with Microsoft Family Safety, allowing parents to configure time limits for apps and games, respond to requests from their children’s accounts in more time, configure content filtering and share locations. Some of these features require Microsoft 365. Before this app existed, many of these features were only available on the web.
and much more
There are a lot of other changes in the 22H2 update. For example, Microsoft spent time adding a lot of settings to the Settings app and reorganizing some existing settings. The Focus feature has been renamed to Do Not Disturb. There are new gestures on the touchscreen, such as a three-finger swipe to the left to switch to an app you’ve recently used. Windows 11 now even supports broadband talk with AirPods.
Is it worth upgrading?
None of these features are truly groundbreaking, but they all add up to a solid, substantial upgrade with plenty of improvements. Many of these are obvious improvements – the ability to drag and drop on the taskbar, for example. Over time, it will be 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 are using Windows 11, it will definitely be a great upgrade.
If you’re not yet using Windows 11, you can upgrade to it for free – assuming your PC supports it. If Windows 11 is not supported on your PC, there are still some ways to install it. Third-party developers help: The Rufus utility makes installing Windows 11 on unsupported PCs easier than ever.
However, Windows 11 definitely works best on modern PCs, and Windows 10 remains supported until October 2025. We think people with unsupported PCs should stick with Windows 10 for now. Windows 10 works just fine, and you’re likely to encounter fewer bugs if stick to the correct 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 using Windows 10 for a few more years before you upgrade, you won’t be missing out. Windows 10 works great.