The Windows 11 2022 Update is out and has several features which include, Start menu folders, upgraded Snap Layouts, Live Captions across the OS, updated gestures, and last but not least a new Xbox controller bar. The new update also incorporates several accessibility upgrades which transforms Microsoft’s focus on new features.
The Start menu with folders.
The start menu folder is the first noticeable upgrade to the Windows 11 2022 Update. A user can drag apps on top of each other on the Start menu to create folders and pin them freely. Microsoft has also added a feature that enables one to resize the pinned area so as to see less of the recommended feed of files that appears below apps on the Start menu.
Task Manager now includes a dark mode.
Microsoft has made some design changes in the Windows 11 2022 Update, improving animations, icons, and even the dark mode. The task Manager is now showing a new interface and a dark theme. There are still a few parts of Windows 11 that aren’t fully dark as Microsoft is taking its time to get these right and not throwing a dark theme everywhere.
“In the past we’ve looked at dark themes or dark mode as being solid back, and what we’ve learned through following our principles is that a dark gray or a softer gray works as it has got to be really tuned in so it’s not just black,” explained Koehn to a media outlet.
This is visible in the Task Manager where it’s still easy to read the white text on a dark background, and many parts are dark or softer grays.
Snap Layouts Upgraded.
Snap Layouts has gotten better in the Windows 11 2022 Update. If a user starts moving an app or folder it triggers a new snap bar at the top that allows one to quickly assemble apps into Snap Layouts, with a variety of grids and layouts available especially on larger monitors.
The taskbar has greatly improved over the past year. The time and date made a return to multiple monitors earlier this year, and the Windows 11 2022 Update brings back drag and drop.
The Xbox controller Upgrade.
The Windows 11 2022 Update is a must-install, especially for tablet or 2-in-1 users. Microsoft has made tremendous upgrades to the gestures which allow one to swipe up to access the Start menu and easily switch between apps. Nevertheless, game fans get the most benefit from this update. A new Xbox controller bar allows a gamer to easily move between PC launchers and games with just a controller. For gamers who play games in window mode, there is also latency and performance improvement.
Windows 11 shipped with the Auto HDR feature from the Xbox Series X / S consoles, and Microsoft now allows windowed games to support Auto HDR and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). The optimizations also efficiently improve latency for older DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 games running in windowed mode. This is especially great news for PC gamers who have had to run games in full screen in the past to get all the latency and performance benefits.
Live Captions Working Across All Audio.
The Windows 11 2022 Update also has also made awesome upgrades to accessibility features with one being the Live Captions. Live Captions is accessible using the Winkey + CTRL + L shortcut, and will greatly benefit people who are deaf. All captions are automatically generated on-device from any content that includes audio, and captions can float in a window or be displayed at the top or bottom of a screen.
The Windows Update also includes Voice Access which lets a user control a PC with just their voice and new voices for Microsoft’s Narrator feature “We are bringing state of the art text-to-speech into Windows,” Carolina Hernandez, a principal PM manager at Microsoft, said in an interview. “These voices more closely mirror natural speech, so it makes it more delightful to hear these voices.”
Updated Computer Voices.
Voice Access is another new feature in this update that’s focused on accessibility. Voice Access places a narration bar at the top of your screen where you can use your voice to navigate Windows. You can move the cursor, copy and paste, interact with apps, and basically do anything that you’d be able to normally do with a keyboard and mouse. This will be beneficial for people with limited mobility or anyone who wants or needs to control their PC with just a microphone.
“One of the things that we’ve adopted is this inclusive design philosophy for our products,” Hernandez said. We’ve seen this for years outside of technology with curb cuts that were originally designed for wheelchairs but that also help people on bikes or parents with babies in strollers. Microsoft is taking a similar approach to accessibility improvements here.
Voice Access as a new feature.
Windows 11 2022 Update also includes some upgrades to the focus and “do not disturb” modes. There’s a new do not disturb button in the notification panel that can mute notifications, as well as creates a 30-minute focus session that removes the badge icons on the taskbar.
Smart App Control.
Microsoft is introducing a new feature, Smart App Control in the latest update, designed to block scripting attacks or third-party apps from launching. To get the feature one has to install Windows 11 fresh as Microsoft wants to ensure there aren’t already untrusted apps running on the device before the feature is enabled.