If Microsoft hadn’t decided to call it Windows 11 Update 2022, probably the right name would have been Windows 12. It is distributed in the form of an update through Windows Update, but it is really difficult to talk about a simple update when the innovations introduced by Microsoft are hundreds, and they go to embrace every possible user of the system. There are news for those who play, for those who study, for those who have to work and also for those who need concrete help to use the computer.
More attentive to people with disabilities
On the accessibility front, for example, it arrives transcription in real time through machine learning of everything that passes through the sound card. It is activated by pressing the key combination Windows + Control + L and initially asks for the download of the vocabulary locally: the system it works even without a permanent connection to the Internet.
If most of the video content is already equipped with subtitles, even automatic, this is not true for example in the case of meetings on Teams, or on Zoom. Thanks to the transcription in real time, a deaf person can follow the conversation without any problem.
The “caption”, as it is called in Italian, occupies the upper part of the desktop but can be repositioned like a normal window. Among the peculiarities of the system the possibility of including your own microphone and above all to automatically filter vulgar contents. The only limit, at the moment, is the presence of only the English vocabulary: it cannot be used with other languages.
Still on the subject of accessibility, Microsoft has also introduced a way to use Windows 11 with voice commands, which follows the one shown by Apple at the WWDC in 2019: a grid is superimposed and the user, by voice, can indicate to the system where the mouse pointer should move by making the selection. It only works with the English language at the moment.
Finally the drag & drop on the taskbar, but the tabs in the Explorer only in a while
Windows 11, we had seen it last year, was a bit of a work in progress: old applications hidden under a newer theme, “dark” mode not flawless in management and many other small limits that have held back many users, who have preferred stay on Windows 10. Many of these things have been revised with the update, especially in the menu and toolbar areas. The latter, and here many will be able to breathe a sigh of relief, finally supports drag & drop: if you drag a Jpeg file onto the Photoshop icon, the app will be brought to the foreground and you can automatically open the file, or a group of files.
The management of the menu also changes: dragging one application over the other they are grouped into folders, which can be given a name. A very “mobile / tablet” approach where space is limited, but it is a clear indication of Microsoft’s willingness to build a hybrid platform that can also embrace touch devices with a small screen, which are in fact tablets.
Microsoft has worked well to refine the design of these new features, trying to make it homogeneous, even if something is still missing, especially on the user interaction side. For example, it is not possible to destroy a folder, all the apps must be removed by hand, one by one, and in the same way we believe there is a graphic problem on the management of drag & drop, because the icon appears anyway that warns that the operation is not possible when it is evident that it can be done.
In terms of customization, the possibility of choosing different layouts for the menu is appreciable: someone would have liked to completely eliminate the “Recommended articles” section, leaving full space for the apps, but you will have to content yourself with reducing it to a single line, however expanding the space to provision for apps and now also for app folders.
Windows Explorer also changes: in the general view, in addition to quick access to user folders and the latest files, it is now possible leave some favorite files in evidence, and integration with OneDrive has also been improved.
In the respective section there is a small icon that allows direct access to account settingswith immediate view of the remaining space and the possibility of recalling the settings.
Explorer is not yet complete: navigation to tabperhaps one of the most awaited features by users, is part of the news of this update but will be released only in October.
For those who love to work in multitasking we find small improvements also in the “Snap” function of the Layouts, probably one of the most loved features by those who use Windows on large monitors. Just move an application to the top to bring up some suggested layouts on which to “lock” the apps to organize the desktop automatically. It should be noted that this function dynamically reacts to the resolution of the connected monitor, so depending on the dpi, pixels and aspect ratio it will automatically suggest a series of layouts that can be adapted. A big help for those who use Windows especially in the office and work environment.
Also for those who work, and perhaps use the same earphones with the notebook that they also use with the iPhone or iPad, there is improved support for Apple’s AirPods: improves the connection bandwidth and relies on the AAC codecwith better quality during video calls.
Focus mode arrives to stay focused
Always to encourage work and production the “concentration” mode is divided into Focus and Do Not Disturb. The second silences notifications, the first instead allows you to start a sort of “digital hourglass” which gives you some time to concentrate on a specific thing, disabling notifications and any other form of distraction.
There are also news for gamers, starting with the implementation of dynamic screen refresh rate management. This it works both in Windows, if the computer is connected to a monitor that supports it, and in gaming, with monitors that support VRR and games that have refresh unlocked. VRR is one of the features Windows takes from Xbox, like Auto HDR, which handles the dynamic range extension on games that weren’t originally meant for HDR on compatible monitors. There is also a new management bar for Xbox, which makes it easier to use the computer with the Xbox gamepad.
Windows, in general, has always been designed with the idea of a classic computer under test, despite the fact that Microsoft’s flagship product is a hybrid that also becomes an excellent tablet by removing the keyboard, or Surface. With the update of Windows 11 this point also improves, especially in the interaction with the touch. It finally exists a gesture that allows you to control the start menu with a movement of the hand. It is difficult to understand why such a useful interaction had been forgotten until today. It is obviously not the only gesture, many other small interactions to facilitate the use of Windows with touch systems have been added, a sign of wanting to continue in the direction of the perfect hybrid.
Welcome, android app
Last but not least, Android apps also arrive: Microsoft has expanded the distribution of the Android subsystem and Italy is among the countries where you can finally try the thousands of apps of the Amazon AppStore. The beginning of a small revolution, which will materialize with the migration of many Windows ultra-portables to the ARM platform, which will facilitate the execution of native apps and use compatibility layers.
Windows 11 in its 2022 version has hundreds of new features, and we have put only the most obvious. There is improved support for Teams, there are many small changes in every corner and soon some news already announced will arrive, first of all the tabs in the Explorer.
Windows 11, starting to have the right shape
Windows 11 was a great work in progress, and with this update we can say we are almost done. Microsoft is aware that the platform is evolving and that it still has to intervene on many aspects, especially in the removal of everything that, graphically, is legacy, but is doing it slowly, so as not to collapse a delicate castle. The new Task Manager panel, for example, is a small sign that slowly all traces of old Windows, there is still something of Windows NT, will disappear. Someone was skeptical about the update, and decided to stick with Windows 10: this new version could be the push to make the leap.
How to get Windows 11 2022
To get the Windows 11 2022 update, simply go to Start / Settings / Windows Update and check if the update is available. Due to the splitting of the distribution, the update may be announced with a specific screen but not yet available for download.