New Update Windows 11 22H2 closer to release, lands in the Release channel

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Microsoft has moved Windows 11, version 22H2, to the Windows Insider Release channel, indicating that it is in its final round of testing before it's likely released this fall.

Windows 11 22H2, aka Sun Valley 2, is the operating system's next feature update and is expected only to have a few minor improvements and new features.

Last month, we reported that Windows 11 22H2 build 22621 was the Released to Manufacturing (RTM) build, which is the product's final build before its release to OEMs and other partners for installation in new devices.

Furthermore, hardware developers are to use that branch for developing new drivers to be submitted to Microsoft's Windows Hardware Compatibility Program.
Today, Microsoft announced that they had moved the Windows 11 22H2 feature update to the 'Release' channel, available for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 insiders, indicating that they are getting close to releasing it.

"Today we are making Windows 11, version 22H2 Build 22621 available in the Release Preview Channel for Windows Insider Program for Business participants to validate on devices in their organizations," Microsoft announced today in a blog post.

"Commercial devices* configured for the Release Preview Channel via the Windows Insider Program Settings page or via Windows Update for Business policy, whether through Microsoft Intune or through Group Policy, will automatically be offered Windows 11, version 22H2 as an optional update provided that the device(s) meet the hardware requirements. Windows 11, version 22H2 is also now available via Windows Server Update Service and Azure Marketplace."
 

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After this update this morning my Intel drivers would not update (crashed during their installs). I uninstalled Bitdefender Total Security and then ran the Intel updates and they went through just fine. Reinstalled BDTS and everything works okay now.
 
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Having snap layouts available when I drag around a window has really helped me to work more efficiently.

So far I'm loving this new Windows 11 release despite having "incompatible" hardware everything works as it should.
 

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Yesterday, Microsoft released Windows 11 build 22621 to Windows Insiders enrolled in the Release Preview Channel, marking another step towards general availability of Windows 11 22H2 which is scheduled for release sometime later this year. However, it seems from reports on Reddit, that users on unsupported hardware are being offered the upgrade as well, even those on Windows 10.

It has to be noted that there is also a Release Preview Channel for Windows 10 and that receives Cumulative Updates before the general public release of Windows 10 does, but supported hardware will still see the "Windows 11, version 22H2 is ready" offer. The issue here is that it is seemingly being offered on unsupported hardware too.
 

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Windows 11 version 22H2: Start Menu changes​

Here are the main changes:
  • Folders return. Drag and drop a pinned item on another to create a folder. An animation provides hints in this regard.
  • You may rename folders, rearrange apps inside folders and remove pinned apps from folders.
  • Start Menu layouts are available. More Pins expands the Pinned section, while More Recommendations expands the recommendation section of the Start Menu.
 

amirr

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Having snap layouts available when I drag around a window has really helped me to work more efficiently.

So far I'm loving this new Windows 11 release despite having "incompatible" hardware everything works as it should.
Me too, I run Win11 Dev channel on a 2016 made PC, which has unsupported CPU.
 
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Reactions: vtqhtr413

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Windows 11 version 22H2: taskbar changes​

Here are the main changes:
  • Drag and drop of files on taskbar icons is supported again.
  • New microphone mute icon for chat applications on the taskbar.
  • New "share this window" option for chat applications.
Closing Words

Microsoft won't please many of its critics with the changes that it made to the taskbar in Windows 11 version 22H2. Drag & drop support is the main feature in the release, but taskbar functionality is still limited when compared to taskbars in previous versions of Windows.

Even drag & drop support is not perfect, as programs need to be running already for the feature to work at all.

Microsoft indicated earlier this year that it has no plans to add different taskbar layouts to the Windows 11 operating system. Users who prefer to have their taskbar at the top may use third-party software to do so, but users who preferred to position the taskbar at the sides have no such option.

Some features, like Taskbar overflow, may not make it in the initial release. Microsoft plans to push feature updates as smaller updates to Windows 11 devices regularly in the future though.
 

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Windows 11 version 22H2: snap assist changes​

In the third part of the series, we are going to take a closer look at the changes that Microsoft makes to Windows 11's Snap Assist feature in the Windows 11 2022 update.

Microsoft did not introduce too many new features in Windows 11. Snap Assist, a feature to manage program windows more efficiently, was well received when it was unveiled.

At its core, Snap Assist gives users an option at hand to align program windows on the screen based on a number of supported patterns. The layouts depend on the size of the display, but include options to align two windows side-by-side in a 50% to 50% and 75% to 25% , three windows side by side, three windows with a ratio of 25% to 50% to 25%, three windows with one occupying 50% of the screen and the other two windows split vertically, and four windows with each taking up 25% of the space.

windows-11-snap-assist.webp
 

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Optimizations for windowed games​

Windows 11 2022 Update, the upcoming feature update for Windows 11, includes additional optimizations for games. Announced in February 2022 by Hannah Fisher on the DirectX Developer Blog, optimizations for windowed games aims to improve the performance of DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 games that run in windowed or borderless-windowed mode.

In a nutshell, Microsoft is brining optimizations introduced in DirectX 12 to games that use DirectX 10 or 11. The optimization upgrades the legacy presentation model that DirectX 10 and 11 games use when they run in windowed or borderless-windowed mode to the new presentation mode that Microsoft introduced in DirectX 12.

Fisher explains:
More technically, we are moving apps from the legacy blt-model presentation to modern flip-model. Many games already take advantage of modern flip-model, but this new optimization will allow thousands of games to benefit as well.

The main effect that the feature has on games is that it lowers latency.

The optimizations for windowed games feature has a downside. In some games, the optimizations may lead to screen tearing. Microsoft suggests to match the game's frame rate to the monitor's display refresh rate, if possible, or to enable V-Sync, to avoid that.
 

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Windows 11 version 22H2: file explorer changes​

Several elements have changed when you open File Explorer. The homepage, the first screen that opens when you launch the file manager, may look similar on first glance. The menubar at the top is identical to the 2021 version, but the sidebar has seen several changes.

Quick Access has been renamed to Home, but the underlying function is still called Quick Access in menus. Microsoft replaced the star icon of Quick Access with a new Home icon to better visualize the change.

In the main area of the homepage, Folders has been renamed to Quick Access. It offers the same functionality, but has been renamed. Files that are pinned are listed under Favorites, a new section of the File Explorer homepage.

Files and folders may be added to the favorites via the context menu. Right-click on a file or folder and select the "add to favorites" entry to add it to the section on the homepage.

favorites
 

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AMD releases new chipset driver with official Windows 11 22H2 support​

As we move closer to the rumored launch date of Windows 11 22H2 or "Windows 11 2022 Update," hardware manufacturers have started pushing their drivers optimized for the newest OS. AMD Radeon Software drivers are already updated for Windows 11 22H2, and now it is time for chipset drivers from the red team.

Version 4.08.09.2337 is now available for download from the official website, and it brings official support for Windows 11 version 22H2, with no other changes mentioned.

Before installing, check out the list of known bugs and issues:
  • Sometimes custom install fails to upgrade to latest drivers.
  • Text alignment issues may be seen on Russian language.
  • Manual system restart required on Non-English OS after the installation is complete.
  • Windows® Installer pop-up message may appear during the installation.
  • Uninstall summary log may incorrectly show uninstall status as fail on non-English OS.
 

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Intel releases Wi-Fi drivers optimized for Windows 11 22H2​

Intel has released a new driver set for several wireless adapters. The main highlight of the update is official support for the upcoming Windows 11 22H2 update (also known as 2022 Update), plus several fixes for known issues.

Intel Wi-Fi driver version 22.160.0 is now available from the official website. The latest release supports Windows 10 and 11 (no Windows 7 and 8 support since version 21.50.1) on systems with the following Intel Wireless Adapters: Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6, 9000, 8000, and 7000. Here is the changelog:
  • Driver package 22.160.0 has been validated to support Microsoft Windows 11 22H2.
Fixed bugs:
  • Throughput performance occurs after resuming from hibernate when using Intel® Wi-Fi 6 wireless adapters.
  • When using a PC with an Intel® Wi-Fi 6 wireless adapter in hotspot mode, some Android devices might experience degraded downlink throughput performance.
  • When roaming from a 2.4 GHz network to a 5 GHz network with a different SSID, the PC may fail to obtain an IP address.
 

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Windows 11 version 22H2: Task Manager changes​

Here are the main changes:
  • The basic Task Manager interface has been removed.
  • Task Manager supports dark mode.
  • Tabs have moved to the left.
  • The classic menu bar is gone; most options have moved elsewhere.
  • Microsoft added new keyboard shortcuts to the Task Manager.
Windows 11 users who open the Task Manager on a Windows 11 version 22H2 system may notice the new design and style of the application right away.

The bare-bones versions of the Task Manager appears to have been removed; a full Task Manager interface launches right away, and there is no option to switch to the minimal, some call it useless, design that Microsoft implemented in earlier versions of the operating system.

The new Hamburger menu that Microsoft placed at the top left corner of the screen, sidebar tabs, the removal of the classic menu bar, support for custom color styles, and dark mode support may become apparent right away.

The sidebar menu collapses automatically when the size of the window reaches a certain threshold. The available menu items are identical to the ones in the release version of Windows 11.

The classic menu bar is gone, but most of its options are still available, only elsewhere. Run new task, which is listed under File in Windows 11, is now available directly in the tab's titlebar. Exit, on the other hand, has been removed. It is still possible to click on the x-icon to close the Task Manager, or use other means, such as Alt-F4.

windows 11 2022 update task manager settings
 

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Windows 11 version 22H2: gaming changes​

In the sixth part of the series, we are looking at the improvements for gamers and gaming in the upcoming Windows 11 2022 update.

When Microsoft launched the original version of Windows 11 last year, it promoted the operating system as the best Windows system for gaming. The statement was not just marketing, as Microsoft did introduce some new features in Windows 11 related to gaming.

In particular, Microsoft added support for Auto HDR and the DirectStorage API. Auto HDR is designed to enable HDR in games that do not support it. The technology requires a HDR compatible display.

DirectStorage was introduced on Xbox initially and then ported to Windows 11. It promises to improve the loading of games but only on devices with fast NVMe drives. Microsoft did announce DirectStorage for Windows 10 as well, so no exclusive for the operating system.
Here are the main changes:
  • Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) is available system-wide.
  • New optimizations for windowed games feature.
  • New Windows HDR Calibration app.
  • New Xbox Controller Bar.
 

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What is happening after the release of Windows 11 version 22H2​

Microsoft has not revealed its plans officially at this point. In fact, the company has yet to announce the official release date for the first feature update for Windows 11. Most expect that the company plans to release the Windows 11 2022 Update on September 20, 2022.

Microsoft could move to a three year release cycle for the operating system, away from the one feature update per year release cycle. The next major update would not be released before 2025. Whether that is going to be another major Windows 11 update or the release of Windows 12 remains to be seen.

In the three years in-between, Microsoft plans to release smaller feature drops. Called Moments, these updates introduce new features to the operating system without requiring the installation of major updates.

We are aware of two Moment updates for Windows 11, with the first update expected in October 2022 already. According to Albacore, who is well informed usually, Moment 1 will introduce new features such as tabs in File Explorer in Windows 11. The Moment 2 update won't be released until next year according to Albacore.

Additional Moment updates are likely, and will be released whenever Microsoft considers features to be ready for final release.


Closing Words

The new release process improves update management for users and administrators. Instead of having to install a feature update every year, and risk major issues, features will be introduced as smaller cumulative updates that have a smaller risk of major issues.
 

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Windows 11 version 22H2: Control Panel and Settings changes​

Here are the main changes:
  • Updates are now uninstalled in the Settings app.
  • New Advanced Sharing Settings option in Network & Internet.

Windows Updates uninstallation​


windows updates uninstall



The Windows Update section of the Settings app in Windows 11 controls the updating on most Home systems that are powered by the operating system.

Updates do get installed automatically on most Windows devices, but Windows 11 users get some controls right in the settings. Besides running manual checks for updates or pausing updating for a short period, the Settings app is offering advanced options and the history of updates.

The Update history section lists successful and failed update installations on the device; these are sorted into groups, such as Quality Updates, Driver Updates, or Definition Updates. The usefulness of the listing was diminished by the fact that it lacked uninstallation options.

Users are redirected to the Control Panel application in the release version of Windows 11 when they activate the "uninstall updates" option in the Settings.

With the release of Windows 11 version 22H2 comes the integration of update uninstalls.
 

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Windows 11 version 22H2: Focus Assist and Quick Settings improvements​

Focus Assist and Quick Settings are not new features, but Microsoft improves them in the upcoming Windows 11 release. These gradual adjustments are typical for Microsoft, as is the long development period before improvements land in stable versions of the Windows operating system.

Here are the main changes:

  • Focus Assist accessibility improved to highlight the feature to more users.
  • Quick Settings improvements to Bluetooth to discover and connect to devices.
  • Flight Mode remembers WiFi and Bluetooth connections that are turned on after enabling Flight Mode.
 

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