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Microsoft announced Tuesday that it is starting to release the first major update to Windows 11, the current version of its PC operating system. Installing a free update can make computers more accessible, more convenient, safer – and maybe even greener.
Over the past decade, Microsoft has diversified away from Windows by expanding its Azure public cloud and acquiring resources such as the LinkedIn business social network, but Windows continues to generate 12% of the company’s revenue.
The updates help Microsoft show that it hasn’t given up on modernizing Windows, which dates back to the 1980s and is more popular than any other PC operating system. But the company only delivers one sizable update to Windows each year, compared to two a year for Windows 10, Windows 11’s predecessor.
“Our job is never done to ensure Windows evolves and adapts to you,” wrote Panos Panay, Microsoft’s product manager, in a blog post dedicated to change.
Among the versions of Windows, Windows 10 remains the most popular, with around 72% share, according to data collected by private StatCounter. Support for this operating system ends in 2025, and many companies still rely on it for their PC fleets. However, Windows 11, first released in October 2021, is gaining ground, with a 13% share in August, up from 2.6% in January.
Windows 11 Update 2022, as the new version is called, includes a video editing program, new options for customizing the Start menu, and access to additional Android applications. Here are some of the biggest changes:
Changes to the Start menu. People could pin apps to the Start menu, which now appears in the center of the screen. It is now possible to create an application folder in this Start menu by dragging one application icon onto another. In addition, the application grid density in the Start menu may change. In the Settings app’s Start section, you can click the button that says “More Pins”. You can also click “More Recommendations” to see additional suggested files in the Start menu.
A new way to organize windows. Windows 11 offers a way to organize windows on your screen. The new update goes further. Instead of hovering over the window maximize button to see what Microsoft calls Snap Layout options, you’ll be able to drag the window to the top of the screen and then drop it into the zone that appears on the screen. Then you can place additional windows in other zones. This feature now works with the touch screen.
A new video editing application. A year ago, Microsoft acquired Clipchamp, a startup that built a video editing application. Now it comes preinstalled on Windows. The free version allows you to rotate and crop videos, apply a set of filters, draw on photos and videos, and generate a watermark-free export.
The Clipchamp video editing application now comes with Windows.
Energy saving. Windows Update, a utility for downloading and installing operating system updates, may schedule updates to install when local utilities rely on energy resources to generate lower emissions. To use this feature, your computer must be connected, turned on, and connected to the Internet, and you must have information about the carbon intensity of your area. Microsoft said it also updated the default power setting for the “Sleep” and “Screen Off” modes that will lower emissions when computers are doing nothing.
Extended access to Android applications. One of the most notable features of Windows 11 is the ability to run Android apps thanks to the inclusion of the Amazon Appstore. It’s now available in 31 countries, with over 20,000 Android apps, Microsoft said. The company promises better graphics performance for Android applications.
Don’t open this app! A feature called Smart App Control can automatically prevent an unsecured application or file from being opened. You can turn off this feature, but Microsoft advises against it and you won’t be able to turn it back on without reinstalling Windows.
Microsoft’s Windows 11 can now block dangerous files and applications.
Better graphics for older games. Graphical gains will also come to games that rely on older DirectX 10 or DirectX 11 application programming interfaces and don’t run in full screen mode. This includes a variable refresh rate, which may result in more new images per second from devices with higher refresh rates.
Better video calls with advanced computers. Some new computers are equipped with AI chips on board, and if you have one, Windows 11 will be able to remove background noise during video calls, and the camera will follow you as you move through calls and change the video channel to it looks like you are making eye contact with other people during your calls.
If you have a compatible PC, Windows 11 can make you appear like you’re always making eye contact during video calls.
Better searching. When you search for apps and settings in the search box on the taskbar, the results will be displayed faster and more accurate.
Close the signature of all things. People are increasingly turning closed captions on when watching movies, and a new accessibility feature in Windows called Live Captions makes it possible for audio or video in any application.
Windows 11 can share video and audio captions.
Voice commands. Another accessibility feature, Voice Access, lets you control your computer with your voice. Sometimes this can be an easier way to navigate than typing or clicking the mouse.
More voice choices. Not everyone liked the sound of a voice that reads text on the screen in Windows Narrator’s accessibility feature, so now Microsoft offers three natural-sounding voices that draw on artificial intelligence.
How do I get the Windows 11 2022 update?
Windows 11 users can install the new update by opening the Settings app, going to Windows Update, and clicking the “Check for Updates” button. People using Windows 10 can check if their computers can run Windows 11 using the PC Health Check app, and Windows Update will show them if they’re eligible to upgrade to Windows 11 Update 2022, which is Windows 11 version 22H2 .
Not all Windows features that early users accessed through Microsoft’s Windows Insider program will be available right away. The ability to view multiple folders as tabs in File Explorer, a feature that arrived in Apple’s macOS in 2013 should arrive in October.
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