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What’s new in the first major update for Windows 11?

Windows 11 has been around for a year and is now undergoing its first major refresh phase. Explorer receives tabs there, space is provided for automatic subtitles and voice control, but updates as CO2-efficient as possible are installed, while Android apps are more widely available.

The operating system therefore receives a first refresh. In this article, we will review its main novelties.

Tabs

A small, but interesting novelty for the seasoned Windows user are the tabs in File Explorer. For the past thirty years, you first had to open a new window each time (as if to explain the name Windows). Now you can also open multiple tabs in a single Explorer window for quick access to various file locations.

Windows Explorer will now have tabs in Windows 11. © Microsoft

Explorer also gets a sort of homepage with quick access to favorites, recent files, and viewed items. These elements are already present in Explorer, but therefore obtain a more prominent place there.

Explorer gets a home page with key shortcuts., Microsoft
Explorer receives a home page with the main shortcuts. © Microsoft

Photos, copy and share

The photos app is assigned a new manager, it is simplified and includes the back-up option via OneDrive.

When you copy a text and it will be a phone number or a date, Windows will suggest that you call or schedule an appointment for that date in your calendar.

Now you can also share things on more devices, including Windows computers near your device.

Taskbar Overflow

Anyone who opens a lot of apps simultaneously, unfortunately knows the phenomenon of the overloaded taskbar. In Windows 11 there will therefore be Taskbar Overflow, where a special small icon (three small dots) will appear, which will guide you to a menu, where all open apps will be visible.

Subtitles everywhere

A particularly useful new feature is called System Wide Live Captions. It will offer you for all audio on Windows 11 the option to automatically generate subtitles. With this function, Microsoft intends above all to satisfy people with hearing disabilities.

Voice Access, in preview, will allow you to control your computer only by voice., Microsoft
Voice Access, in preview, will allow you to control your computer only by voice. © Microsoft

Let’s also mention Voice Access, a preview function, which will allow you to control your computer entirely by voice. But it will also be limited to English.

Microsoft says, however, that for the time being, this will be the case for American English. It is not yet clear, however, if this means that only English-speaking audio will receive English subtitles or if the option will only be available to people with an English-speaking installation.

The Xbox Game Bar is complemented by a Controller Bar, a function allowing you to quickly start your recently used games or game launchers. Via an Xbox Controller (or a compatible controller) it will thus be possible to start (again) your recent games at the touch of a button. Additionally, there will also be a new HDR app for gamers.

The Controller Bar will give you quick access to recently used games or game launchers from a game controller., Microsoft
The Controller Bar will give you quick access to recently used games or game launchers from a game controller. © Microsoft

Productivity: more focus

Snap Layouts, a feature that allows you to position certain apps to your liking and maintain that layout, is slightly modified. At the same time, Microsoft introduces Focus Sessions and Do Not Disturb. You will no longer see notifications and badges (such as the number of unread emails in the mail icon in the taskbar). But everything will also work with a timer, in order to insert a possible pee or coffee break.

This introduction by Microsoft has something a little ironic. Ten years ago, notifications were indeed rare on Windows, whereas now they are ubiquitous, so much so that Microsoft realizes that it is sometimes overkill.

Android apps for everyone

One of the great features of Windows 11 is the ability to run Android apps on it. Until now, this option was mainly reserved for US users (although this restriction could be circumvented by means of a few tricks). Now the Amazon Appstore, where Android apps for Windows are located, is coming to international markets. In all, we are talking about twenty thousand apps and games.

Microsoft
© Microsoft

If you have already installed Windows 11, the update will be offered to you automatically in the coming weeks. But via Windows Update, you can also manually install the 2022 update. As far as we know, the new features will not (yet) make it to Windows 10.

The operating system therefore receives a first refresh. In this article we will review its main novelties. A small, but interesting novelty for the seasoned Windows user are the tabs in File Explorer (Explorer). For the past thirty years, you first had to open a new window each time (as if to explain the name Windows). Now, you’ll also be able to open multiple tabs in a single Explorer window, for quick access to various file locations. Explorer also gets a kind of home page with quick access to Favorites, Recent Files, and Viewed Items. These elements are now present in Explorer, but therefore obtain a more prominent place there. The photos app has been assigned a new manager, it is simplified and includes the back-up option via OneDrive. and it will be a phone number or a date, Windows will suggest that you call or schedule a meeting for that date in your calendar. more devices, including Windows computers near your device. Anyone who opens a lot of apps at the same time, unfortunately knows the phenomenon of the overloaded taskbar. In Windows 11 there will therefore be Taskbar Overflow, where a special little icon (three little dots) will appear, which will guide you to a menu, where all open apps will be visible. A particularly useful new function is called System Wide Live Captions. It will offer you for all audio on Windows 11 the option to automatically generate subtitles. With this function, Microsoft intends above all to satisfy people with a hearing impairment. Let’s also mention Voice Access, a preview function that will allow you to control your computer entirely by voice. But it will also be limited to English. However, Microsoft says that temporarily, this will be the case for American English. However, it is not yet clear if this means that only English-language audio will receive English subtitles or if the option will only be available to people with an English-speaking installation. The Xbox Game Bar is being supplemented by a Controller Bar, a function allowing you to quickly start your recently used games or game launchers. Via an Xbox Controller (or a compatible controller) it will thus be possible to start (again) your recent games by means of a single and even button. In addition, there will also be a new HDR app for gamers. Snap Layouts, a feature that allows you to position certain apps to your liking and maintain that layout, is slightly modified. At the same time, Microsoft introduces Focus Sessions and Do Not Disturb. You will no longer see notifications and badges (such as the number of unread emails in the mail icon in the taskbar). But everything will also work with a timer, in order to insert a possible pee or coffee break. There is something a little ironic about this introduction by Microsoft. Ten years ago, notifications were indeed rare on Windows, whereas now they are ubiquitous, so much so that Microsoft realizes that it is sometimes exaggerated. One of the great peculiarities of Windows 11, it is the possibility of running Android apps on it. Until now, this option was mainly reserved for US users (although this restriction could be circumvented by means of a few tricks). Now the Amazon Appstore, where Android apps for Windows are located, is coming to international markets. In all, there are some twenty thousand apps and games. If you have already installed Windows 11, the update will be offered to you automatically in the coming weeks. But via Windows Update, you can also manually install the 2022 update. As far as we know, the new features will not (yet) make it to Windows 10.