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Windows 11 22H2: the big update for September

Microsoft is expected to introduce the new version of Windows 11 in September. Stamped 22H2 (Sun Valley 2), this major update will correct the defects of the first edition by bringing many new features.

As Microsoft had promised, Windows 11 will evolve profoundly this year with a major update. Stamped 22H22 (22 for the year, 2022, H2 for the second half, the H referring to half, half in English) and nicknamed Sun Valley 2 (its internal code name), this new version should even land in the fall, probably as early as September according to the predictions of The Verge and Neowin. In fact, as announced on Twitter, the publisher is preparing a major event, Microsoft Ignite, which will take place from October 14 to 14, 2022 in Seattle, the company’s headquarters, the first in “face-to-face” after two years of online conferences due to the Covid pandemic. If this conference will certainly be used to present new Surface products, to mark the tenth anniversary of this range of computers and tablets, it should follow the official release of Windows 11 22H2 by a few days, according to experts.

One thing is certain: this new version is being finalized. The publisher had already officially confirmed this at the end of May, during its Build conference for developers. As of May 24, a so-called RTM version began circulating for testing purposes via the Windows Insider program and with partners. Since then, pre-release versions have been distributed via the Release Preview channel, the latest – Preview Build 25169 – dating from July 28, 2022. This final – and long – validation and finishing phase allows Microsoft to refine its new system by correcting bugs and improving functions. If you are a member of the Windows Insider program, you can now download and install this almost finalized version via Windows Update (see our fact sheet to learn more about the Windows Insider program).

From Windows 10 to Windows 11: a difficult migration

In parallel, the publisher will continue the deployment of the current version of Windows 11, by offering the update – always free – on all PCs with Windows 10 compatible. A logical process insofar as Windows 11 has not had the expected success since its release in early October 2021, with many users preferring to stay with Windows 10, even when they had the choice, so as not to face the plaster cast of the new system, who suffered from several youthful defects.

It must be recognized on this subject that Windows 11 is not the announced revolution. Contrary to what Microsoft suggests, it is an evolution of Windows 10. A kind of super update that brought several changes in form – especially in terms of interface -, but not in substance, the workings of the system being practically unchanged. In fact, everything leads us to believe that, under commercial pressure, the publisher has somewhat upset its schedule by dressing its system a little hastily with some novelties originally planned for the Sun Valley project – new with old. Worse, for security reasons, Microsoft has drastically changed the game in terms of compatibility, with hardware requirements that prohibit certain PCs, even fairly recent ones, from upgrading to Windows 11, in particular because of the TPM 2.0 device (see our article ).

However, we must not throw stones at Microsoft: Apple does exactly the same thing with its macOS system, which evolves every year in small steps with some new features and improvements by changing numbers and also leaving old Macs on the side of the road… Not to mention the fact that Microsoft must also take into account the millions of versions of Windows used in business: a framework in which migrations are naturally slow, for obvious practical questions (installation, configuration, compatibility with professional applications, security…).

Moreover, and this is probably the biggest criticism that we can make to Microsoft, the launch and deployment of Windows 11 took place in the greatest confusion. Not only were all the features announced during the June 2021 presentation not present in the initial version – and some still are not, such as support for Android applications – but, in addition, many bugs tainted the first updates of the system, sometimes forcing Microsoft to recommend uninstalling them a few days after their distribution, the time to find a solution! And to sow further confusion, the publisher has discreetly added and modified several applications installed as standard over the updates, almost by surprise, without communicating clearly about them. So much so that it is difficult for an uninformed user to know exactly what is integrated into Windows 11 currently.

Windows 11 22H2: a major version with many new features

Everything should change with Windows 11 22H2 – at least, we hope! Unlike the multiple updates that have circulated since the release of the system last October, this version will constitute a real evolution, to the point of being qualified as major. Remember that, contrary to what was done a few years ago with Windows 10, Microsoft decided to deploy only one “large version” of its system each year by bringing real functional innovations – like Apple -, intermediate updates, called maintenance, essentially used to correct problems and improve stability. And considering the various flaws and shortcomings of the current Windows 11, one could consider 22H2 as the first truly finalized version of the new system.

Thus, in addition to the cumulative patches that it will integrate, the 22H2 version will bring many improvements as well as several functions and applications promised or unveiled bit by bit in recent months. Here is a small overview of the main new features.

  • File Explorer : Windows 11 Explorer will also evolve. Thus, the folder icons will be able to display a preview of their contents. Microsoft also promises better integration of OneDrive, its standard built-in online storage system. But we especially hope to see the Explorer get tabs, for easier navigation in a single window, as in all web browsers.
  • Start menu. Very decried in its first iteration, in particular because of its central location in the taskbar, the Windows 11 Start menu will give the possibility of creating folders to group applications. It will also offer a new setting to choose the number of pinned and recommended items.
  • Taskbar. Also much criticized, due to the fact that it has become unremovable, the Taskbar will evolve by allowing files to be dragged and dropped onto applications, as with Windows 10. It will also display a three-point menu allowing you to hide or to display additional applications, to avoid overflowing. We still don’t know if we can move it to place it elsewhere on the screen, as in Windows 10.
  • Quick Settings : The control area to the right of the taskbar will accommodate new options, in particular for controlling Bluetooth devices, which are increasingly numerous and varied.
  • Graphic style. Microsoft will continue the aesthetic modernization of its system by dressing many old modules in the style of Windows 11, with windows with rounded corners for example.
  • Window anchoring. The window docking (snap) function that appeared with the first version of Windows 11 will benefit from a new interface allowing you to create docking groups via a simple drag and drop at the top of the screen.
  • Task Manager. The essential Windows Task Manager will adopt a new, more modern interface, displaying other information.
  • Sharing nearby. Microsoft intends to improve and simplify file sharing between computers with Windows 11 located on a private local network, thanks to the Nearby Share function (Proximity Sharing), which additionally uses Bluetooth.
  • Windows security. The module that manages all of Windows 11’s security systems will be enriched with a new function, Smart Application Control (Smart App Control or SAC), capable of automatically blocking malicious or unapproved applications.
  • Ransomware protection. Windows 11 will integrate an automatic account lock function to prevent increasingly frequent ransomware attacks. A tool that will also be available for Windows 10.
  • Widgets. Income in the first version of Windows 11, widgets will improve further by opening up in particular to third-party publishers (non-Microsoft) to offer various functions in modules.
  • Power management. The power management system will be optimized to intelligently reduce PC power consumption. An advance that is part of Microsoft’s program to make Windows more respectful of the environment and energy resources.
  • Updates. In addition to Windows Update, it will be possible to uninstall updates from Windows 11 Settings.
  • Voice control. A new function will allow to control the PC with the voice.
  • Gesture control. Windows 11 will manage new gestures, especially for touchscreen tablets.
  • Focus assistant. The Concentration function, which avoids being disturbed by multiple notifications, will allow you to create personalized sessions.
© Microsoft
© Microsoft

In addition to this – non-exhaustive – list of improvements, Windows 11 will benefit from several modernized applications installed as standard – which many describe as “native”. Most have already been hinted at or featured in recent months, with some even appearing in various interim updates. Let us mention the Microsoft Store (the certified applications store), Notepad (Notepad), Media Player (new audio-video player), Clipchamp (video editing software), Sound Recorder (tape recorder) or Designer (graphic creation ).

© Microsoft
© Microsoft

Last but not least, Windows 11 22H2 will finally make it possible to run Android applications, opening up Windows and PCs to a whole new universe (see our article). This function, made possible by the integration of a virtual machine (via the “Windows subsystem for Android”), had been promised as soon as Windows 11 arrived in 2021, but it was only available later. , and only for the US market. This time, it’s official, she will be there in other countries, including France. Remember that this module is based on the Amazon Appstore, which is less extensive than the Google Play Store, and that it requires a machine powerful enough to operate smoothly. We will have to wait a few months to see what this function does in practice… See you in the fall to see what Windows 11 has become and if all of Microsoft’s promises are finally kept.