Windows 11’s first big refresh is due to land in ten days and there are plenty of new features. Many are small tweaks, but some are great new features, all adding up to a major update.
Here are five new features that I think make Windows 11 22H2 a very solid update.
Microsoft doesn’t get enough credit for its efforts to make Windows available to everyone, and Live Captions continues that good work. However, this is an accessibility feature that might also find a general audience.
Live Captions provides a transcription of any audio file playing on your computer. It could be a Netflix movie, a Zoom call, or a podcast.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have perfect hearing, this could be a great way to stay on top of a video meeting when you can’t listen, or even sneakily follow something at work. (Don’t blame me if you get fired.)
Live captions don’t require an internet connection or speaker volume, so you can use them to “listen” to something on a train when you don’t have your headphones with you.
Dynamic subtitles can be enabled by searching for the feature in the Windows Start menu.
Modern computing life is an endless stream of distractions. Even as I write this article, I have my eye on a Twitter feed and am constantly buggered with Slack and email notifications.
There are times – like when writing articles for world-renowned websites – when you need to focus on a job as hard as you can, and focus sessions allow you to do just that.
Activated by clicking the clock in the bottom right of the desktop, Focus Sessions enables Do Not Disturb mode, disables notification badges on taskbar icons, and stops icons from blinking to alert you of a new update. up to date.
By default, it’s set to 30 minutes, which might just be enough time for me to get to the end of this article without checking my inbox…
This is another extremely impressive accessibility feature. Voice Access lets you control the PC with voice alone, using ingenious methods to navigate apps and settings.
I’m able-bodied and have never used voice commands on a PC before, but I was able to navigate Windows 11 with Voice Access fairly seamlessly, if not as quickly as possible with mouse/keyboard.
Voice Access uses different methods to get you around. You can, for example, tell the computer to put a grid on the screen, with each sector numbered between 1 and 9. Each of these squares can then be broken down into smaller squares until you have precisely targeted the icon or link you want to “click”.
You can open specific apps by name, tell the PC to scroll up/down, click or tap specific items on the screen, maximize or minimize windows, and all sorts of different controls .
As with Live Captions, the accuracy is impressive – at least for this British male speaker.
Improved snap layouts
One of the best features of using Windows is Snap Layouts – the ability to snap an app into part of the screen and work with other apps. In the age of large, high-resolution displays, multitasking is a breeze.
Instant layouts are much improved in Windows 11 22H2. You can now drag a window to the top of the screen and the various Snap layouts will appear, meaning it takes no time at all to ping, say, a Word document from one side of the window. screen and your web browser on the other.
Alternatively, you can press Windows + Z in the active window and a small pop-up showing available Snap Layouts will appear. Select the desired number by pressing the appropriate number key and the window is docked in place.
These two methods combine to make Snap Layouts easier to access and that’s a very good thing.
Energy saving settings
Not before time, Microsoft is making Windows 11 screen and sleep settings more aggressive.
When on battery power, the screen now turns off and goes into sleep mode after just three minutes of inactivity. Previously, it took five minutes to turn off the screen and 15 to fall asleep.
When plugged into the mains, the screen turns off and sleep mode activates after five minutes, huge savings on the previous ten and 30 minutes respectively.
These defaults can be changed if you find them irritating and abrupt, but most people won’t. And with Windows 11 now installed on tens, if not hundreds of millions of PCs, the combined power savings will be significant.
When can I get the new Windows 11?
Windows 11 22H2 arrives on September 20, although Microsoft normally staggers major releases and the update isn’t offered to you right away.