Hot on the heels of the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2), Microsoft is now providing its first new group of additional features to the operating system. This includes a tabbed File Explorer, an overflow area of the Taskbar, Suggested Actions, and more — and you can download them today. It’s the start of a new era of Windows updates, where fresh features can come down the pipe at any time, rather than restricted to major annual updates alone.
Microsoft tipped its hand in September, announcing the new Windows 11 “experiences” would be made available this month. If you’re in no hurry quite yet, they’ll be pushed to your PC beginning of November. The company also said that the first feature update for Windows 10, the very limited Windows 10 2022 Update, will also be released today as well.
If you’d like to download the new features, go to the Windows 11 Settings menu, then to Windows Update. Download any of the available updates, especially the cumulative one. The company didn’t explicitly identify which update provides the new features, but it won’t be a feature update. (Edit: Microsoft has confirmed that the update which enables the new features is a Cumulative Update for Windows 11 22H2 for X64-based Systems, or KB5019509.)
If this all feels a bit overwhelming, well, you’re right. Microsoft’s plan for Windows 11 is to return to a single major feature release per year, but to add additional features pretty much whenever it feels like it. Consider this to be a “makeup” release, including all of the features that should have been included in the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2), but missed the deadline for whatever reason.
Our previous story dives a little deeper into what to expect of these new features, but here are the basics:
- The tabbed File Explorer interface
- An updated Photos application (due at the end of October)
- “Suggested Actions” in the Windows Shell
- An overflow menu for the Taskbar
- An improved Nearby Share / Windows Share experience
Microsoft also said that the Amazon Appstore experience within Windows 11 now features 50,000 apps, a dramatic expansion from the handful of apps available at launch. Remember, these aren’t Windows ones, but run under Windows 11’s new capability to run Android apps. Some of those apps will include Project Makeover, Evony: The King’s Return, Coin Master, Kindle, Audible, FlipaClip, Lutron and others. Microsoft is also announcing a new ESPN app, which is now available essentially worldwide.
As for Windows 10’s new update, Microsoft is keeping mum. “Windows 10, version 22H2 will have a limited set of features focused on productivity and management,” Microsoft said. You’ll be able to download the new release via Windows Update as well.
Updated at 11:49 AM to add additional details.