Throughout the lifecycle of Windows 10, Microsoft had committed to 2 major updates a year but it looks like Windows 11 will be moving to a 3-year release schedule. The change comes only a year after Microsoft announced the move to annual major updates, which had put them in the same update cadence as Apple and Google. While this means that 2023’s client release (nicknamed Sun Valley 3) has been cancelled, Microsoft is still going to release Windows 11 version 22H2 that was scheduled for the second half of 2022.
The longer development time between releases doesn’t mean the OS will be left to it’s own devices, instead Microsoft will use that time to roll out features through their new ‘Moments’ engineering effort. The introduction of the weather button on the Taskbar, earlier this year, is an early example of this system in action. Windows Insiders will be among the first to test out new features before they are officially rolled out to everyone else. According to Windows Central, “many of the features that were planned for the now-scrapped Sun Valley 3 client release will ship as part of one of these Moments on top of Sun Valley 2, instead of in a dedicated new release of the Windows client in the fall of 2023”. It must be noted that ‘Moments’ is a codename and not necessarily how Microsoft will label these feature updates externally.
The upcoming Windows 11 22H2 release is expected to ship with plenty of features, improvements and fixes. While this is not an exhaustive list, Windows Central has put together a list of some of the most notable changes to expect:
- App folders in Start menu
- Resizable pinned area in Start menu
- Drag and Drop on the Taskbar
- Focus Assist integration with Notification Center
- New “spotlight” wallpaper feature
- New Voice Access accessibility feature
- New Live Captions accessibility feature
- New gestures and animations for touch users
- New snap layouts bar when moving app windows
- New Task Manager app
- New “Suggested Actions” feature when copying dates/numbers
- Tabs in File Explorer
- Better OneDrive integration with File Explorer
- Numerous UI improvements and consistency updates
For a full breakdown of what you can expect, there is a comprehensive article on Tech Advisor, that highlights how these features are expected to work and how they have been received so far, pre-release.
We are excited to see how Windows 11 will be changing in the coming months and the effect that features and optimisations will have on the PC experience.