The ultimate overview of recent Windows 11 changes
Microsoft released the first version of its Windows 11 operating system at the end of 2021. Development appeared to follow Windows 10's pace in the first year, but this changed with the release of the Windows 11 2022 Update, as it marked the launch of a new strategy to push features to stable Windows 11 devices multiple times of the year.
The strategic shift allowed Microsoft to release new features and smaller updates more often to the operating system, and to decouple these from larger Windows 11 feature update releases, which would continue to happen once every year.
For Windows users and administrators, the shift means that the operating system may get visible feature changes regularly. While that may be exciting to some, it also can impact workflows or introduce changes that users dislike. Keeping an overview of all these changes may also be difficult.
This overview's intention is to bring everyone up to the current status quo in regards to Windows 11 changes. Microsoft released three main updates to this date:
- Windows 11 2022 Update (September 2022)
- Windows 11 Moments Update 1 (October 2022)
- Windows 11 Moments Update 2 (March 2023)
The Windows 11 2022 Update
The Windows 11 2022 Update is the first feature update for Windows 11. The next feature update will be released at the end of 2023, likely around October 2023.
Microsoft introduced several changes in the update, including improvements to the operating system's new Snap Layouts feature, Focus Mode improvements, the new Variable Refresh Rate and improved windowed gaming features for gamers, several new or updated apps, and a new taskbar overflow feature.
Microsoft did remove the basic Task Manager interface, added support for a dark mode, and moved tabs from the top the left in the update.
Windows 11 Moments Update 1
Microsoft launched the first Moments Update for Windows 11 just a month after the Windows 11 2022 Update; the short period between the two releases may explain why many Windows 11 users were not blown away by the features that Microsoft introduced in the first feature update.
The first Moments Update introduced the long-awaited tabs support in File Explorer. While somewhat limited, it allows Windows 11 users to open multiple directories and locations in a single File Explorer window.
The update introduced support for additional features, including improvements to Suggested Actions, a feature to display direct actions when copying phone numbers or time/date, improved Amazon App Store access, and Share functionality.
Windows 11 Moments Update 2
Microsoft released a preview of the second Moments update for Windows 11 in February 2023 and plans to included it in today's cumulative update (the March 2023 update).
This update is considerably larger than the first Moments update. It includes major changes to Windows 11, including new search and taskbar experiences.
Other changes include voice access and scrolling improvements, extended braille support, a new touch-optimzed taskbar for 2-in-1 devices, a new Quick Assist app, and Energy Recommendations in Settings.
Windows 11: future updates
Microsoft confirmed that it will release another Moments update in the first half of 2023, and the next feature update for the operating system in the second half of 2023.
Features that Windows 11 users may see soon include tabs in Notepad, a recommended section in File Explorer for work or school accounts, parallax depth effects for background images, and a better volume mixer. Microsoft may also introduce better repair functionality, and maybe even ReFS support.
Microsoft was lucky people eventually started using windows 10, but they’re not having the same success with windows 11. Windows 11 is a joke, even more of a joke than Windows 8, in my opinion.
The numbers are only going up because of casual users “sleep-walking” into it, with things such as “upgrade” or buying new computer with it pre-installed.
It was clear after Windows 7 that Microsoft didn’t have any new groundbreaking features to create or add, but still wanted money, “focus mode”, “gaming mode”, “dark mode”, these are not real things that seriously matter.
I wouldn’t still be using Windows 7 if one of the later operating systems actually came out with enough amazing and compelling things to convince me to ditch 7, hasn’t happened yet.