This week, Microsoft released the first big update for the Windows 11 operating system. It comes with an all-new set of features and enhancements to improve security, accessibility, productivity, and the overall user experience. The update has now been rolled out in over 190 countries and is available for you to download on your device.

The Windows 11 update, also known as the 22H2 update, has arrived as a result of the changes in the ways we live, work and learn, with the PC playing a more critical role than ever in our daily lives. From online meetings and shared documents to automation capabilities and modern forms of communication, people have adopted new digital habits that have stuck, and they all revolve around mobile devices, connectivity, and the cloud.

When Microsoft launched Windows 11 last year, it came with a modern refresh, foundational security, and multi-device access. This year, its first major update focuses on four key innovation areas – usability, productivity, connectivity, and security. Some of the new features include Start menu folders, improvements to snap layouts, live captions across the entire OS, better touch gestures, and new gaming features. There is something new for almost every Windows 11 user.

Let’s explore the new features

Usability enhancements

The intuitive design of Windows 11 is what so many people love. Microsoft has built on this foundation with new features that ensure information is always at your fingertips, improving accessibility and saving you time. Here are just a few of the features that will enhance usability for many:

Start Menu – You can drag and drop apps on top of each other on the Start menu to create folders and pin them freely. Microsoft has also added the ability to resize the pinned area so your Start menu can feel more complete.

Taskbar – The time and date have returned along with drag and drop. This simple change will make Windows 11 much more user-friendly, however, many users still miss the ability to customise the taskbar in terms of size, position, and grouping icons.

Live Captions – Automatically generate captions on any content that has audio. This feature will greatly benefit people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Live Captions is accessible using the Winkey + CTRL + L shortcut. Captions can float in a window or be displayed at the top or bottom of screen.

Productivity improvements

As most people in modern business use their PC every day to get things done, it’s essential that users can be organised and focused, with easy access to the digital tools and data they need. Let’s look at a few features Microsoft have released to improve productivity.

Focus sessions – Focus sessions automatically enable the do not disturb mode, preventing any notifications or taskbar badges from appearing. This feature can also sync up to the Windows Clock app and be used as a timer to help you focus and remind you to take breaks.

Snap Layouts – An existing feature of Windows 11, but with small tweaks in the update that make managing apps and windows much easier. As you move an app or folder around, a new snap bar now appears at the top that lets you quickly organise apps into Snap Layouts, with different grids and layout options to choose from.

Better ways to connect

The PC is used in more ways than ever before. From communication and collaboration to gaming and entertainment, people are turning to Windows for more than just work. As mentioned in the list below, the Windows 11 update has improved the user experience across all different apps.

Windows Studio – New camera and audio effects help you look and sound your best on calls – Voice Focus filters out background noise, Background Blur ensures only you are seen, Eye Contact helps you create a better connection with your audience, and Automatic Framing alters the camera angle as you move.

Clipchamp – A new inbox app used to make videos has been added to Windows 11. With many templates, features and effects, Clipchamp makes video editing simple and intuitive for every user.

Xbox – In windowed mode, there have been latency and performance improvements, as well as a new Xbox controller bar which allows you to easily navigate games with just your controller.

Added security, management, and flexibility

It’s essential for businesses to keep employees engaged and productive but in a secure and safe way. New improvements to Windows 11 give organisations the tools to manage endpoints securely and easily, regardless of where people are working. Here are some of the security features and management tools Microsoft has updated:

Microsoft Defender SmartScreen – To protect users against phishing attempts, Defender SmartScreen alerts users when they enter their Microsoft credentials into a malicious application or hacked website.

Windows Hello for Business – Devices equipped with presence sensors work with Windows Hello to securely log you in, and lock your device when you leave.

Smart App Control – This feature blocks untrusted apps, script files and other malicious software from running on Windows 11. This is a great solution for businesses that are not yet using a modern device management (MDM) tool like Microsoft Intune.

Continuous Innovation from Microsoft

We can expect to see more updates in the near future instead of waiting another year as Microsoft has embarked on a mission to make its updates more efficient and available for users. Panos Panay, Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer, said in February that the company was aiming to deliver “continuous innovation” and more frequent Windows 11 updates outside of the major annual release. This begins with the 2022 update.

Get Support from a Microsoft Gold Partner

Are you looking to update your devices to Windows 11 and don’t know where to begin? Or would you like to learn more about the new features?

The 848 Group is a Microsoft Gold Partner and Cloud-first IT partner to businesses across the UK. We have a team of Microsoft Certified experts with the skills and knowledge to help your business upgrade to the new Windows 11 update, and successfully adopt the new features in your business.

Get in touch with us today, and let’s get your business up to date.