- Microsoft releases the Windows 11 22H2 feature drop (moment 2).
- The update brings AI for Taskbar and a new UI design for tablets.
- The update also rolls out updates for Phone Link, Snipping Tool, and more.
- You can download and install the update now, but it’ll roll out automatically in March.
Microsoft officially announced the second feature drop update (moment 2) for Windows 11 22H2. According to the company, the update brings a bunch of improvements, fixes, and some new features, including new AI features for the Taskbar. The rollout starts on February 28 and will be fully available as a cumulative update during the next Patch Tuesday update on March 14, 2023.
The new Windows 11 update doesn’t have an official name because it’s not a feature update and doesn’t require reinstallation, but the release will bump the version number to 22621.1344 and introduce various new features and improvements. For example, the update brings the new Bing AI with ChatGPT to the search box and several other enhancements for the Taskbar, Quick Settings, Widgets, and Voice Access.
This release introduces updated versions for many of the built-in apps, including Notepad, Snipping Tool, Quick Assist, Phone Link, and Windows 365 apps.
Also, as part of the touch improvements, Windows 11 now features a redesigned Taskbar that collapses and expands while in tablet mode.
Windows 11 22H2 new features coming in March 2023
Here’s a breakdown of what’s new in the latest feature drop update for Windows 11 22H2.
Taskbar search with Bing Chat
In this update, the Windows team is bringing the new Bing Chat to the search box in the Taskbar, giving you quick access to the chatbot service using natural language fro the desktop.
The chat experience hasn’t been modified to AI to search or interact with your files or settings. Instead, when typing a question, you will see the Chat button to complete the request with Bing.
Although this feature will be available to everyone, you will still need to sign up to get early access to the Bing Chat experience.
Taskbar Chat (Microsoft Teams)
According to the company, the Chat feature has been revamped to make it easier to preview your video, jump straight into a call, or share a call link through any app with other people.
Taskbar for tablets
This “moment 2” update also introduces a new Taskbar design for tablets that will automatically transition to tablet mode when disconnecting or folding the keyboard on a convertible device.
You have two modes with this new design. The “collapsed” mode hides all the icons except those essential ones from the system tray, giving you more space and preventing you from accidentally invoking the Taskbar when holding your tablet.
In the “expanded” mode, the Taskbar is optimized for touch with bigger icons. You can easily switch between the two states by swiping up and down on the bottom of your device.
The feature won’t be available on laptops or desktops.
Start menu (business)
If you use Windows 11 Pro connected to Azure Active Directory (AAD), the Start menu will now be abler to personalize the experience by surfacing content powered by AI.
File Explorer live search
This update also will bring the ability to show results as you type in File Explorer. The full search results page will update live without pressing the Enter key.
The Widgets board now expands for a full-screen mode experience. In addition, this update opens up the Widgets dashboard to third-party widgets, including Messenger, Spotify, Phone Link, and Game Pass.
Quick Settings with Windows Studio Effects settings
The “Quick Settings” flyout now includes access to the Windows Studio effects for devices with Neural Processing Unit (NPU) support. The features available for Studio Effects will depend on the hardware. However, they can include camera effects, such as Background Blur, Eye Contact, and automatic framing, and audio effects, such as Voice Focus.
Energy recommendations settings
The “Power & Battery” (or “Power”) settings page now includes “Energy Recommendations” with suggestions to configure features to save energy and lower your carbon footprint.
Voice Access and Braille
This update rolling out to everyone automatically in March 2023, also includes various improvements for the Voice Access and Braille features.
For example, this release delivers enhancements to Narrator that extend support for more Braille displays, which includes three new Designed for Surface displays from HumanWare.
It’s now possible to switch between Narrator and other screen readers while using your Braille display is a seamless experience to ensure people who are blind can easily use Windows.
Finally, the Windows team is bringing voice access functionality out of preview and delivering a more flexible and enhanced solution when using voice on Windows 11.
Microsoft is also revamping many of its apps, including the Phone Link app that now brings support to connect iPhone mobile devices directly to Windows 11. This means you can now receive and send iMessage text, emails, and other features without having to open your phone.
This feature is still under development, meaning you have to install the preview version of the app.
If you have an Android phone from Samsung, you can now enable the hotspot feature with a single click from within the Wi-Fi network list on your computer. Also, with the “Recent Websites” feature, you can transfer your browser sessions from your smartphone to your device.
The updated version of Notepad now features tabs that allow you to work with multiple text files through one window. The new tabs feature works exactly as in File Explorer. You can create and close tabs with dedicated buttons in the interface above the file menu. You can also duplicate and rearrange tabs using the mouse. And you can use keyboard shortcuts like “Ctrl + N” to create or “Ctrl + W” to close tabs.
In addition, Notepad also brings other improvements, such as automatically generating the file name and tab title based on content and a refreshed unsaved changes indicator. And in the settings, there’s a new “Opening files” option that allows you to choose where your files are opened, including in a new tab or new window.
In this new version of the Snipping Tool, you can now record the screen with the ability to pause while recording. However, the feature doesn’t allow sound recording.
The Quick Assist app doesn’t introduce new features. However, it makes it easier to find to start a remote desktop session since the update moves the “Quick Assist” feature out of the Windows Tools folder to display it directly in the Start menu’s “All apps” list and is easier to find.
Also, you will now find an option to start remote assistance from the “Troubleshoot” settings page.
If you use the Cloud PC service, you can install the Windows 365 app from the Microsoft Store to access your computers in the cloud from your desktop.
The feature drop (moment 2) is now available as a preview for users who want to update manually. Microsoft isn’t clear if the update is currently available in the Release Preview Channel only or through the Windows Update settings as an optional update through the stable channel. However, the update is expected to roll out to everyone starting March 14, 2023. The new version of the apps will become available through the Microsoft Store.
The changes outlined above are only the official improvements, the update also includes various other enhancements, you can check more details about this release in this guide.