No more waiting

Windows 11 to receive new features regularly outside of major releases

Microsoft plans to rollout new features outside of major releases of Windows 11.

Windows 11 regular new features
  • Microsoft will release new features outside major releases of Windows 11.
  • Windows 11 is getting today support for Android apps, and new Notepad and Media Player apps.

Microsoft says that moving forward, Windows 11 will receive new features as soon as they are ready. The company announced the move at the Windows Experience Blog in the post, where it also revealed that the support for Android apps, Taskbar improvements, and the newly redesigned apps, including the Notepad and Media Player apps are now available to everyone in the supported territories.

This is a significant transition for the company to the mechanism it has been using to deliver new features. Until now, new features and important changes have been packaged and delivered as feature updates every year. However, as soon as they graduate from the Beta and Dev Channels, the Windows team will drop them in regular updates without the need for reinstallation or waiting for the next major release.

In the official announcement, Microsoft’s head of Windows and Devices, Panos Panay, explains: “Over time, you’ll see us release new features into Windows 11 for end-users more frequently in addition to our annual update. We will leverage the variety of update mechanisms we have in place, including servicing and Microsoft Store updates. Our goal is to deliver continuous innovation, providing you with the best experiences year-round.”

Although this is a big announcement, it’s not surprising. Microsoft has been working to make Windows a more modular operating system for a long time, and we have already seen various features arriving outside of the major release schedule. Some of these features include the new 2D emoji system, changes to the Settings app, and improvements for the Taskbar and the Windows Subsystem for Android to run Android apps on Windows 11.

In addition to feature drops every now and then, Microsoft will continue to release new versions of Windows 11 every year, like the one scheduled for the second haft of 2022 (codenamed “Sun Valley 2” or version 22H2). These releases will also include new features and more under the hood enhancements that will require system reinstallation.

The February 2022 update will download and install automatically. However, you can check for updates in the Settings app to get the Taskbar and improvements. If you want to get the new Media Player and Notepad apps, open the Microsoft Store app and check for updates in the “Library” section. Finally, to run Android apps on Windows 11, you will need to install the Windows Subsystem for Android and the Amazon Appstore from the Microsoft Store.