When we reviewed Windows 11 last fall, one of our biggest concerns was that we would have to wait until fall 2022 to see any changes or improvements to its new, sometimes crude user interface:
Throughout the rest of this review, we’ll identify a significant list of early issues with Windows 11. We can probably expect the bugs to be fixed soon. But when it comes to bigger changes, like restoring lost taskbar and system tray functionality or continuing to modernize parts of the user interface that are still intact, should we wait a year for this to happen?
Any design that changes as much as Windows 11’s will benefit from a bunch of small, quick updates and tweaks to address the most common complaints and issues. I hope Microsoft gives itself the opportunity to make these kinds of changes without having to wait until next year to implement them.
Almost a year later, it has become very clear that Microsoft does not hold back changes and new applications for the annual OS feature update. A handful of notable additions were released in February, alongside a commitment to “continuous innovation”. Other smaller updates before and since (not to mention the continuously updated Microsoft Edge browser) also underscored Microsoft’s commitment to releasing new Windows features as soon as they are ready.
There has been speculation that Microsoft may be planning another major overhaul of the Windows update model, moving away from annual updates which would be replaced by once-a-quarter feature removals, allegedly called “Moments”. internally. These would be punctuated by larger Windows version updates every three years or so. As part of the PR around Windows 11 2022 Update (aka Windows 11 22H2), the company has made it clear that none of this is happening.
“Windows 11 will continue to have an annual feature update cadence, released in the second half of the calendar year that marks the start of the support lifecycle,” Microsoft Vice President John Cable wrote. “with 24 months of support for Home and Pro editions and 36 months of support for Enterprise and Education editions.” These updates will include their own new features and changes, as the 2022 update does, but you’ll also need to install the latest annual update to continue getting additional feature updates through Windows Update and the Microsoft Store .
As for the Windows 12 rumors, Microsoft simply told Ars that it had “no plans to share today.” This position leaves the company free to change its plans tomorrow or any day after. But we can safely say that a new numbered version of Windows will not arrive in the near future.
For small changes that aren’t delivered as part of an annual feature update or through a Microsoft Store update, Microsoft will use something called Controlled Feature Rollout (CFR) to test features with a subset. set of Windows users rather than providing them to everyone. once.
If you check Windows Update regularly (and sure, right?), you may sometimes see optional monthly preview updates that don’t install unless you manually trigger them; new features will first roll out to people who install these optional updates. The following month, when this update ceases to be a “preview” and becomes generally available, it will be released to all Windows 11 PCs (barring blocking bugs discovered during the preview phase). The optional October update preview, for example, will add tabs to Windows File Explorer, and then the non-optional November update will bring that feature to anyone who doesn’t have the Overview.
There’s also a small change coming for Microsoft’s enterprise and education customers, the risk-averse audiences who care more about keeping their systems patched and working than minor Start menu and toolbar tweaks. tasks. By default, new features in an annual update will be disabled for Enterprise and Education editions of Windows. Administrators can enable these changes manually through Group Policy or mobile device management software, if desired. But otherwise, the features will not be enabled by default until the Next the annual Windows update is shipped. Thus, features included in the 22H2 release of Windows 11 will not be enabled by default in Education or Enterprise editions of Windows until a hypothetical 23H2 update; 23H2 update features will be enabled by default in a hypothetical 24H2 update; etc
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