Here’s how Microsoft is rolling out its first major update to Windows 11

Technology

The Windows 11 2022 Update is officially here. Microsoft’s latest OS update includes app folders in the Start menu, drag and drop on the taskbar, new touch gestures and animations, and lots of accessibility improvements. You can find our full overview of all the new features right here.

Microsoft has moved to the “Windows 11 2022 Update” naming instead of the 22H2 update moniker it has been using for months. This new simplified naming comes as the software maker commits to continuing with annual updates to Windows 11, despite recent rumors. “We will still have an annual release that will be available one time per year, and it will be available in the second half of the year,” says Nicci Trovinger, senior director of Windows product marketing, in an interview with The Verge.

Microsoft plans to deliver new features to Windows 11 regularly throughout 2022 and beyond, and it’s calling this the “first major update” to Windows 11 after the company shipped Android apps, taskbar changes, and redesigned Notepad and Media Player apps earlier this year. Another update will arrive for Windows 11 next month that will include tabs for File Explorer, improvements to the Photos app, and even suggested actions when you copy phone numbers, dates, and more.

Like many significant Windows updates before it, the Windows 11 2022 Update won’t be available on all devices immediately. “The measured and phased rollout will offer the update via Windows Update when data shows that your device is ready, as our objective is to provide a quality update experience,” explains John Cable, VP of program management for Windows servicing and delivery at Microsoft. “We will initially ramp up the offering availability in the first weeks as we monitor quality signals. If we detect that your device may have an issue, such as an application incompatibility, we may put a safeguard hold in place and not offer the update until that issue is resolved.”

Alongside a number of new features and improvements, this update will significantly reduce the download size for these big Windows 11 feature updates. Microsoft estimates download sizes should drop by around 450MB for many Windows 11 users, and the installation time of monthly cumulative updates has also been improved.

Microsoft is also changing how it rolls out new features to commercial and education users of Windows 11, disabling new features introduced outside of annual updates by default. These users can instead manually enable these new features or wait until the yearly update (like today) when they’ll be switched on for them once they choose to deploy the update.

Disappointingly, Microsoft has decided to require internet connectivity during the initial device setup for Pro editions of the Windows 11 2022 Update. If you’re using a device for personal use, a Microsoft account will also be required for setup. We saw this with Windows 11 Home editions initially, and it will annoy many to see Microsoft now require this for Pro versions.

If your device is compatible and ready, you can grab the Windows 11 2022 Update directly from Windows Update by heading to Settings > Windows Update and checking for updates.