Should you suppose you perceive Microsoft’s technique for Home windows characteristic updates, it is time for a reset. With Home windows 10, Microsoft experimented with characteristic updates in the course of the chaotic first 12 months or two, even specifying a advertising and marketing identify for every main characteristic launch: Anniversary Replace, Creators Replace, and so forth. Finally, they settled on a predictable schedule for characteristic updates, with main releases each six months, usually in March/April and September/October.
These characteristic updates had been designed to be delivered by way of Home windows Replace and are, for all intents and functions, full Home windows model upgrades.
Microsoft dialed again that schedule with the launch of Home windows 11, committing to delivering these sometimes-disruptive characteristic updates solely as soon as yearly within the second half of the 12 months. (That call was retroactively utilized to Home windows 10 as nicely.)
Cheap folks would have assumed that the change in schedule meant Microsoft was dedicated to not providing any new options exterior of these annual end-of-year characteristic updates. LOL, as children wish to say.
Home windows boss Panos Panay dismissed the laundry record of “new experiences” (that’s, Microsoft-speak for options) in a prolonged weblog submit in late February.
Lots of these modifications will arrive this week as a part of the March Patch Tuesday replace. For what would have beforehand been a semi-annual characteristic replace, it is nicely timed. It additionally raises a bunch of questions, beginning with the apparent.
The brand new options rolling out within the March Replace had been previewed within the February 2022 non-security replace (the 2022-02 Cumulative Replace for Home windows 11 for x64-based programs). [KB5010414]) different new options will come from the Microsoft Retailer within the type of app updates and thru what Microsoft refers to as “servicing”.
That may sound like sufficient to qualify as a characteristic replace, however there’s an necessary distinction. This replace checks in at a comparatively gentle 230MB on x64 programs. That is about one-tenth the scale of Home windows 10 characteristic updates it used to see.
The primary official Home windows 11 characteristic replace is due in late 2022.
The brand new characteristic Microsoft selected to focus on is the Home windows Subsystem for Android, which permits Home windows 11 customers to obtain and set up a “curated” (that means small) choice of Android apps from the Amazon Appstore. This characteristic is not put in routinely, and would not require the most recent Home windows 11 cumulative replace—extra on that in a minute.
One other bunch of recent options are centered on the Home windows 11 taskbar. There’s now a climate icon on the left aspect of the taskbar (the place the Home windows 10 Begin button was), which exhibits the present temperature and a quick forecast. Clicking on that icon opens the Widgets pane. If you don’t need certainly one of these, you may conceal the climate icon by turning off the Widgets choice within the taskbar settings.
Home windows 11 now shows a clock on the second show on multi-monitor setups. Some Home windows watchers would possibly argue that this is not a brand new characteristic however a bug repair, and it is exhausting to argue with.
For audio calls utilizing Microsoft Groups with a piece or college account, the microphone button on the taskbar now lets you mute and unmute your audio with a single click on. Equally, buttons on the backside of every app window mean you can share that window (and solely that window) with the present workforce name.
Two “redesigned” apps with very acquainted names, Media Participant and Notepad, are additionally out there.
Microsoft has a wealthy historical past of including complicated names to new merchandise, however they’ve actually outdone themselves this time round.
In case you are operating Home windows 11, quickly you can find that Microsoft Retailer has routinely put in a brand new app referred to as Media Participant in your PC. This app is, in actual fact, a alternative for the ill-fated Groove Music, which in flip was adopted by the much more ill-fated Zune Music, which…
Effectively, you get the concept.
Anyway, the very best a part of the story is that the completely historic Home windows Media Participant program (Wmplayer.exe) nonetheless exists on Home windows 11, with its Home windows Vista-era theme intact. It nonetheless lets you rip CDs and may nonetheless sync along with your 20 12 months outdated MP3 participant for those who insist.
In the meantime, the brand new media participant is a rebranded model of the Groove Music app that is simply as handsome as its predecessor and equally irrelevant to any music fan who would not personal a 20-year-old MP3 participant.
Should you had been on the lookout for Anodine to take advantage of out of all of the Home windows utilities, then the extraordinarily fundamental Notepad textual content editor would positively be on the record of finalists. After being ignored for years, it was lastly refreshed in Home windows 11.
One of many largest modifications to the brand new Notepad is that it is a so-called fashionable app, which is put in and serviced via the Microsoft Retailer. Past that, the record of recent and altered options is fairly slim:
It now helps the darkish theme, so you do not have to take care of blinding white backgrounds when enhancing a textual content doc in a darkish room.
Multi-level undo (Ctrl+Z) is supported, in addition to a redo characteristic that is not on the menu however works with the Home windows-standard Ctrl+Y shortcut.
The menu has been simplified a bit.
It actually would not have a lot in the best way of recent options, and most of the people who need a full-featured textual content editor will go for a third-party app like Notepad++ or Atom. Greater than something, Home windows Notepad App Replace tells much less concerning the app itself and extra about how the Retailer is focusing its growth assets on apps relatively than conventional Win32 applications.
I checked out Home windows Subsystem for Android final month and located it benevolent, overwhelmed. Limiting the choice of apps within the Amazon Appstore means that only a few apps provide any significant worth on a full-size, touch-enabled Home windows laptop computer. One exception is Amazon’s personal Kindle app operating on Floor tablets just like the Floor Professional X or the smaller Floor Go 3.
Additionally bear in mind that the Android subsystem calls for some heavy assets. For full particulars, together with set up directions, learn “Android on Home windows 11: Is it well worth the effort?” See.
Microsoft has already adopted Android on its cellular gadgets, together with the Floor Duo and Floor Duo 2. They’ve additionally partnered with Samsung on some Android-specific integrations.
However integrating Google’s Retailer into the Home windows platform might be a bridge too far for Microsoft, which is not eager on the prospect of permitting Google to place its hooks into Home windows. Whereas the Home windows Subsystem for Android is unlikely to be a sudden hit, these conversations might get heated. However do not maintain your breath.
off track not.
Should you learn the help doc asserting the modifications on this launch of Home windows 11, you may see a number of references to “Web Explorer Mode,” which features a new characteristic: cookies between Microsoft Edge Web Explorer Mode and Microsoft Edge sharing skill. This characteristic permits Home windows 10 customers to open older websites that had been initially written for Web Explorer in sandboxed Microsoft Edge tabs that help older options (akin to ActiveX controls and browser helper objects) that at the moment are out there in Edge. will not be supported. This characteristic is an enormous deal for enterprise clients who’ve legacy line-of-business apps, nevertheless it’s not one thing that is probably for use by customers and small companies.
Any modifications to the Home windows shell are particular to Home windows 11, so do not anticipate to see them on older OSes. Equally, Home windows Subsystem for Android is a Home windows 11-only characteristic. To run Android apps on Home windows 10, you will want a 3rd celebration resolution like BlueStacks.
The brand new media participant can also be MIA for Home windows 10. Curiously, its itemizing within the Home windows 11 Retailer exhibits the outdated identify, Groove Music, with the up to date model numbering 11. The identical app’s itemizing shows as model 10 on Home windows 10. Other than the identify, it’s tough to acknowledge any actual distinction.
As for the brand new Home windows Notepad, no, you can not set up it on present variations of Home windows 10. Its retailer itemizing notes that the minimal necessities for this product embody Home windows 10 model 19541 or later. That model is presently solely out there as an inside preview. Examine once more on the finish of the 12 months, after Home windows 10 22H2 is launched.
right. In that February weblog submit, Pana says that the corporate plans to launch new options extra regularly.
As right this moment’s launch exhibits, we in Home windows 11 are dedicated to delivering experiences that enrich and encourage folks’s lives. Over time, you may discover that we launch new options in Home windows 11 extra regularly to finish customers along with our annual updates. We’ll reap the benefits of the number of replace mechanisms we have now in place, together with servicing and Microsoft Retailer updates. Our purpose is to supply steady innovation, offering you with the very best experiences year-round.
The excellent news is that main disruptive characteristic updates, which might take half-hour or extra to put in, will solely come yearly. And with a 24-month help window for Home windows Dwelling and Professional editions, you may even swap to an each different 12 months schedule for the PCs you handle.
However in order for you a Home windows model whose characteristic set is frozen and will not change from month to month, you would possibly wish to keep on with Home windows 10 for now.