A new version of Windows 11 is due soon
The first big refresh of Windows 11 is due to land in ten days’ time and there are plenty of new features. Many are tiny tweaks, but some are standout new features, all of which add up to a significant update.
Here are five new features that I think make Windows 11 22H2 a seriously strong update.
Live Captions deliver a transcript of PC audio
Microsoft doesn’t get enough credit for the effort it puts into making Windows accessible to all and Live Captions carries on that good work. However, this is an accessibility feature that could also find a general audience.
Live Captions provides a transcript of any audio that’s playing on your computer. That could be a Netflix movie, a Zoom call or a podcast.
Even if you’re blessed with perfect hearing, that could be a great way to keep on top of a video meeting when you can’t listen in, or even sneakily keep across something at work. (Don’t blame me if you get fired.)
The Live Captions don’t require an internet connection nor the speaker volume to be up, so you could use them to ‘listen’ to something on a train when you don’t have your headphones with you.
Live Captions can be switched on by searching for the feature in the Windows start menu.
Modern computing life is an endless stream of distractions. Even while writing this article, I’ve got one eye on a Twitter feed and am being constantly pinged with Slack and email notifications.
There are times – such as when writing articles for world-famous websites – that you should give a job maximum focus, and Focus Sessions allow you to do just that.
Activated by clicking the clock in the bottom-right of the desktop, Focus Sessions switch on Do Not Disturb mode, as well as disabling notification badges on the Taskbar icons and preventing icons from flashing to alert you of a new update.
By default, it’s set to 30 minutes, which might be just enough time to let me get to the end of this piece without checking my inbox…
This is another hugely impressive accessibility feature. Voice Access lets you control the PC with voice alone, using ingenious methods to work your way around apps and settings.
I’m able bodied and have never used voice controls on a PC before, but I was able to navigate around Windows 11 with Voice Access pretty seamlessly, if not as quickly as I could with mouse/keyboard.
Voice Access uses different methods to let you work your way around. You can, for example, tell the computer to put a grid over the screen, with each sector given a number between 1 and 9. Each of those squares can then be further broken down into smaller squares until you’ve precisely targeted the icon or link that you want to ‘click’.
You can open specific apps by name, tell the PC to scroll up/down, to click or tap specific items on screen, to maximize or minimize …….