Windows 11 22H2 review: Subtle upgrades, but not where they’re needed – PCWorld

At a glance

Expert’s Rating


  • Free upgrade
  • Solid accessibility improvements
  • Clipchamp video editor is excellent


  • Tabbed File Explorer isn’t here yet
  • Voice Access doesn’t work
  • Drag-and-drop Taskbar functions appear absent

Our Verdict

Microsoft steps boldly forward in improving Windows 11 for accessibility, but more tentatively when it comes to the features Windows users use most frequently.

Best Prices Today: Windows 11 22H2

Rating Windows 11’s latest feature update, dubbed “Windows 11 22H2,” means acknowledging that many of its most useful features are somewhat hidden, and require some effort to unearth. Dig in and you’ll be rewarded, but most of 22H2’s more obvious new features won’t blow you away when the update starts rolling out worldwide sometime in the coming months.

Windows 11 22H2 is not a return to the glory days of Windows 10. Then, splashy product launches heralded new, important additions to the operating system, like Disney teasing new Marvel characters into its cinematic universe. Windows 11 22H2 takes a subtler approach, updating the File Explorer, and adding a new Snap Layouts bar, Start menu folders, Live Captions, Voice Access, and more.

Part of this has to do with how Microsoft is rolling out updates to Windows. Remember, there was really no Windows 11 22H1, which Microsoft debuted alongside a pledge to provide “continuous innovation” — new features now aren’t necessarily tied to any one release now. One of 22H2’s friendliest additions, Windows Spotlight, actually launched as an 22H2 preview feature in December 2021, then was added to the Windows 11 stable channel earlier this year. (Yes, you should have it.) Microsoft’s new video editor, Clipchamp, is moving from a Store app to a native Windows app, and it’s excellent.

Microsoft also left out other key features that we’ve expected: a tabbed File Explorer, for one, and the ability to launch apps by dropping related files on the Taskbar.

At least so far. We crafted this review using Windows 11 Release Preview build 22621.317 — a version of the “final” build that’s been released for testing, but one which Microsoft can add to or tweak in terms of fixing bugs. It took about 39 minutes to install from a “clean” ISO file on one of our test PCs. We’ll also update this review if there are material changes, such as Microsoft adding back features that it excluded. Windows 11 22H2 is expected to finish testing and roll out to PCs worldwide starting in September or October.

Basic everyday “improvements” to Start, File Explorer, and Snap

Microsoft has made two small changes to your basic Windows experience: the ability to add small folders to the Start menu, and some visual and functional tweaks to File Explorer.

Adding folders to Start essentially allows you to group related apps, along with a name — useful, true, but on a very minor scale. You’ll still likely prefer the various options to resize and arrange folders as Live Tiles in Windows 10 instead, and the grouped icons within the new folders are just plain tiny (as they are in Windows 10, to be fair.) No, you still can’…….


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