What’s New with Desktop Interface on Windows 11 2022 Update | Windows Central

Alongside the new features, the first major update of Windows 11 (version 22H2) (opens in a new tab) includes a long list of tweaks and improvements for the desktop experience.

In this release you will find design changes for legacy items, new visuals for hardware indicators and other parts of the operating system to match the design language of Windows 11 (opens in a new tab).

Also, Windows 11 2022 Update introduces a new way to snap apps with a new Snap layout interface that drops from the top of the screen. The taskbar supports “drag and drop” to open files and pin apps. Quick Settings and Notification Center have received various improvements, and the Start Menu introduces support for Folders and Settings to control recommended items in the menu.

This guide will take a close look at the desktop improvements that Microsoft is introducing with the Windows 11 2022 Update.

Windows 11 2022 Update desktop changes

Although the desktop may look the same as before, the 22H2 version adds several improvements.

Legacy elements with modern style

Windows 11 brings the mica material to legacy elements to make the experience more consistent.

After upgrading to 22H2 (opens in a new tab)you’ll notice that title bars (like that of the Run and Open dialog boxes and Control Panel pages) now also have a semi-transparent style that shines through the desktop background colors like the rest experience, including File Explorer.

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Updating Hardware Indicators

After many years, the 2022 update finally updates system hardware indicators (such as volume, camera settings, and airplane mode) to match the new design style.

For example, after upgrading to this version, you will see a new volume indicator that appears in the center of the screen above the taskbar, which is more consistent with the rest of the desktop.

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While this is a subtle change, it’s important for consistency since the original version of Windows 11 still uses the interface the company designed for Windows 8.

Snap Support Update

As part of the desktop changes, you’ll also find improvements for Snap support. In this release, you can snap apps by dragging a window to the top edge of the screen to reveal the new Snap layouts drop-down menu, where you can drop the app and continue with the wizard to complete the layout .

Instant Layouts drop-down list

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On apps, when calling Snap layouts from the Maximize button using the “Windows key + Z” keyboard shortcut, the layouts menu will now appear with numbers to quickly select the layout using the numeric keypad.

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Additionally, the Snap Assistant will now show the three most recent Microsoft Edge tabs as snap suggestions in the layout.

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And when resizing the layout, apps that are out of focus will show their icon in the center of the interface.

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When hovering over an app belonging to a Snap group, the preview also shows part of the desktop background to make the group easier to understand. Additionally, Snap Groups will also appear in the Alt+Tab interface and Task View.

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Additionally, this release updated the snap animation to improve the overall experience from one snap window state to another. You’ll also notice the rotation is more responsive when rotating a tablet or convertible between portrait and landscape.

You can take a closer look at the changes to Snap support in this guide.

Taskbar improvements

On the desktop of version 22H2, you will find various improvements for the taskbar.

In this feature update, you will once again be able to drag and drop files and apps. Similar to previous versions, you can now drag a file on top of a running application to bring it to the front and drop the file to open it.

Drag and drop files to the taskbar

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Additionally, it is now possible to drag and drop apps from the “All apps” list to pin them to the taskbar.

By using the “Windows key + K” keyboard shortcut to cast content to another device, the “Cast” icon will now appear in the system tray to indicate that the device is casting.

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The battery charge icon has also been updated to include a lightning bolt icon instead of a power cable. Additionally, the tooltip will now display the estimated battery life when hovering over the battery icon.

battery light bolt

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Additionally, the volume icon tooltip now displays when using Spatial Sound, and when scrolling up and down with the mouse wheel over the icon, you can now change the volume level.

When you right-click on the Start button, you will find some changes. For example, the “Apps and Features” entry has been renamed “Installed Applications” and the “Windows Terminal” entry is now called “Terminal”. Additionally, the Windows PowerShell entry will appear if the console is not present.

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Quick settings improvements

The Quick Settings and Notification Center drop-down menus have also received some improvements.

As part of the changes to Quick Settings, if the computer has multiple color profiles, you will now find an option to switch between profiles. The “Keyboard layout” option is no longer available via this flyout, and the Bluetooth now opens a new page where you can see your paired devices and options to connect or disconnect.

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Notification Center improvements

In the original version of Windows 11, Microsoft introduced a redesigned interface for notifications with mica material, rounded corners, and various improvements. However, it looks like the company forgot to add some of these improvements to toast notifications. In 22H2, the toast notification background has been updated to include the semi-transparent styling effect to match the rest of the design.

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Additionally, the Windows Hello notification setup animation has been updated.

Under the notification system, “Focus assist” becomes “Do not disturb” and the feature has a new bell icon in the upper right corner of the dashboard.

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The Calendar section includes a new focus option that lets you start a focus session with the Clock app to help you stay focused on a specific task.

When you start a new tune-up session, the app badges and flashing alert will be disabled, the tune-up timer will appear on screen, and notifications will turn off.

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Keyboard layout improvements

Additionally, the “Keyboard Layout” drop-down menu has been updated to include an acrylic background and improve overall performance.

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The taskbar, quick settings, notification center, and keyboard layout have even more improvements. You can learn more in this guide.

Task View and Alt+Tab interfaces

In this new version of Windows 11, the Task View acrylic background will extend to all screens in a multi-monitor setup.

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Also “Alt + Tab” The interface now displays applications in a windowed frame rather than full screen.

Start menu changes

The Start menu can also be considered part of the desktop experience, and in this release it gets some visual and functional improvements, including folders and new layouts for organizing item recommendations.

You can now create folders to organize your Pins, starting with Windows 11 2022 Update. You can do this by dragging an app on top of another app to create a folder, and you can keep adding as many items as you want. You can also rearrange the icons and rename the folder.

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The recommendations section of the Start menu offers suggestions for recovering recently opened files and installed applications. As part of this feature update, you can now decide the number of recommendations in this area.

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The new options are available through the startup settings page, under the “Layout” section. The “More Pins” option displays a single row of recommendations. “Default” keeps the original layout with three rows of pins and three rows of recommendations. And “More Recommendations” displays four rows of recommended items and two rows of pins.

The Start menu includes other settings, which you can review in this guide.

Context menu improvements

You will now find the modern context menu by right-clicking the trash can under the contextual enhancements.

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Across the experience, the legacy context menu now includes more padding around items, and the selection now uses a light or dark color scheme depending on the system color.

Additionally, when you right-click on a file, you will now find new icons for Rename, Properties, Optimization Options, and New Folder to make them more consistent.

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Additionally, you can use the “Shift + right click” keyboard shortcut to open the classic context menu in fewer clicks.

More resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common Windows 10 and Windows 11 questions, visit the following resources: