What you need to know about the latest Windows 11 update



CNN

Almost a year after Microsoft launched its flagship Windows 11, the tech giant has officially rolled out its first major update to the operating system.

The update, which is available for free to current Windows 11 users, was released in more than 190 countries on Tuesday. Many of the new features align with Microsoft’s vision for the future of hybrid work.

“We have formed new habits; and they stuck,” wrote Panos Panay, the EVP and chief product officer of Windows and Devices at Microsoft, in a blog post announcing the update. “Our work has never been done to make sure Windows evolves and adapts to you. .”

Panay, who said Windows 11 is the most widely used version of Windows in its history, explained how the latest update should make working remotely on the PC even easier and more secure. For example, a new tool called Smart App control uses AI to prevent malicious or untrusted apps from running on devices. Microsoft calls Windows 11 the most secure version of the operating system yet.

Other changes include improvements to the Snap Layout utility that allow people to optimize their display when they need to have multiple apps or documents in front of them at once. It also introduces a “Focus Sessions” and “Do Not Disturb” feature to minimize distractions that keep you away from the task at hand. When you start a new focus session, the Do Not Disturb feature is activated which mutes all notifications and disables taskbar badges.

The Start menu is also being revamped, including a faster and more accurate search and new ways to customize the menu. Tabs are now also available in the File Explorer, which Panay says has been the most frequently asked question by Windows users.

Meanwhile, a new tool called Windows Studio Effects helps improve video and audio conversations using AI technology that filters out background noises, such as lawnmowers and baby crying, and blurs background objects. It also subtly lifts a speaker’s eyes, making it appear as if they are looking directly into the camera during video calls.

Microsoft is also introducing some of its previously announced accessibility features, including system-wide live closed captioning that automatically generates closed captioning for any kind of audio content on Windows 11, and an update to Natural Voices for Narrator, which adds natural speech patterns and helps when reading documents or surfing the web. on the web.

Microsoft previously told CNN that many of its new inclusivity features were developed in part by Microsoft employees with disabilities.

The update is being offered through a “measured and phased rollout” approach, Microsoft said in a separate blog post. Users with eligible devices can easily get the update by opening “Windows Update” in their settings.