Release nears for tabbed File Explorer, taskbar updates in Windows 11 22H2

enlarge / Windows 11’s new taskbar overflow feature will handle things better when you have too many onscreen icons.


Last month, Microsoft released the Windows 11 2022 Update to the public. Also known as Windows 11 22H2, the update came with several fixes and user interface enhancements for the year-old OS. Microsoft also announced that more changes would follow in a second update in October, keeping with the company’s commitment to launching new features when they’re ready rather than tying them to any particular release window.

That October update is available for Windows 11 22H2 users in the Release Preview Insider channel, the last stop for new Windows updates before they make their way to the general public. Most significantly, it includes the long-awaited addition of tabs for File Explorer, a feature Microsoft has tested since Windows 10’s heyday. There’s also improved handling of overflow icons on the taskbar when you have too many apps open or pinned (or both) and expanded options in the “nearby sharing” menu that can use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to exchange files between PCs on the same network .

Windows will also attempt to make context-aware suggestions for copied text. This will happen “when you copy phone numbers or future dates [or when] we provide suggestions, such as make a call with Teams or Skype or add an event in the Calendar app,” according to the company’s blog post.

These updates will only be available to PCs with the Windows 11 2022 Update installed. They won’t be offered to PCs still running Windows 11 21H2, the initial public release of Windows 11.

As of October 4, Microsoft expanded the 22H2 update rollout to include any user with a compatible PC who manually checks Windows Update. The only exceptions are for specific devices with “safeguard holds” in place, compatibility blockers that could cause freezes, crashes, or other forms of instability under the new OS version. As of last week, an Intel audio driver issue is blocking Windows 11 22H2 installation on one of my systems, for example.

A PC with a
enlarge / A PC with a “safeguard hold” in place preventing installation of the Windows 11 2022 Update.

Andrew Cunningham

If a safeguard hold prevents your system from upgrading, you’ll see a message about it in Windows Update, along with a link to more information. As usual, some problems will need to be resolved by Microsoft and others by third-party hardware and software vendors, as happened when Nvidia updated its GeForce Experience software to resolve stuttering and other performance problems in Windows 11 22H2.

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