Windows 11

Windows 11 22H2: hands-on with new features in the Start menu

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Windows 11 22H2 isn’t a major release, but it comes with plenty of minor improvements, especially for features like Settings and Start Menu. While the Settings app gets the Microsoft accounts integration, the Start menu gets features that were removed in the original release.

In Windows 11, one of the biggest design overhauls is the Start menu. By default, the Start menu is now placed in the center of the taskbar. The operating system has been redesigned to put everything in the center of your screen, unlike the old days of Windows, when it was possible to move the taskbar up or left/right and everything was left-aligned by default.

The Windows 11 Start menu comes with simple icons. On the other hand, Windows 10 uses dynamic live tiles and allows users to group tiles together to further customize the Start menu. The new Start does not have an option to customize the layout as these features were removed with Windows 11.

Start menu gets folder support

If you’re coming from Windows 10 or even Windows 8, you’ll notice a big change in the Start menu.

When you open the Start menu on Windows 11, you will see icons instead of the live tiles. Unlike live tiles, which are used to display live and animated updates, such as the News and Weather apps, these icons are static and can represent what they are.

Start menu folders

With Windows 11 22H2, Microsoft is adding some much-needed features to Start. The first new addition is support for app folders, and they pretty much do what you’d expect: group apps to save space and organize Start.

Windows 11 22H2 Start Folders

You can create folders in the Start by dragging and dropping one app icon onto another. A folder is created and these folders are also named. For example, you can put apps like Amazon Prime and Netflix in a folder called “Entertainment”.

New layouts for Start

By default, the Start menu shows three rows of icons and recommended activities.

Windows 11 22H2 ships with two new Start layouts.

In version 22H2, you can choose between the “More Pins” or “More Recommendations” option to display an additional row of pins or recommendations.

New gestures for the Start menu

For tablet users, Microsoft is working on two new touch gestures:

  • Swipe to bring up and close Start: You can now swipe with four fingers from the center of the taskbar to open the Start menu. You can swipe back down to close it.
  • You can now swipe right to left from Pinned to get to All apps in the Start menu. You can also swipe from left to right to go back to Pinned.

It goes without saying that live tiles in the Start menu offer many ways to customize the experience. Unfortunately, live tiles never return to the OS as the company has given up tiles.

Windows 11 22H2 is expected to launch in October 2022 and Microsoft has confirmed Build 22621 as the RTM (feature-locked version) of the update.

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