According to some users, 2022 was not the best year for Microsoft’s desktop operating system. It took a while for Windows 11 to overtake the now-dead Windows 7, and the significantly higher hardware requirements certainly don’t help the OS speed up its rollout. Another obstacle is questionable feature changes (with even more questionable excuses from Microsoft) that make Windows 11 less attractive to those with qualified hardware. You can also add to that list Microsoft’s failed promise to deliver an update every year — no one knows when and how many updates Windows 11 will receive.
Still, it’s not all so grim. In this article, I want to mention five. Clear Features (in no particular order) Windows 11 received in 2022 They are not earth shattering by any means. Anyway, I don’t think Windows 11 (and even Windows 10) is missing anything major. Still, small features and changes make the operating system more productive, accessible, and enjoyable.
Note: I wouldn’t appreciate Microsoft restoring the features it took away during the transition period from Windows 10 to 11. No one should give credit to the software giant for removing and restoring with much fanfare the option to launch Task Manager with a right-click on the taskbar. Also, you won’t find a tabbed file explorer here because it’s useless, which is the subject of another rant-filled article.
Finally, the following list is purely subjective—don’t disagree with me and mention your favorite changes Microsoft introduced in 2022.
Changing the volume with the wheel on hover
I like the changes that allow working with fewer clicks. Windows 11 allows adjusting the volume with the scroll wheel while hovering the cursor over the volume indicator. There’s no need to open the quick settings menu anymore (Microsoft still doesn’t allow decoupling the volume from the network and battery indicators), which makes me, a very easily distracted person, a little Be more happy.
Here I should also note that the Twinkle Tray app that I mentioned in my recent “Top 11 Apps for Windows 11 Users” article offers the same feature for brightness management.
And yes, speaking of volume, nothing beats the redesigned volume/brightness flyouts. They are second to none.
Improved snap layout
Snap Layout itself is a great feature that takes window management on Windows to another level. This is especially useful on touchscreen devices, where dragging and arranging windows is a little less convenient. In 2022, Microsoft made it easier to use Snap Layout with the keyboard. You can press Win + Z And use numbers to quickly sort apps into the desired order.
Again, fewer clicks and faster performance results in better productivity, especially if your hands are tied to the keyboard.
While Windows 11’s taskbar has room for improvement, in 2022, it got some neat upgrades. The notification area got a fresh coat of paint with modern tooltips, fancy animations, and the option to remove the overflow menu entirely (a great customization tool if you like minimalistic).
In addition, Windows 11 now has a new tablet-optimized variant that collapses the taskbar into a smartphone-like status bar with only essential indicators and a clock, giving you more space for apps and their content.
Note: Taskbar upgrades are available in the stable version of Windows 11, but currently require the Vivetool app to be enabled as described in our dedicated guide.
Focus mode lets you set a timer to focus on a task. Windows 11 silences notifications during focus sessions and provides them in a summary after your timer expires. Focus mode is one of the underrated and less visible features that every Windows 11 user should be using.
In addition to Focus mode, Windows 11 now offers a separate Do Not Disturb mode with flexible rules and personalization. However, Focus mode is sometimes a better option as it lets you remove all distractions for a specific period of time with just two clicks. A real productivity-enhancing feature.
Although I don’t need accessibility features for my PC’s daily use, I want to mention three important features that Microsoft added to Windows 11 in 2022:
- Live captions throughout the system That works with any audio source on your computer.
- Voice access Lets you control the computer with your voice, just like you use it with a mouse (to some extent).
- Better narrator With natural sounds that sound less robotic.
It’s great to see Microsoft make its operating system easier to use for people with physical limitations, and I wish the company would continue to do that because you don’t have accessibility features in such complex products.
These are the five cool features that Microsoft added to Windows 11 in 2022. 2023 and the three feature updates it should reportedly bring to Windows 11 will deliver even more. Be sure to check out our recent “5 neat features coming soon to Windows 11” and its counterpart to explain the huge changes.