What to know about the latest Windows 11 update

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

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

Panay, who said that Windows 11 is the most used version of Windows in its history, explained that the latest update aims to make remote work on the computer even easier and more secure. For example, a new tool called Smart App control uses AI to block 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 program, which helps people optimize their view when they need to have multiple apps or documents at once. It’s also introducing “Focus Sessions” and a “Do Not Disturb” feature to help minimize distractions that take you away from the task at hand. When you start a new Focus session, it will turn on Do Not Disturb, which silences all notifications and turns off taskbar badges.

The Start menu is also getting a refresh, including a faster and more accurate search function and new ways to customize the menu. Tabs are also available in File Explorer, which Panay said was the most requested feature from Windows users.

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

Microsoft is also rolling out a number of previously announced accessibility features, including system-wide Live Captions that automatically create subtitles for audio content in Windows 11, and an update to Natural Voices for Narrator that better reflects natural speech patterns . it helps to read documents or surf 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,” Microsoft said in a separate blog post. Users with the right devices can get the update simply by opening “Windows Update” in their settings.