Windows 11 users just got a huge free performance-enhancing upgrade

Windows' annual update will make your PC or tablet better –and it's available right now

Windows 11 2022 Update shown on a laptop on a white desk
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Some of the best laptops (and best tablets, too) are about to get a huge free upgrade. The Windows 11 2022 Update is rolling out now in over 190 countries, and it promises to deliver an even better and safer Windows experience.

If you're running Windows 11 version 21H2 it should automatically appear in your Windows Update when you refresh it; if not, Microsoft has a detailed guide on how to get it here (opens in new tab).

The improvements are in four key areas: the user experience; productivity features; creativity; and workplace management and security. For home users it's the first three that'll be the most interesting because there are lots of useful improvements here.

What's new in the Windows 11 2022 Update

There's an improved Start Menu with better widget options, a faster and more accurate search and the much-requested introduction of tabs in the File Explorer. And there are significant accessibility improvements too including system-wide live captions that'll auto-generate captions from any kind of audio content, as well as improvements to the voices in Narrator to make them more closely resemble natural speech.

The popular Snap layouts have been improved and the new Focus feature is a kind of upgraded Do Not Disturb that can eliminate interruptions while you get stuff done. There are also performance and battery optimisations that should eke more life out of your laptop or tablet.

There are also improvements to video and audio calling including new effects, background blur and background noise removal. as well as improvements for gamers and integration of Game Pass via the Xbox app. There's also support for around 20,000 Android apps via the Amazon App Store and a bundled app called Clipchamp for easy creation, editing and sharing of video.

These improvements, as well as the security improvements under the hood and Smart App Control to intelligently analyse new apps for security risks, should make your desktop, laptop or tablet even better – and they're rolling out right now. You'll find more information on the Official Microsoft Blog (opens in new tab).

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).