At the hybrid Microsoft event yesterday, there was a lot of talk about Windows 11 features that we already know about thanks to Windows Insider, but that doesn’t mean there were no announcements of new features at the event. If you’ve paid close attention, a few new features have been released that we haven’t seen before, and some features that we’ve seen but haven’t officially tested yet.
In any case, we thought it would be a good idea to put together all the new features that we noticed, were shown or talked about during the event and the three session sessions. Microsoft is not saying whether these features will be ready in time for the next major feature update, known as version 22H2, or whether they will appear sooner or later. It is also unclear when these features will appear for insiders to begin testing.
Tabs in File Explorer
Source: Windows Central
This is perhaps the biggest new feature announced by Microsoft yesterday. It finally brings a tabbed interface to the File Explorer application that allows users to open multiple folders and directories in a single application window, just like in a web browser. It’s time to be one of the most popular features from Windows insiders since the launch of Windows Insider in 2014.
Other platforms have had tabs in their respective file managers for years, so Microsoft is definitely playing into this area. However, better late than never. Tabs in File Explorer have already appeared in several builds of Windows Insider (though unofficially) in a rather unfinished state. Hopefully in the coming months we will see that this feature will be a full-fledged experience with tabs.
Microsoft has also demonstrated an updated “home” experience with a slightly redesigned interface. We already have an updated house layout in Insider, but the changed UI design is not yet in public builds. It’s subtle, but the version of File Explorer shown at the event seems to be more in line with the rest of the Windows 11 design language, so hopefully we’ll soon learn more about this interface update for File Explorer.
Contextual features of IQ
Microsoft also announced plans to introduce smarter contextual features and behaviors in Windows 11 in the coming months. want to share specific files to reduce the number of clicks and time spent trying to generalize the specified file.
The company has indeed stated that it intends to implement these contextual improvements in other areas of the OS, and we already know that a feature called “Suggested Actions” is under development that will provide quick action for common tasks such as creating events in the Calendar app or adding a contact to your contact list when selecting certain types of text and data.
Improved widget panel
It was very short, but Microsoft once again demonstrated a full-screen version of the widget panel, a feature that was announced back in June 2021, but has not yet been delivered even in preview. In addition, Microsoft has also demonstrated the ability to log in to the widget panel with both personal and work accounts, which is currently not possible in Windows 11.
We know that Microsoft plans to open a widget panel for developers at some point, although this was not announced at the event yesterday. We may see that Microsoft will talk in more detail about the extensibility of the widget panel on build 2022, which has just been announced to take place on May 24-26. While we are still waiting for the arrival of the full screen widget panel.
Video call improvements
Microsoft has spent a lot of time talking about hybrid work and how it creates Windows 11 to help improve hybrid work meetings with voice call script enhancements thanks to new and improved camera and microphone effects running on special neural processing units available. in compatible PCs with Windows.
Announced camera and microphone effects include background blur, auto cropping, noise reduction, voice clarity and eye contact. Some of these features are already available in your favorite video calling programs, but Microsoft is embedding these effects in Windows 11, which means they’ll work in any application that uses your camera as long as you have a neural processor in your PC.
So far, Microsoft is advertising the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s as one of the first devices with a built-in neural processor, which means it supports all of these new camera effects that will be coming soon. They should work in Teams, Slack or any other program that uses your camera.
A big new feature announced for companies deploying Windows PCs to their employees comes in the form of “Organizational Messages,” which will allow IT administrators to deploy alerts directly to employees through Windows. These alerts can appear as pop-ups above the taskbar, via a notification in the action center, or directly on the lock screen. IT administrators will be able to send these alerts to employees using the Endpoint Manager, provided that your organization uses a customized Azure Active Directory.
Integration with cloud PC
Finally, Microsoft has announced several new features for commercial customers that it plans to deliver “in the future”. All of these features are designed to better integrate Windows 11 Local Desktop with the cloud PC offered by Windows 365. At the moment, Windows 365 is a service you can really only access through a web browser, but Microsoft wants to turn Windows 365 into a feature Windows 11.
Here are the announced features of cloud integration:
- Loading windows 365A: Allows you to log in directly to your cloud PC and mark it as the main Windows experience on your device.
- Windows 365 offlineA: Allows you to run Windows 365 even when turned off, and when you restore the Internet your cloud PC automatically re-syncs with the service without losing data, so the user experience and workflow will be constant.
- 365 windows switch: Allows you to navigate between the cloud PC and the local desktop, as well as between windows in the task switch, using the same familiar keyboard, mouse or gesture commands.
- Windows 365 program: Gives another way to go to my cloud PC from the taskbar or the Start menu. All with a desktop to my cloud PC that provides a personalized, personalized welcome experience to customize my settings, profile and work style.
Microsoft has singled out these features as the “future” of the Windows desktop for commercial customers, which means these features are not far off. Microsoft is committed to supplying them, but it may take some time before they start appearing in the product.
Desktop application folders?
Finally, I would like to point out what Microsoft has not done in particular announce but was spotted against the backdrop of another demo. One of the session sessions is a short demo on the taskbar that shows what looks like an application folder on the desktop. In the upper left corner you can see a square thumbnail with four social network icons called “social networks”.
To me, this looks like an application folder that Windows 11 does not currently support on the desktop. You can create application folders in the Start menu, but not on the desktop. Hopefully this wasn’t just a concept and we’ll actually see it appear as an official feature soon.