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Microsoft releases major Windows 11 update to make PCs greener and more productive

·2-min read
 (Microsoft)
(Microsoft)

Microsoft has updated Windows 11 with new features to make it easier to use.

The software giant had originally shown off some of these features during the launch of the new operating system in October 2021, but clarified that many would not be available until later.

This latest batch of features, called the Windows 11 2022 Update, makes the search menu in the new taskbar more accurate, brings Start menu folders, and adds Snap layouts – a feature that makes it easier to have two apps open side-by-side and switch between them.

When a user moves an app or a folder around, a new snap bar appears at the top of the screen that lets users put that app into a split-screen or grid layout. Users can have multiple apps side by side, such as Word and Microsoft’s own Edge browser, and then swap to another layout, such as Chrome and Excel – all without having to close and open multiple apps.

Microsoft has also introduced a new Focus mode which automatically silences notifications and turns off taskbar badges, as well as adding new timers to the clock app which reminds users to take breaks.

There are new accessibility features, including system wide live captions for audio description and better voice control to use programs. By capturing microphone audio, live captions can now transcribe in-person conversations.

Moreover, Microsoft says that updating PCs is more eco-friendly.

“Windows Update is now carbon aware, making it easier for your devices to reduce carbon emissions,” Panos Panay, the head of Windows, wrote in the blog post.

“When devices are plugged in, turned on, connected to the Internet and regional carbon intensity data is available, Windows Update will schedule installations at specific times of the day when doing so may result in lower carbon emissions because a higher proportion of electricity is coming from lower-carbon sources on the electric grid.

“We’ve also made some changes to the default power setting for Sleep and Screen off to help reduce carbon emissions when PCs are idle.”