New in 22H2: Desktop and Lock Screen

Posted on June 17, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 16 Comments

Microsoft predictably paid attention to Start and the Taskbar in Windows 11 version 22H2, but the desktop and lock screen received a few small changes too.

Many are subtle enough that few would notice. For example, while the desktop context menu in the original version of Windows 11 received the new styling, the version you saw when you right-clicked the Recycle Bin was different: it was the version from Windows 10 but with rounded corners. In Windows 11 version 22H2, this has been fixed: now, the style of both menus is the same (and both, of course, use the new Windows 11 styling, which has been slightly updated for 22H2).

Tip: you can still display the classic, Windows 10-style context menus for the desktop, Recycle Bin, and elsewhere by holding down SHIFT as you right-click.

Likewise, the volume overlay—which appears when you change the system volume using a hardware key or button on your PC—has been redesigned to match the new Windows 11 look and feel. Previously, this overlay appeared as a vertical element in the top-left of the desktop. Now, it appears as a landscape element in the bottom middle of the desktop, right above the Taskbar.

Somewhat more substantially, Microsoft has brought the wonderful Windows Spotlight interface, which to date has provided high-quality Bing photographs on the lock screen, to the desktop. To enable this, open Settings (WINKEY + I) and navigate to Personalization. (Or, right-click the desktop and choose Personalize.) Then, select Background. In the Personalize your background section, select “Windows spotlight” from the dropdown.

Your desktop background will be replaced with an image from Bing, and you will see a new “Learn about this picture” icon appear in the lower right of the desktop.

This icon cannot be removed. But you can move it anywhere on the desktop, and when you right-click it, you will find a menu with “Open,” “Switch to next picture,” “I like this picture,” and “Not a fan of this picture” items that somewhat mirror what you can do with Spotlight on the lock screen.

And speaking of the lock screen, this interface gets a single update in 22H2: the media controls overlay has been updated to match the new Windows 11 style. (You can also see the media controls overlay at the top of Quick Settings, though that was updated in 21H2.)

Finally, the Accessibility flyout you can trigger on the lock screen has been visually updated to look like the version you see when you select the Accessibility quick setting in Quick Settings.

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Comments (16)

16 responses to “New in 22H2: Desktop and Lock Screen”

  1. navarac

    I disabled the Lockscreen years ago in Windows (10) as it is just another click towards RSI. Spotlight being from Bing is enough reason to turn that off as well. "Learn about this picture" is only a tease to get people to access Bing on the quiet, and is just superfluous crap bunging up the system for me.

    • sadsteve

      Yep, I always disable spotlight. I've got my own pictures I want for the background.

  2. philly30

    Spotlight for desktop was added about a month ago

  3. micklevin

    I wonder how long it will take for Microsoft to extend lock screen wallpaper to all monitors? Seems a no-brainer, but version after version it is always just a black screen.

  4. SherlockHolmes

    More things to deactivate in group policies. Fun.

  5. jeroendegrebber

    I can recommend the app Dynamic Theme from the store, which enables Windows Spotlight or Bing for desktop and/or lock screen plus a lot more useful settings.

    • ikjadoon

      I also like Spotlight Desktop. A much lighter application, but it only does this one thing.

  6. ebraiter

    Ow wow! Now a reason to spend $1500 to buy a new Windows 11 system [as my hardware doesn't pass Microsoft's dumb requirements].

  7. payton

    Windows Spotlight would be a lot more enjoyable if it recognized that I have three monitors and let me choose whether to show the same picture on all three (current behavior) or have a different one on each.

  8. singingwolf

    You forgot to add that the Show Desktop button made a return in this release

  9. nbplopes

    A little mode than a month ago had a Surface Studio of 2.3k euros for 4 days. Came with Windows 11.

    Interesting concept. But all sorts of glitches if not performance issues became evident from the start. When not connected to power I could see Windows being rendered … a clear white rectangle making the Window was being rendered first before the rest of the elements. Not only that … it took almost a second to open a File Explorer window. To speed things up disabled animations … ops the wallpaper would just disappear … has to log off and back on again. The white backdrop rendering became even more visible.

    So … unless all these issues and more … just the tip of it … are solved in 2022 … all this candy is irrelevant to me.

  10. bob25

    Love the Spotlight feature. It's nice getting the surprise of a fresh picture now and then.

  11. ikjadoon

    >This icon cannot be removed. 

    I'm sorry, what now? This sounds like a joke: it must be a joke. A wallpaper that has a permanent icon, obscuring the very wallpaper it is showcasing?

    Why does every UI decision by Microsoft feel like someone threw it together over two weekends and had to meet some arbitrary "must link to our other Microsoft services" quota?

    Surely this could've been added to the desktop context menu, under an expandable menu. It needs a desktop icon? If Panos is trying to emulate Apple's design & cachet, by Jove, he's missed the boat entirely.

  12. SvenJ

    Not sure why, but my copy of Spotlight has a damn big Web search bar smack in the middle of it. Not that irritated by the icon, as I just stuck that under the trash can. It's just another 'shortcut' in my view. Bing desktop wasn't even that intrusive with a Bing watermark.

  13. L Gilles

    With some efforts and a good look at macOS, W11 will become something pleasing to the basic user.

    I'm kidding somehow, but every step to usability is a good thing.