Windows 11 22H2 Review: a Little of This, a Little of That

Posted on July 22, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 11 with 41 Comments

Windows 11 version 22H2 comes with a small selection of mostly minor updates, some of which are quite useful. The problem? Most of the functional regressions from Windows 11 version 21H2 are still present in this release. And that’s not what I expected to see one year after the feedback-free initial release of this platform. Worse, it’s now clear that Microsoft has little interest in cleaning up this mess of its own creation.

Windows lead Panos Panay likes to say that “detail matter,” but when it comes to Windows 11, the focus is mostly on the superficial. While the new user interfaces in this system are pleasant and simple-looking, you don’t have to look too hard to find the old and out-of-date interfaces of the past. Indeed, Windows 11 is like an archaeological dig in this way, an inconsistent mixture of new and old. If details really mattered, the Windows team would clean up those inconsistencies. But there’s no stomach for that in Redmond.

For the Microsoft nerds in the audience, Windows 11 is perhaps most similar to Windows Mobile 6.5, the smartphone release that Microsoft issued before betting the farm on the all-new Windows Phone 7 Series. Windows Mobile 6.5 offered a surface-level user interface refresh that included new lock and home screens that were both prettier, more functional, and more touch-friendly than what came before. But once you dug a little deeper, you were confronted by Windows Mobile’s stylus-focused past, with UIs that were nearly impossible to interact with via touch. It was the ultimate example of “lipstick on a pig.”

Windows 11 follows this same strategy, though the new UIs—which include the Desktop, Start menu, and Taskbar—aren’t more functional than those they replace, they’re just simpler and more touch-friendly. We can debate the merits of Microsoft’s simplification strategy, but I will simply argue that it tried this before, with Windows 8, to disastrous results. And that Windows was, and remains, a complex platform that is best suited for powerful, desktop-class PCs and laptops, and not simpler, touch-based tablets. More to the point, the vast majority of Windows users interact with this system on traditional hardware form factors, mostly laptops. And yet, here we are, still fighting that same fight.

But let’s get real here: Windows 11 isn’t a disaster like Windows 8, not even close. But it still betrays the same thinking that made Microsoft collectively lose its mind and alienate customers and partners a decade ago. The difference is that it’s not clear whether Microsoft is alienating a major constituency this time. Sure, I may be put out by what’s been thrown out with the bathwater, so to speak, in Windows 11, and I know that many of you are as well. But we’re power users: and surely most of the user base isn’t concerned at all with the changes in Windows 11. Furthermore, one imagines that PC makers are ecstatic. So what am I even complaining about?

Well, the same thing as ever, I guess. And what it all comes down to is communication: Microsoft poorly communicated what it was trying to achieve with Windows 11 and then delivered only part of what it promised in October 2022. With Windows 11 22H2, the assumption was that the software giant would finally listen to feedback and respond accordingly. But, incredibly, it has not done so: yes, there are a handful of changes in this release that it says were driven by feedback. But it has ignored the biggest complaints and has instead turned 22H2 into a release that includes some features it promised earlier and some other new features.

Some of those new features—like the new Snap discoverability functionality and Live captions—are incredible and speak to the productivity-focused updates that I think the Windows product group should be focused on. But Windows 11 still feels disjointed, and it’s not clear why it can’t progress along two parallel paths, with the new features Microsoft wants and by responding to feedback and making the system more consistent.

While we ponder that one, there are, of course, improvements. Mostly minor, but still improvements.

The Windows 11 22H2 Desktop has more consistent context menus (or, more accurately, the context menu for the Recycle Bin is now consistent with the rest of the Desktop). There’s a pleasant new volume overlay that appears on the bottom middle of the Desktop when you change the volume using a hardware key or button on your PC. And you can now use Windows Spotlight—which was previously only on the Lock screen—to get a new, high-quality Bing wallpaper each day. Semi-related, the media controls overlay on the Lock screen adopts the new Windows 11 look and feel, and you can no longer display Quick status icons on Lock.

The Start menu in Windows 11 version 21H2 was wildly unsophisticated, with no way to resize it or autoflow between its main Pinned and Recommended sections if you started removing shortcuts. Microsoft didn’t fix any of that in 22H2, but the updated Start menu does support a new layout option that lets you give more space to Pinned or Recommended. And you can now create folders inside of the Pinned section. These are, at best minor wins, and neither addresses the serious issues that still exist in Start.

The Taskbar is another area of grave concern in Windows 11 because it, like Start, was created from scratch and doesn’t include much of the functionality that was present in the Windows 10 version. Unfortunately, Microsoft says it has no plans to fix most of the functional regressions in this interface, though 22H2 does at least bring drag-and-drop back, meaning that you can once again drag a document or other file to the Taskbar shortcut for a running app and open it with that app. The updated Taskbar also provides two features—Mute/Unmute and Share this window—that were promised last summer, though both only work with Microsoft Teams at the moment, limiting their appeal.

Snap got a big upgrade in the original version of Windows 11, but Microsoft has now put this feature over the top in 22H2 with the addition of a new discoverability feature for Snap Layouts. In version 21H2, you could mouse-over the Maximize/Restore to view a pop-up of possible Snap layouts, but that wasn’t super-discoverable and it only applies to mouse users. 22H2 goes all the way by displaying a Snap Layouts panel at the top of the screen whenever you move a window, so it’s more discoverable and it works with touch: just move the window towards the pane to see the available layouts. This is a great idea and it might be my favorite feature in 22H2.

The File Explorer UI was overhauled in 21H2 to match the new Windows 11 look and feel but it mostly worked like its Windows 10 predecessor. Windows 11 22H2 brings additional updates. Quick access has been renamed to Home and it has a new Favorites section. The navigation pane has been redesigned. You can now set OneDrive as your default view (as opposed to just Home/Quick access or This PC), and there is now a OneDrive management icon in the command bar when you’re viewing OneDrive content. Thumbnail previews are back. And Microsoft is probably going to add tabs to File Explorer, though not everyone running 22H2 right now is seeing this feature. (Most of my 22H2-based PCs do not have this yet.)

Windows 11’s Search functionality gets one major new feature, but it’s been added to Windows 10 as well, so many users will already be familiar with it. 22H2 adds something called Search highlights to the Windows 11 Search interface. It’s not functional per se but is instead a way to distract you while you’re searching with links to interesting information that will load in Microsoft’s web browser even if you configured a different browser as the default, and it will access Microsoft online services like MSN and Bing. It’s beyond superfluous, but at least you can turn it off. (Settings > Privacy & security > Search permissions > “Show search highlights.”)

Quick settings debuted in Windows 11 21H2, and it’s one of my favorite features. (And I enjoy similar functionality in other platforms like Chrome OS and macOS.) Quick settings gets one new feature in 22H2: the Bluetooth quick setting is now a split button, like that for Wi-Fi, so you can now access your Bluetooth-connected devices and see other nearby Bluetooth devices without having to first open Settings. Semi-related, Airplane mode in 22H2 will now remember if you leave a radio like Wi-Fi enabled when in Airplane mode and then configure it identically the next time you enable it. (Other platforms like iOS already do this.)

Task Manager picks up the Windows 11 look and feel in 22H2, but in doing so, it loses a bit of discoverability because the various tabs (Processes, Performance, App history, and so on) are now icons only, with no text. But there’s also one new feature: instead of force-quitting apps that are hung and/or dragging down system resources, you can now enable Efficiency mode on an app process that is over-stressing your computer’s CPU. (It’s only for CPU now, but Microsoft has hinted that it may tackle apps that abuse other system resources like memory, disk, and networking in the future.)

Microsoft seems to be going back and forth on tablet functionality as it transitions from Windows 10 to Windows 11. For example, it announced that Windows 11 would no longer support Tablet mode, which was something you could manually switch to if desired. But Windows 11 does automatically switch into something it says is called Tablet mode if you remove the keyboard from a tablet or 2-in-1 PC, so it appears that only the manual configuration has been lost. But Windows 11 22H2 picks up some nice new gestures that should appeal to fans of multi-touch. They are:

Toggle Start. To open the Start menu, swipe up from the taskbar. You can swipe down on Start to dismiss it.

Display All Apps in Start. With the Start menu open, swipe to the left on the Pinned area to display All Apps. With All Apps in view, swipe to the left to return to the default Start menu view.

Display Recommended in Start. With the Start menu open, swipe to the left on the Recommended area to display the full Recommended list. With Recommended in view, swipe to the left to return to the default Start menu view.

Toggle Quick Settings. To open Quick Settings, swipe up from the bottom-right corner of the screen. To dismiss Quick Settings, swipe down on Quick Settings.

Switch to the previous app. Swipe left or right with three fingers to immediately switch to your most recently used app.

Windows 11 22H2 introduces three new accessibility features: Live captions, which provides live, on-the-fly captioning for any content that plays audio, including online meetings; Voice access, which lets you control Windows with your voice; and more natural sounding voices in Narrator. Additionally, the Accessibility flyout has been restyled with the Windows 11 look and feel.

In Windows 11 version 22H2, Focus assist is morphing into Do not disturb and the related Focus sessions feature is getting some nice improvements. Do not disturb does what you think it does: it disables notifications and can be enabled on a schedule. Focus sessions, meanwhile, is now integrated into the shell and is thus more discoverable; it lets you set a timer and work for a specified amount of time—with optional breaks—during which you won’t be interrupted. Focus sessions optionally integrates with Spotify so you can listen to music or podcasts while focusing, and with Microsoft To Do.

One of the biggest changes in Windows 11 22H2 will be seen during initial Setup: if you configure your PC for personal use instead of for work or school, you will be forced to sign in with a Microsoft account. (This was true in Windows 11 21H2, but only for the Home edition.) There are workarounds for this, of course, but Microsoft really doesn’t want its customers on less secure local (“offline”) accounts, and to be fair, using a Microsoft account is the right thing to do for most people.

And that’s about it. Whether this is a reasonable upgrade after a year of work is debatable, but there are some nice additions in there. I just wish some key interfaces, like Start and the Taskbar, had seen more substantial improvements that address the regressions. I guess there’s always 23H2 to look forward to.

But we may not have to wait that long, of course. Windows 11 will see post-22H2 functional additions and some of them could even appear before 22H2 is broadly distributed this fall. And with a rumored new servicing schedule looming, perhaps the pace will even pick up a bit in the coming year.

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Comments (41)

41 responses to “Windows 11 22H2 Review: a Little of This, a Little of That”

  1. Matthew Santacroce (InnoTechLLC)

    Paul, I have noticed that I now have tabs in File I was happy to see that. Then I restarted and they were gone. Waited a couple days, restarted and they came back. Seems like Microsoft's ability to turn functionality on/off is a little unpredictable. Overall, I have become a big fan of Windows 11. I do hope that they get around to making some additional upgrades as you have outlined in detail. I have also noticed that just about all of my family and friends now have Windows 11! This is quite amazing because they are ALWAYS several versions behind and they usually have the little "update waiting" icon in the system tray and they ask me what it means!

  2. Bart

    I think there needs to be a serious re-think about 'powerusers' and how important these users are. I argue, less important than we all make it out to be. Sure, here on are users which we consider to be powerusers. But Microsoft's bread and butter, the enterprise, is not in this class. These users live in Teams, Outlook, Excel, Word and so on. They couldn't care less about these so called regressions, as it won't affect them. They're being sucked into Teams and probably don't see the UI inconsistencies, as they simply will never make use of these outdated context menu's.

    And so, let's talk about what I think does matter within Windows 11; the nicer UI. Sounds superficial? Definitely! But it is what made Windows 11 exciting again. It is fresh. Hell, it made Apple the bohemoth it is today.

    I truly feel Microsoft is on the right path. Obviously Microsoft didn't have the luxury of starting from scratch with Windows 11. And that is the biggest problem. Legacy UI and functionality. But change is afoot. And that means these 'powerusers' need to change as well, as the enterprise is moving ahead.

    • Bart

      *the nicer desktop/Start UI

    • dftf

      "The nicer UI [...] is what made Windows 11 exciting again. It is fresh."

      You could argue the same about Windows XP though, with it's refreshed "Luna" look (along with the extra themes -- Embedded, Royale, Royale Noir, Zune -- that you could manually-add). Or Vista, with it's "Aero Glass". Heck, even Windows 95 when compared to Windows 3.x. It's not the first-time Windows has undergone a UI refresh, and I'm sure it won't be the last. If recent-history is anything, we can expect Windows 12 to be similar to 11, then Windows 14 to suddenly change stuff again.

      "Hell, it made Apple the behemoth it is today."

      Apple hasn't radically overhauled the macOS UI since version 10.0 first hit, all-the-way back in the early 2000s! Sure, the texture of the windows, and things like the buttons and controls have had various different "skins" over-the-years, but the main UI features are all still there. So... maybe that suggests Microsoft should create different themes (like they did in the XP days), but not keep changing the UI?

      "Obviously Microsoft didn't have the luxury of starting from scratch with Windows 11. And that is the biggest problem. Legacy UI and functionality. But change is afoot."

      Well, they did finally ditch the 32-bit kernel versions in Windows 11, so that's at-least a start: finally 32-bit drivers and 16-bit apps are consigned to the bin. But as for legacy UI -- I highly doubt that during Windows 11 or 12's lifetimes you'll see the Control Panel gone, or some of the legacy MMCs replaced.

      • Bart

        "then Windows 14 to suddenly change stuff again."

        This is speculation, to which we have no idea. Windows was pretty consistent UI wise until Windows 8. Sure, it had some visual changes, but nothing too radical.

        "... maybe that suggests Microsoft should create different themes (like they did in the XP days), but not keep changing the UI?"

        I agree, and let's hope MS learned their lesson after Windows 8. Windows 11 is slightly different with the Start menu centered and a changed UI, but I'd argue this isn't a radical change. More a senisble change (which needs work).

        "...I highly doubt that during Windows 11 or 12's lifetimes you'll see the Control Panel gone, or some of the legacy MMCs replaced."

        Let's hope that after the kernel replacement and compartmentalizing of the different Windows layers, more work can now be done to the UI. And perhaps a future swap to a 64 bit kernel will be easier...?

        But my main point in all of this, was that Microsoft can't cling to the past. Nor do Powerusers. As Powerusers very much like to do things 'like they have always done'. And I am simply arguing that that might not be feasible going forward.

    • ginandbacon

      Let's not forget who window 11 was really for. Why MS didn't advertise it this way 8s beyond me but it seems like the new security features which required mainly a compatible CPU were to try and curb ransomware, plain and simple. You have to have a CPU that does VBS (virtual based security) to run things like windows defense guard, which can also be used in 10 with a compatible CPU. Almost all ransomware attacks begin with a phishing link.

      For Microsoft Edge (extension for chrome and Firefox), Application Guard helps to isolate enterprise-defined untrusted sites, protecting your company while your click happy employees browse the Internet. As an enterprise administrator, you define what is among trusted web sites, cloud resources, and internal networks. Everything not on your list is considered untrusted. If an employee goes to an untrusted site through a browser, Edge opens the site in an isolated Hyper-V-enabled container. This is completely isolated from the OS.

      For Microsoft Office, Application Guard helps prevents untrusted Word, PowerPoint and Excel files from accessing trusted resources. Application Guard opens untrusted files in an isolated Hyper-V-enabled container. The isolated Hyper-V container is separate from the host operating system. This container isolation means that if the untrusted site or file turns out to be malicious, the host device is protected, and the attacker can't get to your enterprise data. For example, this approach makes the isolated container anonymous, so an attacker can't get to your employee's enterprise credentials.

      Honestly, this was the biggest upgrade I saw in windows 11 hidden behind a new GUI and Android apps. The fact that all this works in windows 10 with a compatible CPU is tailored made for enterprises and the government.

      How long did it take the US to pay when that pipeline got hit? Like 2 days, if that. It all starts with one person clicking on a malicious link and a bad or no security software to detect when it spreads. After 1 month your backups are infected. By the time some companies realize it they restore to a point before they will lose 1 to 3 or more months work. That's why companies, or mainly the government pays. I work for a software company that develops software for 49 of the state DOTs. 2 DOTs that got hit. One paid 5 million to get the keys to unencrypted the data. The other didn't. When all was said and done they spent over 25 million getting back to where they were before the attack and it took 3 to 4 months to do so.

  3. chrishilton1

    Have Android apps for Windows surfaced yet, a big promise when 11 launched? And has anyone tried pinning an app to the start menu? hope they fixed that.

    • ginandbacon

      Yes, I have the Android Subsystem for Windows many build ago but I'm in the Dev ring but it's been available for quiet some time. Just Google how to install it, if you go through the MS store it's going to want to use the Amazon app store but there is also an APK I stalled (free) in the MS store so you can just download APK a from a mirror site like APK pure also Anyone should be able to install it at this point. You just have to install it from the MS store or use GitHub. After that it's easy to get Google Play on there, link your account and run any app. I even have messenger installed so I can text from my PC (not MS phone link, full Android messenger app). I also have 2 Linux distros I installed and while this can be done in 10, being able to run rsynch (among other Linux apps) and Android apps plus all windows apps from one PC natively is extremely convenient although some Android apps are not super fun to navigate around with a regular keyboard/mouse combo. I've yet to find an app that doesn't work.

  4. pholder

    >achieve with Windows 11 and then delivered only part of what it promised in October 2022.

    I know MS is bad and all... but you can't blame them for future actions they've yet to take...? I presume you mean 2021? ;)

  5. justme

    I think my biggest overall gripe is Microsoft's continued attempts to force you to use their services. Sending search queries to Bing, opening start serach results in Edge, MSN, search highlights - Respect my choices, please, Microsoft. I dont use your services, I dont need or want a Microsoft account. Yes, like the MSA requirement, the majority of my peeves with Windows 11 have workarounds - for now. My worry is that over time, Microsoft will spend more time stopping workarounds than they will fixing the actual OS - then Windows 12 rolls around and they start asking for a subscription to use the OS.

  6. the_sl0th

    Its a sad state of affairs though, when the first thing you have to do after upgrading to Windows 11 is purchase a Start Menu replacement to get the old Windows 10 functionality back.

  7. angusmatheson

    Windows 11 will do its job perfectly. It is designed so that in 2025, because of basically arbitrary hardware limits - windows 10 will no longer be supported so people and businesses have to buy new computers - selling new machines and windows licenses.

    • ginandbacon

      MS has always quit support for their OSs after 10.years, they did it for 7, they will do it for 10 in 2025 yet people still run 7 or XP. You simply won't get any security updates. Your PC doesn't magically quit working the day it goes out of support. How many PCs do you think will have CPUs that don't support VBS (virtual based security). Secure boot and TPM modules have been in every PC since around 2015.

      VBS is used by enterprises in conjuncture with defense gaurd to prevent phishing attacks. If someone clicks on a malicious link it opens in a hyper V Edge window completely isolated from the OS as phishing emails are the number one way ransomware starts. Same for malicious office links.

      This feature is also in Windows 10 but you have to have a supported CPU. My company has already implemented it although we are still using 10 but will be upgrading in the next year. IT admins love this feature because idiots at work will click on ANYTHING. There is always one person who will somehow still click on an Amazon phishing email sent to their work email address even though their Amazon account isn't even tied to their work email, it's tied to their personal email yet they still click on it. Let that sink in.

  8. codymesh

    it might be an elitist thing to say, but I have never seen anyone use the taskbar to the side, online or offline, at work and at home. I don't think this is a feature that is missed at all.

    and unlike the "creators' update" nonsense Microsoft did for Windows 10, I love that they have focused on adding productivity features right from the start with Windows 11. And unlike Windows 8 and 10, Microsoft appears to have actual UI designers working on Windows 11 now.

    Personally, I like what i've seen thus far with Windows 11.

    • Newtronic

      There's at least one person in our 50 person company that runs the windows 10 taskbar on the top. Not my cup of tea. I wish they would focus first on fixing feature regressions from 10. I use a toolbar on windows 10 daily. If I ever switch to 11, there is a fine 3rd party tool for toolbars:

    • winner

      I've been puting my tasbar on the left side for many years.

      We went to horizontal aspect ratio monitors years ago, which limited the vertical size. Then Microsoft came out with a ribbon interface, which hogged up a bunch of vertical space up top of the Office windows. So I move the taskbar to the left to get back a bit of vertical space. And I know I'm not the only one.

    • cnc123

      I frequently work on a 16:9 laptop screen for long periods out of necessity. Having a left docked taskbar is a necessity in working on such a constrained space.

    • ginandbacon

      I have seen developers have it on the left side but they also have a 16:9 monitor horizontal because it gives them more room to see their code so not a typical user.

    • omen_20

      Side taskbar is the only logical way to use Windows on an ultrawide monitor. It looks ridiculous and is a waste of space to use the default setup.

  9. scovious

    I wanted to respond to the overt disrespect of Microsoft's philosophy from first few paragraphs:

    Legacy support to me is more important than being the leanest and most efficient thing. I recon it's also more important for most of the world since Apple's software isn't as widely used, and is build with the exact opposite philosophy compared to Microsoft; Apple has a long term blatant disregard for legacy support and their own previous customers' purchases.

    I understand wanting to praise Apple for their holistic attention to "superficial" details, but that is also the company who champions privacy while scanning every local iPhone library for offensive images. It's the same company that charges a 30% tax to any developer on their platform for server hosting and "quality checks", while taxing less than half that for rare exceptions like the small company known as Amazon.

    Maybe the wrong company is being put on a pedestal for the wrong reasons?

    • ginandbacon

      You forgot to add that both Apple and Google get that same percent for any in app purchases. Netflix won't allow you to setup an account using the Netflix app because Apple (or Google) would get 30 percent of what you pay monthly. You may be able to use Safari directly on the iPhone but Netflix directs you to use a PC or Mac to create you Netflix account. Now think how much money that really is. Way more when you know that part. It's a racket.

  10. mattbg

    I do appreciate the review, but as a Windows 10 user I feel more excited reading about MacOS upgrades than I do about Windows upgrades, and it's been like that for about 5 years now.

    As someone who always used to be up there with a new version of Windows on day 1, I am starting to feel like Windows 11 will be ready just about when the next version of Windows drops, and I'll always be one major version behind because I want to be running an OS that is finished to the extent that Microsoft cares to finish it.

    • dftf

      It's interesting to read-about macOS as a Windows user, sure, just because it's different. But even macOS isn't as-exciting as it once-was. When was the last time there was any major new, user-facing feature in any recent-version? System-wide dark-mode in 2018's Mojave, perhaps?

      • mattbg

        Probably true on the "grass is greener" point, but as an iOS user (phone, tablet) I frequently see integration features that would be of interest to me.

        Basically, my sense is that Windows upgrades hardly ever bring anything I care about even though they have "new features". I still can't reliably eject a USB SSD (half the time it tells me the device is in use when it's not) even though it was a "feature" some time ago to have fixed that problem and my OneDrive sync stops working occasionally and needs to be paused/reset if I'm to see photos I've just uploaded from my phone within 12 hours of uploading them. How about fixing that stuff?

        The new UI in Windows 11 does look interesting, and I'll upgrade once I upgrade my hardware later this year, but I don't get the sense it's going to be properly finished any time soon. The pace of improvement is just so slow, whereas on the Apple side you would generally see them finishing the job. iOS itself is a steady progression of finishing the job. Apple builds opinionated features, but if you use them as designed then they tend to work and they often improve over time.

        Anyway, even though I toy with the idea I'm never going Apple on the desktop - the value proposition and flexibility is just too poor - but I can see why many people (including many power users) do prefer it over there.

        • ginandbacon

          You have write catching enabled on the drive. Since 2020 you no longer have to eject external disks unless write catching is enabled. It's disabled by default on external drives now. If you don't have write catching enabled then the eject button hasn't shown up in a long time and simply didappears. I could be mistaken but I believe MS used to enable it by default. To check open device manager, expand disks, double click on the removable drive and click policies. There are 2 options there. The top one should be unchecked (really both unless you have a UPS) if you want to just unplug external drives, as long as the drive isn't in use

      • rob_segal

        Ipad apps coming to macOS is a big feature. Also, sidecar, universal control, shortcuts, iTunes replaced, stage manager and continuity camera in Ventura. Those are big features for macOS released the past several years.

    • fbman

      I agree with you. I also upgraded basically on day 1 of an operating system launch. I upgraded to windows 10 3 months after launch.

      windows 11 I am still not interested. It feels unfinished. Nothing in this version give me the urge to say.. wow I must upgrade to have this feature. I said a year ago, I will look into upgrading a year from now. Well I’m, saying again.. I will give it another year.

      the only thing in windows 11 that kinda interests me is the android sub system , but even that.. I can wait, I don’t have to have it now.

      so it’s windows 10 for another year.

  11. miamimauler

    I have yet to downgrade to W11 but can someone inform me if you are able to completely remove the Recommended section in the W11 start menu?

    Thanks in advance. 👍

    • mattbg

      Downgrade :)

    • dftf

      There is a policy in Local Group Policy Editor titled "Remove Recommended section from Start Menu", which might achieve that -- though it may just do the same as the recent "More pins" setting.

      Have a Google and see if that setting may do what you want. Note that on Windows 11 Home, you'll need to edit the Registry to add the policy, as Home versions have never included Group Policy editors.

  12. red.radar

    Most people get windows 11 home and for those forcing Microsoft account is fine.

    But the people who by pro do so for the choice and flexibility of power features. Local offline account access is one of those features. i think forcing a Microsoft account in windows pro is a betrayal of trust in power users. It’s unforgivable.

    And I don’t see the benefit of signing into a Microsoft account. All it does is sign you into Edge, OneDrive, the store and MS office. But if you don’t use Edge, OneDrive, the Store or MS office. There is negative value in having a Microsoft account. Because now you have to manage another digital service for minimal benefit.

    I am sorry… I just don’t see the benefit.

    • miamimauler


      "But the people who by pro do so for the choice and flexibility of power features"

      I'm not sure Pro is worth the purchase price anymore. I keep reading over the past year or two how MS have slowly but surely devalued the options that Pro provide.

      • dftf

        Some of the benefits to Pro have simply been degraded due to advances in hardware: it let's you use two physical CPUs, for example, compared to just one for Home; but in this era of multi-core CPUs, how-many people still need two discreet, separate CPUs? (Pro for Workstations allows 3 or 4 physical CPUs).

        Likewise Home permits up-to 128GB of RAM; plenty for most people, and I should think enough to cover most AAA games for at-least the next decade or two. Pro allows up-to 2TB; and PfW up-to 6TB.

        There are some software differences though, but it just depends on whether you will actually use them: Home doesn't offer Remote Desktop inbound connections; Windows Sandbox; Hyper-V; BitLocker (though "Device Encryption" is similar); or the ability to join a Domain, or receive Group Policy settings.

        Some of those can be worked-around: there are many third-party alternatives to Remote Desktop, such as TeamViewer; Oracle VM VirtualBox and VMWare Player can be used for OS virtualisation; and VeraCrypt can be used to encrypt disks (and I think still supports XP and up, too).

        • red.radar

          fair points. However, I will say Remote Desktop is a superior protocol than anything else offered. In fact I believe Gnome and other open source projects are moving to RDP for Remote Desktop functionality.

          Sandbox is a nice feature because it allows you to inspect new applications without polluting the machine with settings and permanent file system edits.

          These are nice power use features which compliment local account access nicely.

      • ginandbacon

        You can't join a domain with home. In fact I think they removed remote desktop from home but if you can't join a domain then it won't work in an enterprise environment so almost all licenses are professional for any company. Enterprise is where MS makes their real money.

    • lvthunder

      Just use one of the workarounds for a local account if you care that much about it. I can guarantee most people don't or else Apple and Google wouldn't do it on mobile.

      • red.radar

        The work arounds are temporary and it is a game of wack a mole.

        Secondly. I sign into iOS / Android because they provide services I want to use. Microsoft doesn’t provide services I want to use therefore do not make me sign in. I want to use Windows to run win32 applications. Microsoft’s services do not enhance the experience of using these applications, or I use competitive solutions that don’t require Microsoft credentials. Therefore don’t make me sign up for services that provide me no value. Its gatekeeping. It’s shady and borderline unethical.

        • ginandbacon

          So Apple and Google making 30 or 25 percent off every purchase through their app stores is ethical? Is it ethical that they also get the same cut for in app purchases which is why you can't create a Netflix account using either app. It redirects you to use a PC to create the account because then Google or apple would get 30 or 25 percent of every monthly payment. That's more then unethical. It's a racket. All while collecting all your personal data while you walk around with a GPS, camera and hot mic tied to your account but creating an MS account is just to much for you to handle.... Mmmkay

    • ginandbacon

      You can thank Facebook and Google for this software model of free software for all your data and to a much lesser extent Apple as they actually make money off selling hardware. MS simply uad to adapt.

      If your worried about having to create an MS account yet walk around with a GPS, camera, and hot mic at all times tied to your personal account then you have your privacy concerns backwards. Just think, which has more info about you, your PC or your smartphone? Personal data has been the highest traded commodity since around 2015. For the previous 50+ years it was oil.

  13. hrlngrv

    Re the image for the more consistent context menus, I wonder what MSFT's telemetry shows for the % of Windows users who pin Recycle Bin either to Start or Quick Access. (Shouldn't the latter now be labeled Home?)

    | I guess there’s always 23H2 to look forward to.

    Either Hope springs eternal or Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again (like waiting for MSFT to fix things).

  14. Gammon

    "Windows 11 isn’t a disaster like Windows 8, not even close. But it still betrays the same thinking that made Microsoft collectively lose its mind and alienate customers and partners a decade ago"

    Fascinating bit of historical revisionism there! Some of us have been around long enough to remember that it wasn't only Microsoft that lost its mind a decade ago.... You were running around referring to the Windows Desktop as a "legacy interface" and belittling anyone not fully signed up to the "Modern UI" world of feature free, touch first, non resizable, full screen only apps.

    It was clear to me (from the moment I first booted an early Windows 8 beta), that the iPad and iPhone had driven Microsoft utterly insane. Anyone could see the limited use case for the tablet form factor, and immense stupidity of what they were doing UI wise. Yet you remained stubbornly wedded to the vision for almost as long a Microsoft did...