Windows 11 will auto-update version 21H2 users to 22H2, here's everything new coming to your PC

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(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft begins automatically updating Windows 11 users to version 22H2.
  • Some users on 21H2 will begin seeing the 22H2 update as soon as today.
  • It's unclear if users have the option to decline the update once it's offered.

Microsoft has announced that users still running the original launch version of Windows 11, known as version 21H2, will be automatically upgraded to the latest version of Windows 11 known as version 22H2 or the "2022 Update" starting now. The update is rolling out in waves, beginning with PCs that have been running Windows 11 version 21H2 the longest.

The announcement was buried in a Microsoft support document for known issues, which says:

"Today we begin to automatically update consumer and non-managed business devices running Windows 11, version 21H2 Home and Pro editions to Windows 11, version 22H2. Since Windows 10, we have been helping Windows users stay up to date and secure with supported versions of Windows through automatic updates. We are utilizing this same approach for Windows 11 to help you stay protected and productive. 

The automatic update to Windows 11, version 22H2 will happen gradually starting with those devices that have been using version 21H2 for the longest period of time. As always, you will have the ability to choose a convenient time for your device to restart and complete the update."

Microsoft forcing the latest Windows 11 feature update onto users is quite the departure from how Microsoft handled feature updates on the last version of Windows. On Windows 10, new feature updates would only be forced onto users running an unsupported version of the OS. 

Windows 11 version 21H2 is still in support, and will be until October later this year. It looks like that strategy is over, as Microsoft is now automatically pushing the Windows 11 version 22H2 update onto users running Windows 11 version 21H2. The Microsoft support document doesn't mention whether users can decline the upgrade once it's offered in Windows Update.

Microsoft does say that "Customer feedback and analysis show a positive experience with Windows 11, version 22H2," to reassure users that the latest version of Windows 11 won't cause any problems once you upgrade.

What's new in the version 22H2 update?

For those still on version 21H2, here's a quick rundown of the top new features that are present with the Windows 11 version 22H2 release:

  • App folders in Start menu
  • Resizable pinned area in Start menu
  • Drag and Drop on the Taskbar
  • Focus Assist integration with Notification Center
  • New "spotlight" wallpaper feature
  • New Voice Access accessibility feature
  • New Live Captions accessibility feature
  • New gestures and animations for touch users
  • New snap layouts bar when moving app windows
  • New Task Manager app
  • New "Suggested Actions" feature when copying dates/numbers
  • Tabs in File Explorer
  • Better OneDrive integration with File Explorer
  • Numerous UI improvements and consistency updates

Thanks for the tip, Tim G!

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads