Microsoft Software Updates

Windows 11: A guide to the updates

Here’s what you need to know about the latest updates to Windows 11 as they’re released from Microsoft. Now updated for KB5020044 Preview, released on Nov. 29, 2022.

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A Windows launch isn’t the end a process — it’s really just the beginning. As with Windows 10, Microsoft continually works on improving Windows 11 by fixing bugs, releasing security patches, and occasionally adding new features.

In this story we summarize what you need to know about each update released to the public for the most recent version of Windows 11. For each build, we’ve included the date of its release and a link to Microsoft’s announcement about it. The most recent updates appear first.

The easiest way to install updates is via Windows Update. Not sure how? See “How to handle Windows 10 and 11 updates” for full instructions. Note that Windows 11 version 22H2 is being released as a phased rollout and may not be available to you in Windows Update yet.

If you’re still using Windows 10, see “Windows 10: A guide to the updates.” And if you’re looking for information about Insider Program previews for upcoming feature releases of Windows 11, see “Windows 11 Insider Previews: What’s in the latest build?”

Updates to Windows 11 version 22H2

KB5020044 (OS Build 22621.900) Preview

Release date: November 29, 2022

In this build, Microsoft OneDrive subscribers get storage alerts on the Systems page in the Settings app. The alert appears when someone is close to their storage limit. You can also manage your storage and purchase additional storage in Settings. The build also combines Windows Spotlight with Themes on the Personalization page. This makes it easier to discover and turn on the Windows Spotlight feature.

Several bugs have been fixed, including one that stopped some modern applications from opening, and another that caused File Explorer to stop working when you close context menus and menu items.

There are two known issues in this update, both of which affect IT admins. In one, using provisioning packages on Windows 11, version 22H2 might not work as expected. In the other, copying large multiple gigabyte (GB) files might take longer than expected to finish.

(Get more info about KB5020044 Preview.)

KB5019980 (OS Build 22621.819)

Release date: November 8, 2022

This build fixes a bug in Windows Explorer in which Explorer failed to localize folders. It also includes a wide variety of security updates. For details, see Microsoft’s Security Update Guide and November 2022 Security Updates.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

There are two known issues in this update, applicable to IT admins, including one in which file copies using Group Policy Preferences might fail or might create empty shortcuts or files using 0 (zero) bytes. Known affected Group Policy Objects are related to files and shortcuts in User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings in Group Policy Editor.

(Get more info KB5019980.)

KB5018496 (OS Build 22621.755) Preview

Release date: October 25, 2022

This build adds Task Manager to the context menu when you right-click the taskbar. It is not yet enabled on all PCs, and will roll out in the coming weeks. Microsoft says the build also “enhances search visual treatments on the taskbar to improve discoverability.” Only a small group of people will get this feature right away. It will be deployed more broadly over the next few months.

The build also fixes a variety of bugs, including one that caused vertical and horizontal line artifacts to appear on the screen, and another that stopped the credential UI from displaying in IE mode when you use Microsoft Edge.

There are two known issues in this build that affect IT admins, including one in which copying large multiple-gigabyte files might take longer than expected to finish.

(Get more info about KB5018496 Preview.)

KB5019509 (OS Build 22621.675)

Release date: October 18, 2022

This build, Microsoft’s first “moment” update for Windows 11, introduces several new features, the most significant of which is the addition of tabs in File Explorer like those in browsers. Among other File Explorer improvements are the ability to pin important files on its home page for easy access to them. You’ll also be able to see actions that colleagues take on your shared files.

In addition, with a new feature called Suggested Actions, when you copy phone numbers or future dates, Windows provides suggestions for what you might want to do with them, such as making a call with Teams or Skype or adding an event in the Calendar app.

The new taskbar overflow menu shows all of your taskbar apps on a single menu entry. Also, there are new sharing features, letting you discover and share to more devices.

(Get more info about KB5019509.)

KB5018427 (OS Build 22621.674)

Release date: October 11, 2022

This build includes a wide variety of security updates. For details, see Microsoft’s Security Update Guide and October 2022 Security Updates.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

There is one known issue in this update, applicable to IT admins, in which files copied using Group Policy Preferences might fail or might create empty shortcuts or files using 0 (zero) bytes. Known affected Group Policy Objects are related to files and shortcuts in User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings in Group Policy Editor.

(Get more info KB5018427.)

Windows 11 KB5017389 (OS Build 22621.608) Preview

Release date: September 30, 2022

This build for Windows 11 22H2 fixes a wide variety of bugs, including one that caused updates to the Microsoft Store to fail, another that stopped you from signing in to various Microsoft 365 apps, and another in which Task Manager stopped working when you switched between light and dark mode or changed the accent color.

(Get more info about KB5017389 Preview.)

Windows 11 2022 Update (version 22H2)

Release date: September 20, 2022

Version 22H2, called the Windows 11 2022 Update, is the first feature update released for Windows 11. Here’s a quick summary of what’s new:

  • The Start menu now lets you create folders to organize your apps. You can now also choose from three layouts for the menu.
  • The Task Manager has gotten a visual facelift and includes a new efficiency mode that lets you limit how many resources specific apps use.
  • You can now open File Explorer directly into OneDrive, and you can also see at a glance OneDrive’s sync status, total capacity, and total space used — and get quick access to settings and options for managing storage.
  • Multiple new touchscreen gestures have been added, including for toggling the Start menu and minimizing apps.
  • The Clipchamp free video editor now comes as part of Windows 11.
  • In Snap Layouts, you can now drag a window to the top of the screen and then drop it into a snap layout. In addition, Task View (Windows key + Tab) will show your Snap Groups so you can easily switch between them.

There are also these changes for IT and businesses:

  • Sys admins get some new group policies for controlling the Start menu, taskbar, and system tray for their users.
  • Sys admins also get a new group policy default with an account lockout policy to offer additional protections to Remote Desktop Protocol and other brute force password vectors.
  • Security has been enhanced in several ways that protect against malware, ransomware, and more sophisticated attacks.

For more information about Windows 11 22H2, see our in-depth review.

Updates to Windows 11 original release (version 21H2)

KB5017383 (OS Build 22000.1042) Preview

Release date: September 20, 2022

This build adds more dynamic Widgets content to the taskbar with notification badging. When you open the Widgets board, a banner appears at the top of the board. It provides more information about what triggered the notification badge.

The build also fixes a variety of bugs, including one that caused a “blue screen of death” after you changed the display mode while using more than one display. It also fixes a bug that forced the IE mode tabs in a session to reload.

(Get more info about KB5017383 Preview.)

KB5017328 (OS Build 22000.978)

Release date: September 13, 2022

This build fixes a bug in Microsoft accounts (MSA) in which the web dialog that you use to sign in or sign out might not appear. This issue occurs on devices that have installed KB5016691.

The build also includes a wide variety of security updates. For details, see Microsoft’s Security Update Guide.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

There are two known issues in this update, including one in which XPS Viewer might be unable to open XML Paper Specification (XPS) documents in some non-English languages, including some Japanese and Chinese character encodings.

(Get more info KB5017328.)

KB5016691 (OS Build 22000.918) Preview

Release date: August 25, 2022

This build gives IT admins the ability to remotely add languages and language-related features. Additionally, they can now manage language scenarios across several endpoint managers. It also enhances Microsoft Defender for Endpoint’s ability to identify and intercept ransomware and advanced attacks.

It also fixes a variety of bugs, including one that caused ServerAssignedConfigurations to be null in a few full configuration scenarios, and another that caused Microsoft Edge to stop responding when you use IE mode.

There is one known issue in this build: After installing this update, XPS Viewer might be unable to open XML Paper Specification (XPS) documents in some non-English languages, including some Japanese and Chinese character encodings.

(Get more info about KB5016691 Preview.)

KB5016629 (OS Build 22000.856)

Release date: August 9, 2022

This build fixes a bug that can prevent opening the Start menu. It also includes a wide variety of security updates. For details, see Microsoft’s Security Update Guide.

What IT needs to know: Because this is a security update, it should be applied relatively soon. Over the next few weeks, check for reports about problematic issues, and if all seems well, apply the update.

There is one known issue in this update, in which IE mode tabs in Microsoft Edge might stop responding when a site displays a modal dialog box, which is a form or dialog box that requires the user to respond before continuing or interacting with other portions of the web page or app.

(Get more info about KB5016629.)

KB5015882 (OS Build 22000.832) Preview

Release date: July 21, 2022

This build lets you receive urgent notifications when focus assist is on, and gives you the option to update to a newer Windows 11 version at the very first startup of Windows if your device is eligible. It also fixes a variety of bugs, including one that prevented troubleshooters from opening, one that caused port mapping conflicts for containers, and another that caused Windows to stop working when you enable Windows Defender Application Control with the Intelligent Security Graph feature turned on.

There are two known issues in this update, including one which IE mode tabs in Microsoft Edge might stop responding when a site displays a modal dialog box. In the other issue, after installing this update, some devices might be unable to open the Start menu. On affected devices, clicking or selecting the Start button or using the Windows key on your keyboard might have no effect.

(Get more info about KB5015882 Preview.)

KB5015814 (OS Build 22000.795)

Date: July 12, 2022

This build addresses an issue that redirects the PowerShell command output so that transcript logs do not contain any output of the command. That means the decrypted password is lost. The build also includes improvements made in the KB5014668 update.

There are two known issues in this update, one in which after installing the update, some .NET Framework 3.5 apps might have issues or might fail to open. In the other, after installing this update, IE mode tabs in Microsoft Edge might stop responding when a site displays a form or dialog box that requires the user to respond before continuing or interacting with other portions of the web page or app.

(Get more info about KB5015814.)

KB5014668 (OS Build 22000.778) Preview

Release date: June 23, 2022

This build adds IP address auditing for incoming Windows Remote Management (WinRM) connections in security event 4262 and WinRM event 91. This addresses an issue that fails to log the source IP address and machine name for a remote PowerShell connection.

The build also introduces search highlights — daily notable events and anniversaries and, for corporate customers, updates from your organization. Search highlights will roll out to Windows 11 customers over the next several weeks.

The build also fixes a wide variety of bugs, including one that affected the Cloud Clipboard service and prevented syncing between machines after a period of inactivity. It also fixes a bug that failed to hide the Windows Sandbox startup screen after Sandbox starts to run.

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