Before you know it, Windows 11 22H2 will be here

And Windows 10 22H2 will arrive this fall, as well. Are you ready?

Windows 11 promo image

Windows 10 22H2 and Windows 11 22H2 are in the final stretches before they are officially released. While Windows 11 22H2 may have a few cool features that I’m looking forward to, including additional protection against ransomware (more about this next week), I realized I haven’t paid attention to the features coming in Windows 10 22H2. So I looked for documentation about what is included in it and quickly figured out why I couldn’t remember anything major — because Microsoft hasn’t said much about it.

What it has indicated, and actually this is a good thing, is that the Windows 10 22H2 upgrade from 22H1 will be an “enablement” package — it uses a minor bit of code to enable the new features. Users already have the bulk of the 22H2 “features” already on their PCs waiting to be turned on. As Microsoft blogged on July 28, the release has a “scoped set of features” that it will share more details about later. (The company is already offering a preview to validate the release process.)

Windows update notification Microsoft

Windows 10 22H2 isn't out yet officially, but there are ways to install and test it now.

You can try it out now if your Windows 10 computer is signed up for the Insider channel and you opt to participate in the release preview channel. Click on “check for updates” to put your PC in “seeker mode” and offer you Windows 10 22H2. If you are a business user (Windows 10 professional) you can actually get support for this release preview version. The installation didn’t take a huge amount of time, nor did I see any initial visible changes. That said, upon reboot I got a notification that Windows couldn’t find the program Microsoft.YourPhone. (Note: I wasn’t using that application before the install.)

Microsoft.YourPhone error message Microsoft

Oops. Windows said it couldn’t find the program Microsoft.YourPhone after an update. 

Because this computer is running Windows 10 Professional, I reported the issue to Microsoft.  I then rebooted a second time, and the message did not show up. But clearly this is why the company is still beta testing the software. These deployment issues don’t cause major problems usually, but the final install testing process is designed to ferret out these kinds of issues.

As an aside, these days I do not recommend anyone purchasing or using a system without an SSD drive as your boot drive. Anyone with older hard drives will find that their system is getting slower and slower, with sub-par performance.

So what exactly will Windows 10 22H2 bring? Often, for those of us in small businesses, few features are introduced that we can use. In last year’s 21H2 release, the bulk of the new features were for enterprise users and could only be effective with certain licenses or were only needed in specific use cases.

As a reminder ,21H2 included:

  • New WPA3 H2E standards support for enhanced Wi-Fi security.
  • Windows Hello for Business support for simplified password-less deployment models for achieving a deploy-to-run state within a few minutes.
  • GPU compute support in the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Azure IoT Edge for Linux on Windows (EFLOW) deployments for machine learning and other compute intensive workflows.

What 21H2 did bring was a lifecycle end date of October 2023 and two years of support beyond that date. Microsoft will continue to support at least one Windows 10 release until Oct. 14, 2025. (Whether 22H2 will be supported through 2025, or whether we receive another release before then, remains unclear.)

The most compelling feature I see in 22H2 is a very boring extension of the support window. While that may excite those of us who have to  patch and maintain systems — we actually want nice, boring updates and feature releases — it’s not going to excite anyone else.

I will recommend the move to Windows 10 22H2 once it’s been released, but not right away. For now, I recommend you use use local group policy or registry keys to keep yourself on the current version of Windows for the time being. (I wrote about how to do this last year if you want detailed instructions.)

I’m expecting that, due to the sheer number of people still on Windows 10 with hardware that won’t support Windows 11, Microsoft will offer extended support for the older OS that will be easy to opt into. I know that at home and in my office, I have very few machines that officially support Window 11 so I won’t be upgrading them.

To reiterate: I’ll encourage users to install Windows 10 22H2, but only  after waiting a month or so to ensure there are no major issues. Because it doesn’t include many changes, it should be a painless upgrade for those of us looking forward to a nice, quiet, uneventful feature release process.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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