Windows 11: an update guide

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On 5 October 2021, Microsoft has announced the availability of Windows 11, which started as a slow and gradual rollout, is expected to reach all eligible devices by mid-2022. But launching Windows isn’t the end of a process, it’s really just the beginning. As with Windows 10, Microsoft continually works to improve 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 publicly released update for Windows 11. For each build, we’ve included its release date and a link to Microsoft’s announcement about it. The most recent updates appear first.

Note: If you are still using Windows 10, see “Windows 10: an update guide. “And if you’re looking for insider program previews for upcoming versions of Windows 11 features, see”Windows 11 Insider Previews: What’s in the Latest Build? “

Updates to the original version of Windows 11

KB5007215 (OS Build 22000.318)

Release date: November 9, 2021

The build includes a wide variety of security updates. For details, see Microsoft Security Update Guide and the Notes on the November 2021 security update. It also fixes a bug that causes some UI elements to render incorrectly or when drawing within some apps. And it makes quality improvements to the servicing stack, which is the component that installs Windows updates.

What IT needs to know: As this is a security update, it should be applied relatively quickly. Over the next few weeks, check the problematic issue reports and, if everything looks good, apply the update.

(More information on KB5007215.)

KB5006746 (OS Build 22000.282) Preview

Release date: October 21, 2021

This non-security build fixes a wide variety of bugs, including one that caused distortion in audio captured by voice assistants and another in Windows Defender Exploit Protection that prevented some Microsoft Office applications from running on computers with certain processors.

There are two known issues in this build, including one where Windows print clients may encounter errors when connecting to a shared remote printer on a Windows print server after installing the build.

(More information on KB5006746.)

KB5006674 (OS Build 22000.258)

Release date: 12 October 2021

This build fixes a bug related to compatibility issues between some Intel “Killer” and “SmartByte” networking software and Windows 11 (original version). It also improves the quality of the servicing stack, which is the component that installs Windows updates.

The build also includes a wide variety of security updates. For details, see Microsoft Security Update Guide and the Notes on the October 2021 security update.

What IT needs to know: As this is a security update, it should be applied relatively quickly. In the next few weeks, check the problematic problem reports and, if everything looks good, apply the update.

(More information on KB5006674.)

Original version of Windows 11

Release date: October 5, 2021

Windows 11 is the first new version of Windows released by Microsoft since July 2015, when it launched Windows 10. Here is a brief summary of what’s new. (For more details, see our in-depth review of Windows 11.)

  • The Start menu has been redesigned and streamlined and the Live Tiles have been eliminated. It’s now easier to find applications to start and files you’ve been working on recently.
  • Snap Layouts allows you to group open windows into one of half a dozen predefined screen layouts. Snap Groups helps you to quickly switch between Snap Layouts.
  • The look of Windows has been revamped, with rounded windows, more vibrant animations, and a softer overall feel. Some built-in apps, like File Explorer, have a simpler and easier-to-use interface.
  • You can chat and video conferencing directly from the taskbar using Microsoft Teams. However, it is not the full service of Teams, so the full suite of enterprise Teams features, such as the use of channels and the ability to search message archives, is not available.
  • Cortana is still available in Windows 11 but does not appear in the system tray and is not enabled by default.

For IT, these characteristics are remarkable:

  • Windows 11 requires hardware with an integrated Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 for security. TPM uses hardware-based encryption to encrypt disks using Windows features such as BitLocker and can block dictionary attacks against passwords, among other features.
  • Windows 11 has a once-a-year feature update schedule instead of the two-year cycle in Windows 10. This will reduce update time, effort and headaches.
  • To ensure that business applications and other software can run on Windows 11, Microsoft has released Evidence base for Microsoft 365, an automated testing tool for checking application compatibility.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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