Windows 11 22H2: "Continous innovation delivery" will be shipped in March 2023

Windows[German]In addition to preparing the Windows Insider Program for testing Windows 12, Microsoft just announced another new feature. With the March 2023 update, a new approach for Windows 11 22H2 called "continuous innovation delivery" will come into effect. In this way, Microsoft wants to tip innovations "under the table" onto the user systems via Windows Update.


Windows 11: Continuous innovation is coming

A part from the changes to the Windows Insider program (see Microsoft's new Windows Insider Canary Channel – Preparing for Windows 12?), the following tweet from Harjit Dhaliwa, Product Marketing Manager for Windows Commercial at Microsoft, caught my eye.

Windows 11: Continuous innovation

In the Techcommunity post Continuous innovation coming to Windows 11 in March, he describes that in Windows 11, version 22H2, Microsoft plans to deliver new features and improvements more frequently via ordinary updates.

How is this different from an annual feature update?

In the Techcommunity post, the product manager describes some details about this approach in a FAQ and tries to explain the question about how it differs from feature updates. So, there should still be annual feature updates n the second half of the year for Windows 11. The release of feature updates is tied to a support lifecycle: 24 months of support for the Home and Pro editions and 36 months of support for the Enterprise and Education editions.

The "continual innovations" that are unleashed on the users do not have to follow these cycles. Microsoft's developers can then let off steam on the user systems as a playground. When asked why new features are rolled out continuously instead of waiting for a feature update, the product manager writes in typical Microsoft bullshit bingo:


We've received feedback that users expect more from their Windows experience. By delivering new features more frequently through maintenance updates, we can help organizations benefit from improved security, productivity and collaboration in a proven, reliable way that doesn't sacrifice quality.

Can this be managed?

Organizations using Windows Update for Business (WUfB) or WSUS can control which Windows updates are offered to managed devices through a new client policy. By default, Microsoft disables all features distributed via Windows Update for managed devices until they are released as part of the next annual feature update. For example, the new touch-optimized taskbar (and collapsed taskbar behavior) would be disabled by default. IT administrators can enable them as needed using the new client policy.

Wait, that's the Moments 2 update after all

With the monthly quality update from March 14, 2023, Microsoft wants to make Windows 11 22H2 fit for it. Who installs the preview update of February 2023 would have to be the update described in the article Windows 11 22H2: Preview Update KB5022913 (Feb. 28, 2023) has these innovations ready. Microsoft lists the following new features:

  • New accessibility features: Seamless switching between Narrator and other screen readers when using Braille display; voice commands work in all applications and in File Explorer
  • Energy usage recommendations: Better control over default settings and tips for reducing energy consumption
  • Snipping Tool improvements: Integrated screen recorder with auto-save feature
  • Windows Studio Effects improvements: Search and adjust quick settings (eye contact, background blur, voice focus, and automatic framing) directly from the taskbar

The Techcommunity post mentions other new features for enterprise environments.

  • Search in the taskbar: Faster, more relevant and consistent results across the web, applications and files. For configuration details, see ConfigureSearchOnTaskbarMode.
  • Hover over all icons in the notification area (formerly known as the taskbar) and easily rearrange them, including the Show Hidden Icons flyout menu.
  • Touch-optimized taskbar for 2-in-1 devices: Easily switch between an expanded and reduced taskbar to free up more screen space when needed.
  • Faster search and recommended local and cloud files in File Explorer.
  • Support for multiple tabs in Notepad
  • AI-powered recommended content (e.g., files) in the Start menu (Windows 11 Pro and later)
  • Management of and access to cloud PCs via the Windows 365 app. The Windows 365 app is generally available in the Microsoft Store.
  • Simplified enrollment for students via existing third-party providers (Windows 11 Pro Education, SE, and Education editions).

These were basically the new features I presented in the blog post Windows 11 22H2: Moments 2 update KB5022913 brings many new features as well in the article Windows 11 22H2: Preview Update KB5022913 (Feb. 28, 2023).

Innovations until the crash?

When I see the explanations about the new Canary Channel in the Windows Insider Program (see Microsoft's new Windows Insider Canary Channel – Preparing for Windows 12) as well as the outline of the Moments 2 updates (see Windows 11 22H2: Moments 2 update KB5022913 brings many new features) and read about "continous innovation delivery", I wonder if Microsoft isn't escalating the chaos even further at the moment.

Actually, they said that they would suspend the semi-annual feature updates, go to annual feature updates and release a new Windows major version every three years because customers want it that way. Now, the feature update circus is supposed to be introduced through the update backdoor via continuous innovation delivery.

For administrators in companies, there is now definitely another level of features to be monitored for updates, which are to be configured and managed in Windows Update for Business (WUfB) or WSUS. Optimists then assume that the Microsoft people have the stuff under control and that no mistakes will happen with increasing complexity. Pessimists, on the other hand, expect increased chaos. I belong (from experience) rather to the latter faction.

In good old tradition, the monthly updates should be more frequent and the term "quality update", which Microsoft uses, will become a running gag. You can already get some ideas in the articles about the KB5022913 update (see links at the end of the article).

Many users simply want an operating system that fulfills the basic needs of "executing programs and security" – and not a shooting gallery of fake innovations. How all this stuff – including the march towards the cloud – will affect compliance with the GDPR from a European perspective will also have to be answered.

Once again, it boils down to "Microsoft knows what's good for the users and provides forced gratification", because the administration via WUfB or WSUS is nothing other than an opt-out. If one takes the position that "innovations are good after all", an opt-in would be the agony of choice. The innovations could then be obtained by the user as an optional feature via the settings page or as an extension from the store, if required. Or how do you guys see it?

Similar articles:
Is Microsoft working on Windows 12 and Windows Server 2025?
New hints about Windows 12 from Intel
Microsoft's new Windows Insider Canary Channel – Preparing for Windows 12
Windows as a service: Future feature updates only every 3 years?
Windows 10: Is Microsoft planning yearly feature updates?
Windows 11 22H2: Moments 2 update KB5022913 brings many new features
Windows 11 22H2: Preview Update KB5022913 (Feb. 28, 2023)
Windows 11 22H2: Moments 2 update KB5022913 causes startup problems with third-party GUI tools

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