Windows 11 update aka Sun Valley update is the next major update for Windows 10 targeted at October 2021. In fact this release will be officially called Windows 11 October 2021 update or Windows 11 version 21H2. On this page, we have collated all the probable changes and new features Windows 11 update aka Sun Valley update may bring.
Just keep in mind that not all of the features and changes listed on this page may make it to the final release build of Windows 11 update aka Sun Valley update. You can bookmark this page to refer back to see the collated changelog for Windows 11 update aka Sun Valley update. We will keep it updated with new features as and when they are leaked or released.
Windows 11 version 21H2 update: Release Date
Windows 11 update aka Sun Valley update has RTMed in July 2021. This will be followed by a public release on October 05, 2021, as confirmed by Microsoft officially now. New Windows 10 PC users will get the update in October 2021 if they seek it but most of other existing Windows 10 PCs will get it starting 2022 if they meet the minimum requirements.
Windows 11 download (ISO download) & minimum requirements
You can click here to download the official Windows 11 ISO images if you want to install it on your Windows 10 PCs. Just keep in mind that Microsoft recommends installing Windows 11 on only those PCs that meet the minimum requirements.
Windows 11 Wallpapers download
32 Windows 11 wallpapers in high-quality. Yes, these 32 wallpapers include touch keyboard theme wallpapers too.
This collated Windows 11 full and massive changelog is divided in three sections:
- Windows 11 version 21H2 update all new features & changes
- Windows 11 Insider build changes & new features
- Leaked/Teased Windows 11 features
Windows 11 version 21H2 update all new features & changes
Windows 11 Start screen UI changes, rounded corners:
Windows 11 is the marriage of Windows 10X UI with Windows 10. The default start screen is very similar to the Windows 10X start screen (Check the feature image above). Here is your first look at Windows 11 start screen and other updated UI elements like context sensitive menus. Rounded corners are here with Windows 11. If you don’t like the centered start screen UI, you can move it to left to get the traditional Windows 10 start screen.
Windows 11 Action Center & Settings UI:
These screenshots reveal how the Windows 11 Action Center and Settings UI have changed. Both look quite pretty in the new Windows 11 avatar.
Windows 11 Setup experience:
Even the setup looks very similar to Windows 10X setup experience. Check the screenshots below providing first look at the Windows 11 OOBE experience.
Windows 11 File explorer:
Windows 11 packs a revamped File explorer with a modern and cleaner look with new UI design elements. Once you start playing with the new File explorer you will notice visual changes like,
- All new and fresh icons are seen everywhere, even in options.
- Revamped top bar with shiny new icons for actions like New item, cut, copy, paste, rename, share, delete and menu icons for arrangement/sorting options, layout options and general options.
- The layout options in the Windows 11 File explorer house many advanced options including compact view, preview page, navigation pane, details pane. You can also add item check boxes if you need them.
- The context menu has changed too and you can check the demo to see it in action
- Though Microsoft has not drastically changed the basic File explorer structure, the overall user experience has been improved with the interface changes.
Windows 11 multitasking improvements:
Windows 11 seems to have snapped a cool new way to multitask with many Windows. It is easy to snap the Windows with options popping up with just a hover over the maximize button. Check the screenshot below that shows the new multitasking method of Windows 11.
Windows 11 brings Snap layouts and Snap groups with two columns for easier multitasking. Now, in a document Microsoft has explained that the Snap layout on larger displays (larger than 24 inches and at 1920 effective pixels) will have Snap layouts with 3 columns of zones. The displays smaller than 24 inches will have Snap layouts with 2 columns of zones. The Snap Layouts can be invoked either by hovering on the maximize button or by doing Win + Z.
Microsoft has now provided first look at one more upcoming Windows 11 feature known as “Focus sessions”. The new feature termed as “game-changer” by Panos Panay comes with Spotify integration, it seems.
Panos Panay today posted another tweet that has a short video demoing the Windows 11 Focus sessions feature. It seems that Focus sessions will provide user a time-window to focus and accomplish a task on-hand without interruptions. It will options to have or skip any breaks. With Spotify integration one may be able to enjoy any desired music that may help in boosting productivity.
Check the short first look video below.
Another first look from the team…#FocusSessions on #Windows11 coming soon. This has been a game-changer for me, especially with @Spotify integration #Productivity #Creativity #WindowsInsiders pic.twitter.com/HfJh4niDiS— Panos Panay (@panos_panay) August 5, 2021
Animated lock-screen background:
Windows 11 supports animated lock-screen background on PCs that have accelerometer. The setting to enable this feature is still work in development as the toggle appears with a blank space in place of description. This toggle is only available for PCs with accelerometer. So, if your PC supports the feature you can go to Settings–>Personalization–>Lock screen and enable the toggle without any text.
The Archive apps feature can be toggled on and off. When enabled it will archive apps not used frequently to save storage space and internet bandwidth. Though files and other data for archived apps will be saved and not deleted. If you happen to use an archived app by chance in future, it will connect to the internet to restore app’s full version.
Start icons & folders:
You can change which icons including Computer, Recycle Bin, Network, User’s Files and Control Panel will appear on the Desktop of your Windows 11 PC. Head over to the personalization settings to make changes.
You can also decide which folders appear next to the power button on Start. Options include Settings, File explorer and others.
Windows 11 brings beautiful and quite functional Battery usage graphics.
Aero Shake toggle:
Coming to the Aero Shake toggle here is what the feature does. If you toggle the Aero shake on and grab a Windows’s title bar and shake it, it will minimize all other windows.
Microsoft will offer tips, tools and services based on how you intend to use your PC. You can choose the options in Personalization.
Paste as plain text:
If you open clipboard history by using (WIN + V) and click the … button next to any text-based entry in your clipboard history – you will now see a “Paste as plain text” option alongside pin and delete. When you use this action in clipboard history, it pastes the text content of the clipboard without its original formatting (font, color, size etc.), allowing it to match the formatting of the destination document.
New store experience:
Windows 11 and Windows 10 both will get a new Microsoft store experience. Not only the store has a revamped look, but Microsoft has also partnered with Amazon to bring Android apps and games to Windows. Here are the major store changes in the words of Microsoft.
- Get introduced to the best apps and games with curated stories and collections
We want the Microsoft Store to be the place to get all your favorite apps – including the ones you haven’t heard about…yet! We are introducing Stories, rich editorial content to keep you informed about the best apps and inspire you to achieve more with your device.
- Run your favorite Android mobile games and apps on Windows
We also announced a partnership with Amazon to bring their catalog of Android apps and games to Windows. Windows customers will be able to discover Android apps in the Microsoft Store, and acquire them through the Amazon Appstore.
- A “pop-up” store that helps install apps from the web
With the new pop-up store, we are making it easy to install apps from the browser; when you click a Microsoft Store download badge on a web page, the Microsoft Store will pop up to manage the install – without pulling you away from what you were doing.
Windows 11 Gestures & Windows re-sizing animation demo:
Short videos shared on Twitter demo the new Windows 11 touch gestures and Windows resizing animations. Touch gestures look nice but may help more refinement. The Windows resizing animations look really neat, however.
Windows 11 gestures pic.twitter.com/ndtOKgeNnE— ADeltaX (@ADeltaXForce) June 15, 2021
Nice animations when resizing windows. pic.twitter.com/1HUXtaoP9X— NTDEV (@NTDEV_) June 15, 2021
Windows 11 Meet & Chat button:
There will be a button called Meet & Chat in the taskbar (just like Search or Dashboard) that will launch Microsoft Teams it seems. There is no such button so far in the leaked build but code digging reveals that Microsoft may enable this Meet & Chat button in future builds.
Windows 11 Wake on Touch:
Windows 11 supports a setting for “Wake on Touch” similar to the Windows Mobile 10 feature. This will allow the PC running Windows 11 to wake up only after touching the screen.
Windows 11 multi-monitor improvements:
Windows 11 brings two long-awaited multi-monitor improvements. “Remember window locations based on monitor connection” and “Minimize windows when a monitor is disconnected” are new multi-monitor improvements that Windows 11 users will be able to use.
Windows 11 update official demo/intro video:
Windows 11 version 21H2 update new apps experience
Leaked/Teased Windows 11 features
Windows 11 three taskbar sizes:
Windows 11 will have option to enable three taskbar sizes just like Windows 10X. The taskbar sizes are mentioned as: Small, Medium/Default and Large. Check the images below that show the small and large taskbar sizes.
In case you have already installed the leaked build and want to know how to change taskbar size, here is how you can do it.
To change your taskbar size, use this registry key: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced TaskbarSi With the following values: 0 = Small 1 = Medium / Default 2 = Large
Disabling Recommended section :
Windows 11 comes with a brand-new Start Menu with two sections: Pinned apps and Recommended. The recommended section has received mixed reviews with many not accepting its prominent place on the Start menu.
Now, if code digging leading to disabling of the recommended section by a Redditor has to be taken into account, it seems Microsoft is already working to make it an optional feature. The Redittor in question has debugged “StartMenuExperienceHost.exe” in the Windows 11 insider build 22000.120. He found some new options that allow to hide the recommended section of Start Menu.
The below image shows how the Start Menu looks like once you hide the recommended section. It is in fact a welcome change desired by many insiders who wanted to ditch recommendations.