Microsoft has completed its Windows Powers the Future of Hybrid Work event, announcing several new features for its Windows 11 operating system. The new features mostly focus on security and cloud integration enhancements for the systems, aiming at hybrid workspaces.
Cloud PC features
Microsoft is ramping up its efforts for providing additional cloud-based features for its Windows 365 product. Windows 365 is an operating system streaming service similar to the game stream services; especially GeForce Now. It allows users to run Windows 10 or Windows 11 Cloud PCs on top of Azure Virtual Desktop. One of the features Microsoft adding to this product is the ability to quickly switch between the local PC and cloud-based Windows 365. In addition, users will be able to run their Cloud PC via the native Windows 365 app on their local machines.
One of the most impressive features is the upcoming Offline mode for Windows 365. With this feature, clients will be able to keep their operating system running even if the internet connection shuts down. When it connects back, the OS will be able to sync its state with the servers. Syncing a whole operating system with its running apps seamlessly should be a very, very challenging task. Lastly, the users will have the option of directly booting into the Cloud PC instance when they start their systems.
Microsoft has promised to bring significant security updates that add more protection in a future release. One of the new security features they will be bringing is enhanced phishing protection, utilizing Microsoft Defender SmartScreen. The clients will be warned when they try to enter their sensitive information into a malicious app or website. They have also mentioned the Personal Data Encryption feature which encrypts users’ files for protection and decryption via the Windows Hello authentication system. In addition, clients will have the option to block vulnerable drivers automatically with the upcoming vulnerable driver blocklist feature. The Smart App Control will be enhanced to block users from running malicious apps as well.
Microsoft is finally redesigning File Explorer to integrate the Tabs feature into it. Users will be able to open several folders in one File Explorer window without having to mess around with several separated windows. They are also enhancing Windows 11 search capabilities with Context IQ AI, bringing new contextual suggestions. The new Live Captions accessibility feature can deliver system-wide captioning from all apps.
The incapable Start Menu of Windows 11 is finally getting some new features such as the ability to create folders as well. It is hard to call that a “new feature” because it was around since Windows 8. The Focus feature for managing and optimizing the notifications is being redesigned as well, giving users more options. It will also have a periodic break feature, named Focus Sessions.
Microsoft did not provide exact dates for those under-development features. However, they are expected to be implemented with the Windows 11 22H2 update.