Microsoft Releases Windows 11 Version 22H2 for Testing by Orgs
Microsoft on Tuesday announced that a preview of Windows 11 version 22H2, build 22621, is now available for organizations to validate, prior to its commercial release.
New Windows 11 operating system releases, called "feature updates" by Microsoft, now arrive just once per year, typically in the fall. The actual expected commercial release date of Windows 11 version 22H2 wasn't described in the announcement, though.
Also, the new features in Windows 11 version 22H2 weren't described. The usually detailed Windows blog, also released on Tuesday, didn't describe them.
Microsoft's announcement is meant as a signal for IT pros to test Windows 11 version 22H2 before it reaches the "general availability" commercial-release stage. There's an incentive for IT pros to do so under the Windows Insider for Business testing program. Microsoft is promising "free support for commercial organizations" that run this build under the program.
"This means you can test this release -- and your preferred deployment methods --while remaining supported prior to general availability," explained Aria Carley, a senior program manager on the Windows Update team.
On a related note, for IT pros just interested in testing new Windows developments without getting support, Microsoft on Monday announced an expanded "Windows Customer Connection Program" for IT pros, which apparently is new.
Windows 11 version 22H2 build 22621 can be accessed via Windows Update (for "seekers"), Windows Update for Business, Windows Server Update Services, the Windows Insider Program preview downloads page and the Azure Marketplace for testing in a virtual machine (although this link failed to work at press time).
Even though Windows 11 feature update releases are now just released once per year, Microsoft has alluded to other update processes that it expects to implement and will be coming to the operating system. These three update processes include:
- Feature Experience Packs -- for feature improvements outside of regular feature update releases
- Online Service Experience Packs -- for "broad improvements across multiple areas of Windows" and
- Web Experience Packs -- for Microsoft Store apps updates.
Those three additional Windows 11 update mechanisms are somewhat obscure. They were unearthed by veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley, and explained in this February Ziff-Davis article.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.