Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Microsoft announces a cornucopia of Windows 11 improvements, including AI audio and photo tools, widget enhancement and more


Windows 11 logo on a laptop

Windows 11 users have a host of new features to look forward to, as well an enhancements to existing components. Everything from AI-powered Generative Erase and Silence removal through voice shortcut improvements to new sharing options, there few areas of the operating system that are not getting attention.

The rollouts start today and continue over the coming month, and users can also expect a new widgets experience, better Snap suggestions for screen organization and more. Today’s announcement also sees Microsoft unifying the Windows Update for Business deployment service with Autopatch into a single update management solution.

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The arrival of Generative Erase in the Photos app makes light work of removing unwanted elements from photos thanks to the power of AI. Adding a audio twist to this idea is Clipchamp Silence Removal Preview:

Gaps in conversation are natural in real life, but awkward in a video. With the addition of Clipchamp Silence Removal, removing those gaps in the audio track is easy. The preview of Silence Removal in Clipchamp starts to become available today.

Anyone using Windows 11 in conjunction with an Android phone has new options coming their way. Landing soon is the ability to access recent photos stored on your phone from Windows 11, as well as the option to use your handset as a webcam in video conferencing apps.

Microsoft shares details of other improvements that are coming to Windows 11:

Intelligent Snap suggestions: Make the most of your screen real estate with new personalized layout suggestions. Snap suggestions help you quickly organize open apps based on how you use them, making it even easier to get things done.

Widgets: Many of us experience information overload from time to time, but still need to stay up to date on the information we care about most. Now with the new Widgets board experience, you are able to create a focused board and organize your Widgets into distinct categories – whether for work or play. If you’re looking to catch up on current events, you’ll find the familiar experience currently available through your feed located right in the discovery dashboard.

Windows Ink: Windows Ink enables natural writing on pen-capable PCs. With this update, we are expanding the number of apps and languages available to Windows Ink to include your favorites like Photos, Paint, WhatsApp and Messenger, all offering greater flexibility for where you ink or type.

Share content to more 3P Apps: Need to share your favorite vacation photo with a friend on Snapchat? Windows 11 has expanded the file sharing options to include additional apps like Snapchat and Instagram, with more apps coming soon.

There are a couple of voice-related enhancements to help improve the accessibility of Windows 11. There is now much better support for multiple monitors, and the newly added ability to create custom voice commands.

But it doesn’t end there.

Aware that enterprise users need a software update process that is as simple and connected as possible, Microsoft is promoting Windows Patch. The company says:

Windows Autopatch will now become the unifying Windows update management solution, providing a single way in which organizations can manage updates while maintaining the highest level of control. Windows Autopatch provides the update solution for Windows PCs, Microsoft 365 applications, Microsoft Edge and Teams, and will now leverage AI to program the necessary updates and reduce the impact on team productivity.

Microsoft says that the new features of Windows 11 will roll out from today as part of a controlled feature rollout to users who have opted to receive updates as soon as possible. It adds: “Most of these new Windows 11 features will be enabled by default in the March 2024 optional non-security preview release for all editions of Windows 11, versions 23H2 and 22H2. IT admins who want to get the new Windows 11 features can use the enable and control optional updates policy to enable optional updates for their managed devices”.

Image credit: vadimrysev / depositphotos

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