Windows 11 2022 update schedule tipped — here's what to expect

Windows 11 logo on a laptop screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Windows 11 got its big Windows 11 2022 Update on September 20 — here's what’s new and how to get it.

Windows 11 has been available to the general public for nearly a year, and we've read credible reports that Microsoft plans to release a big update for its new operating system later this month on September 20. 

For some time, we thought this Windows 11 2022 update might be the only significant rollout of new features Windows 11 will get for the rest of the year, but new reports from a leaker with a good track record suggest Microsoft has a few more bite-sized treats in store for Windows owners before 2022 is over.

This news comes to us courtesy of Twitter user Albacore (via PCWorld), who recently postulated that Microsoft plans to follow up the big Windows 11 2022 update dropping September 20 with a series of smaller updates (or "Moments") which each deliver new features. 

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These new features could be anything. The biggest one coming in the first Moment — which Albacore believes is coming in October — features Tabs in File Explorer, the Windows 11 upgrade we've been waiting for since March.

Tabs in File Explorer were one of many upcoming Windows 11 features that Microsoft teased earlier this year. (Image credit: Microsoft)

This lines up with our own experience. You may have noticed that when I wrote about three of the coolest new features coming in the big Windows 11 2022 update, File Explorer tabs weren't on the list. That's because they don't appear to be part of the update; when I downloaded and installed the pre-release build of Windows 11 that's believed to be the same build Microsoft will release to general customers September 20, tabs in File Explorer were nowhere to be found. 

While File Explorer tabs likely aren't coming in the big Windows 11 2022 update dropping 9/20, you will get new features like the ability to create folders in the Start Menu. (Image credit: Future)

Now, thanks to some digging on the part of Windows devs and a bit of smart commentary from Albacore, we have good reason to believe File Explorer tabs are coming in October as part of a Windows 11 Moment. After that, Albacore expects the next big Windows 11 Moment to come in 2023. 

Windows 11 outlook

If this release schedule proves true, it's likely good news for folks who remain underwhelmed by Windows 11. In our Windows 11 review, I described the experience of upgrading as more refinement than revolution, and struggled to make a strong argument for why anyone should bother with moving to Windows 11 if they're happy with Windows 10.

Microsoft has since done a decent job of supporting and improving what was, at least at launch, an effective if not terribly compelling operating system. But frankly, Windows 11 needs more things to recommend it, and something as seemingly minor as adding tabs into File Explorer makes a huge difference to those who use the software every day.

This dearth of attention-grabbing elements means the prospect of moving to an annual update schedule peppered with bite-sized "Moments" of new features is a welcome one. Between the onerous installation requirements, the lack of key features at launch and the general tech headaches involved with upgrading, Windows 11 owners have had to put up with a lot of hassle to stay current with Microsoft's vision for what an operating system should be. It would be nice to see the company keep rolling out new features that make Windows 11 seem worth the trouble.

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.