With the Windows 11 2022 Update — which some may know as Windows 11 22H2 — finally going live, Microsoft has detailed what sort of gaming-specific improvements it has introduced to its operating system with this version. This includes the new Controller Bar, optimizations for playing games in windowed mode that was only available on full screen before, HDR optimizations, and more.
The new Controller Bar overlay can be activated by pressing the Xbox Wireless Controller's Xbox button or the equivalent button on a compatible third-party controller.
Coming with a look similar to the Xbox Game Bar, the Controller Bar offers quick access to helpful functions such as recently played games and installed game launchers (Xbox, Steam, EA Play, etc.). However, unlike the Xbox Game Bar, this feature can be easily controlled using a connected controller without having to reach for a mouse.
Microsoft has also made improvements to how DirectX 10 and 11 games are handled by Windows 11 when playing in windowed and borderless windowed modes. Players can expect "dramatically improved" display latencies with the 2022 Update similar to playing their games in full screen.
On the same note, Auto HDR and Variable Refresh Rate features can now be used in games when using windowed modes, something that was locked to full screen before. Head here for a breakdown on these optimizations and how to tweak the different available settings for each game.
Speaking of HDR, Microsoft has introduced an HDR Calibration app to help players improve the color accuracy and consistency of their HDR displays. Adding to that, the Windows 11 2022 Update sees Auto HDR support being expanded to include even more games, further storage configurations — like RAID 0 — receiving DirectStorage support, and DirectX 12 Ultimate enhancements.