Microsoft Releases the Windows 11 KB5040442 Cumulative Update

A great big collection of Windows 11 improvements that were previously limited to beta testers are now available everyone. The Windows 11 KB5040442 cumulative update is currently rolling out to 23H2 and 22H2 installations with new Start menu functionality, expanded file archive options, a revived “show desktop” button, and an obligatory advertisement for Game Pass.

The most notable changes in Windows 11 KB5040442 are tucked within the Start menu and taskbar. A new account management submenu, which contains security recommendations, active Microsoft subscriptions, and account settings shortcuts, now appears when you click your profile photo in the Start menu.

You’ll also find that the “show desktop” button, which was previously replaced by a Copilot shortcut, has returned to its home at the right-hand side of the taskbar. However, you may need to manually re-enable this feature by right-clicking the taskbar, entering “Taskbar settings” and navigating to “Taskbar behaviors.”

File management is another major focus of this release. You can now create 7-Zip and TAR archives from the File Explorer, and there’s a new compression wizard hidden in the “Additional options” right-click submenu. Files can now be copied to the clipboard from Windows Share menu, and a thin black border now highlights any items you’ve selected in File Explorer.

Interestingly, Microsoft isn’t going overboard with AI in Windows 11 KB5040442. Copilot has been pinned to the center of the taskbar and now behaves like a proper app instead of an awkward popup menu, but that’s the extent of new AI functionality. And, notably, the updated Copilot behavior is currently limited to new Windows 11 and Copilot+ PCs.

Other small changes include a new Game Pass advertisement on the Settings home page, spellcheck in Notepad, and Emoji 15.1 implementation across the Windows 11 operating system (with a unique option that lets you flip some emojis from left to right). Developers also gain an improved VFP for troubleshooting Windows nodes and OneDrive RemoteApp access in Azure Virtual Desktop.

As for bugfixes, Microsoft addressed a GPU idling bug and an audio quality issue in the Snipping Tool. The taskbar bug that affected Windows N edition users after the previous KB5039302 release has been fixed too.

Windows 11 KB5040442 is now rolling out to all compatible PCs. As this is a mandatory security update, it should install automatically, though you can manually trigger the installation in Windows Updater. Microsoft also offers offline installations for this release.

Source: Microsoft via Windows Latest

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