In our previous article about Windows Server 2022 we covered the new features. In this post we will take a look at what changes were made in graphics, the user experience, and settings.
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New graphics

In general, there were no major changes in the graphic design. It is still the same old Windows 10/Windows Server 2019. The only thing I have noticed is that the icons in the Start menu are a bit nicer looking.

New icon design in the Start menu

New icon design in the Start menu

After going a bit deeper in personalization settings, I found that you can now enable Light mode on Windows Server 2022, the same as is available in Windows 10. I suppose this is a matter of taste. I prefer Dark mode.

Windows Server 2022 Light mode

Windows Server 2022 Light mode

The last thing I noticed was a small change in the system settings. Some of the radio buttons were replaced by checkboxes, for example, in the Multitasking section.

Microsoft Edge

Edge is now available as the default browser in Windows Server 2022. There's good news for those who do not intend to browse the web from a server installation—it can be uninstalled. This can save you from some unwanted updates.

Settings and user experience

A small change was made to the Alt+Tab option in Multitasking settings. According to available options, pressing Alt+Tab should also show all or recent tabs in Edge. It seems this option is not yet working, as the tabs were not shown. Well, we are in preview, right?

AltTab options

AltTab options

Several new options were added to the Tablet mode settings. They are related to a situation when you have a touch screen device, but you are using classic desktop mode, not tablet mode. Honestly, I have never used tablet mode on a server installation. Most of the server-related work is done on virtual machines, and connecting to a VM via remote desktop from my tablet just offers a standard desktop experience. Does anyone know what this is good for?

Notifications & Actions has a new edit interface for quick actions. Those are edited directly in the notification center, unlike previous versions, where they were edited in Settings.

New editing interface for quick actions

New editing interface for quick actions

The ability to project to this PC, aka Miracast, available since Windows 8.1, really grabbed my attention. If you are not familiar with Miracast, it allows you to stream the screen over WiFi to an external TV or monitors. I can't really imagine how this would be used in reality. Who would like to project his PC or phone screen to a server screen?

Some new options were also added to the Storage and About sections of the settings. However, those are mostly just links to different tools such as Device Manager, Advanced settings, etc.

Last, but definitely not least, is time zone configuration. I'm sure most of you remember the bug that prevented time zone change from the settings, which was not fixed for ages in Windows Server 2019. It was described well in this post by Wolfgang. This issue was finally fixed, and the time zone can now be configured from the settings.

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Time zone change finally fixed in Windows Server 2022

Time zone change finally fixed in Windows Server 2022

Final words

I'm not quite sure what to think about the changes we have covered today, even though we are still in preview. Transporting desktop features such as tablet mode, light theme, or Miracast to a server installation, especially in a world where almost everything is virtualized, does not make a lot of sense to me. All the small tweaks in the settings do not really offer a better work experience. What is your opinion? You can download Windows Server 2022 preview from Insider Portal.

  1. Al B 2 years ago

    Seems to me that with the target market likely being small consultants like you and I they assume it could be installed in a laptop or Surface for testing purposes. So having all the desktop features that can be turned on and off is ok. Would be nice to see at installation a choice of "bare server functionality" and "full desktop server" functionality. Maybe it does. You haven't covered the install process yet.

    • Author
      Leos Marek (Rank 4) 2 years ago

      Hi Al,

      not sure I understand your comment. If I want to test something, I will use a VM on my laptop or my test server.

      The installation is still the same. You have option to install server core or a full GUI server.


  2. Al 2 years ago

    Oh. ok. I thought you meant that the default was full GUI server. If it is, I can understand why they wouldn't bother to fine tune GUI issues like colors or tablet mode. Someone could be using a Surface tablet for training purposes on the product and might want to walk around a room while casting it to a screen. MSFT does a lot of demos around the world, I can see why if one wanted a GUI version they would leave that in. For myself, I'm glad I don't have to work on servers anymore and can focus on cloud installations. All the best! Thanks for the review. 

  3. Bo Geitz (Rank 2) 2 years ago

    I'll never understand why they hide file extensions by default on a server OS.

    • Author
      Leos Marek (Rank 4) 2 years ago

      Hehe good topic. Actually its also recommended to show extensions on desktops for security reasons.

  4. Bee Bop 2 years ago

    So what if they offer a full GUI? I don't get your complaint. smiley  Sometimes Windows Server is installed more as a workstation/server than a headless thing. In that case, it's nice to have the bells and whistles if one might be working at it all day. 

    • Author
      Leos Marek (Rank 4) 2 years ago

      I would not say I ever complained about full GUI. I also use it of course. I just gave my opinion on things like tablet mode etc 🙂

  5. Timothy Atwood 2 years ago

    Do you know if the release can be installed on a laptop as the base O/S? Looks like ti is demanding ECC RAM which of course a laptop does not contain!

    • Author

      Sorry for late reply. Id say it should be no problem. It can be run on a VM inside a standard laptop, so I would say it can also be run as a base OS.

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