Microsoft is still making rapid changes to Windows 11 ahead of the anticipated 22H2 update later this year. Now a few more design updates have landed in preview builds.
Microsoft started rolling out three new builds to Windows Insiders today. The most bleeding-edge version is Build 25169, now available in the Dev Channel, which adds Windows Spotlight to the system theme picker. Spotlight is the feature on Windows 10 and 11 that adds a new wallpaper each day to the lock screen, and back in June, Microsoft added an option in Windows 11 to use Spotlight for the desktop background too. The new theme option is just a quicker way to enable Spotlight on the desktop, instead of diving into the Background menu.
The new Dev Channel update has a few other improvements. Some tasks for applications that open the old Control Panel, such as uninstalling applications that have dependencies and repairing Win32 apps, now run in the new Settings app instead. We’re almost to the point where the Settings app can fully replace the Control Panel, but Microsoft still has some work to do.
The other two new updates are rolling out in the Insiders Beta Channel — Build 22622 has new features enabled, while Build 22621 has them off by default. The new overflow menu in the taskbar is present, which has quickly graduated from arriving in the Dev Channel last week. When the taskbar runs out of space for app icons, a new button with three dots appears, which you can click on to see the remaining applications — a much-needed improvement for small screens (or people who don’t close anything).
Microsoft is also testing more content in the widget button on the taskbar. The company said in a blog post, “in addition to seeing live content from the weather widget, you’ll also start to see live updates from the sports and finance widgets, along with breaking news alerts.” Microsoft says if you don’t interact with the non-weather options, the taskbar widget automatically goes back to only reporting the weather.
Finally, Microsoft is bringing back the new ‘Open with’ dialog, which first arrived back in March, but was pulled shortly afterwards due to “some performance issues.” The current menu is unchanged from Windows 10, while the new design fits in more with Windows 11 and matches the current light/dark theme. The option to change the default app for a specific file type is also clearer, with ‘Always’ and ‘Just once’ buttons, instead of a checkbox and an ‘OK’ button.
These changes are still being tested in Windows 11’s Dev Channel and Beta Channel, so there’s no telling when (or if) they will roll out to everyone. If there are no major issues, they could make the deadline for this year’s major 22H2 update.