The latest Windows 11 previews are packed with design changes

    Microsoft is still making rapid changes to Windows 11 ahead of the expected 22H2 update later this year. Now, a few more design updates have been rolled out in preview builds.

    Microsoft started rolling out three new builds to Windows Insiders today. The most prominent version is Build 25169, now available in the Dev Channel, which adds Windows Spotlight to the system theme selector. Spotlight is a feature on Windows 10 and 11 that adds a new wallpaper every day to the lock screen, and back in June, Microsoft added an option in Windows 11 to use Spotlight for the desktop background. The new theme option is just a quicker way to enable Spotlight on the desktop, instead of diving into the Background menu.

    Windows 11 Spotlight Themes

    The new Dev Channel update has some other improvements. Some tasks for apps that open the old Control Panel, such as uninstalling apps with dependencies and repairing Win32 apps, now run in the new Settings app instead. To be most of to the point where the Settings app could completely replace the Control Panel, but Microsoft still has some work to do.

    Two other new updates are rolling out in the Beta Insider Channel – Build 22622 has the new features enabled, while Build 22621 disables them by default. There’s a new add-ons menu in the taskbar, which was quickly finalized when it appeared on 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 to see the rest of your apps – a much needed improvement for small screens (or who don’t close anything).

    Windows 11 taskbar additional item menu image

    Microsoft is also testing more content in the taskbar widget button. The company said in a blog post, “in addition to viewing live content from the weather widget, you will also begin to see live updates from the sports and financial widgets, along with scenes breaking news”. Microsoft says that if you don’t interact with options that are not weather related, the taskbar widget will automatically fall back to reporting only weather.

    Windows 11 stock widget image

    Finally, Microsoft is bringing back the new ‘Open With’ dialog, which first appeared back in March, but was pulled shortly after due to “some performance issues”. The current menu is unchanged from Windows 10, while the new design is more in line with Windows 11 and matches the current light/dark theme. The option to change the default application for a particular file type is also clearer, with ‘Always’ and ‘Only Once’ buttons, instead of checkboxes and ‘OK’ buttons.


    These changes are still being tested in the Windows 11 Development and Beta Channels, so there’s no telling when (or if) they’ll be rolled out to everyone. If there are no major issues, they may give a deadline for this year’s major 22H2 update.

    Source: Windows Insider Blog (1, 2)

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