Finally a New Windows 11 Build (NI_RELEASE 22557) Drops! Calling It Feature-Rich Would Be an Understatement

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Microsoft's Windows development team is releasing a new build to Insiders in the Dev Channel after a couple of weeks of break. Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22557 won't be offered to ARM64 PCs.

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22557 to the Dev Channel comes from NI_RELEASE, which is a name change for the branch Dev Channel builds usually come from. "The branch in which we release builds from to Insiders in the Dev Channel is irrelevant to the features and improvements included within them," Amanda Langowski and Brandon LeBlanc write. "Going forward we will no longer be noting when these branch changes occur."

Windows 11 Build 22000.706 (KB5014019) Is Out for Release Preview Channel

Here's what's new in Windows 11 Insider Build 22557

Create and curate folders in the pinned apps area of Start

We’ve heard from many of you that you’d like to customize your pins in Start by organizing them into folders, so we’re introducing the first version of folders in this build. Simply drag an app on top of another to create a folder. You can add more apps to a folder, rearrange apps within a folder, and remove apps from a folder. Keep an eye out for further improvements like the ability to name and rename folders in one of our upcoming builds.

Start showing pinned apps organized into folders.

Introducing Do Not Disturb and Focus

We’ve reimagined focus experiences on Windows. Do not disturb makes it easy to silence notifications. Focus is a new experience that enables everyone to stay in the moment and minimize distractions on their PC. To help you stay on track, focus integrates with the Clock app for other focus tools, such as a focus timer and calming music.

Do not disturb:

It’s now easier than ever to silence notification banners with do not disturb. When you are ready to see the notifications that you may have missed, you can find them in Notification Center.

How do not disturb appears when turned on in Notification Center.

You are always in control of your notifications. Under Settings > System > Notifications, you can set up rules to automatically turn on do not disturb. For example, you could set do not disturb to automatically turn on outside of your work hours. Additionally, you can set priority notifications to control whether calls, reminders, and specific apps break through when do not disturb is on.

You can personalize do not disturb in Settings > System > Notifications.

Focus:

It is easy to start focus right from Notification Center (click on the time and date in the taskbar):

  1. Open Notification Center.
  2. Select the amount of time for your focus session.
  3. Press Start Focus.
Focus session in progress with taskbar badging off, the focus timer on screen, and do not disturb will turn on.

When you start a focus session, taskbar badging will turn off, flashing of applications in the taskbar will turn off, a focus timer will appear on screen, and do not disturb will turn on. Focus in Windows integrates with focus sessions in the Clock app, so you can play calming music and see a task list from Microsoft To-Do. When your focus session ends, you will receive a notification letting you know your focus time has completed. You can personalize your focus experience (Settings > System > Focus).

Live Captions

Live captions will help everyone, including people who are deaf or hard of hearing, better understand audio by viewing captions of spoken content. Captions are automatically generated on-device from any content with audio. Captions can be displayed at the top or bottom of the screen, or in a floating window. The caption window can be resized, and caption appearance can be personalized by applying or customizing a caption style. Microphone audio can be included, which can be helpful during in-person conversations. Live captions support English (U.S.) content.

Live captions (launched from Quick Settings Accessibility flyout) generating captions for a video playing in the web browser.

To get started, live captions can be turned on with the WIN + Ctrl + L keyboard shortcut, or from the Accessibility flyout under Quick Settings. When turned on the first time, live captions will prompt for download of the required speech model to enable on-device captioning.

Improving Quick Access in File Explorer

We are rolling out an update to File Explorer’s Quick Access view. First, “Pin to Quick Access” support has been extended from only supporting Folders to now also supporting Files. Pinned files are shown in a new section above Recent files in Quick Access.

Quick Access in File Explorer now supports pinning files and will show files hosted in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams.

Next, for users who log into Windows with (or attach as a secondary account) a Microsoft Account or Work/Education account, Pinned and Recent files from Office.com will also be shown in Quick Access. Changes that pin or unpin files hosted in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams will sync and be reflected in Office.com and Office apps. File activity updates from collaborators such as edits, and comments are shown in Tiles view and can also be shown in Details view.

See your OneDrive storage in File Explorer

Backing up your files and managing your cloud storage is important for the safety of your stuff. To help you have control over storage consumption and ensure your files are syncing, we’ve added OneDrive integration into File Explorer. When browsing your OneDrive folders, you can now see your sync status and quota usage without having to leave File Explorer.

OneDrive storage as shown in File Explorer when navigating to OneDrive folders.

ALT-TEXT: OneDrive storage as shown in File Explorer when navigating to OneDrive folders.

New Touch Gestures

This build includes 5 new touch gestures to make it easier and quicker to navigate Windows 11 on a PC with touch:

Swipe to invoke and dismiss Start: Swipe with your finger from the middle of the taskbar to invoke the Start menu and swipe back down to dismiss it.

Swipe with your finger from the middle of the taskbar to invoke the Start menu and swipe back down to dismiss it.

Swipe between Pinned/All apps and Recommended/More on Start: Within Start, swipe right to left from Pinned to get to All apps and left to right to get back to Pinned. The same gesture works for Recommended/More.

Within Start, swipe right to left from Pinned to get to All apps and left to right to get back to Pinned. The same gesture works for Recommended/More.

Swipe to invoke and dismiss Quick Settings: Swipe with your finger from the bottom right of the taskbar to invoke Quick Settings and swipe back down to dismiss it.

Swipe with your finger from the bottom right of the taskbar to invoke Quick Settings and swipe back down to dismiss it.

Swipe to invoke and dismiss Notification Center: We’ve updated the animation when swiping to invoke and dismiss Notification Center from the right edge of your screen so that it’s more responsive and follows your finger.

We’ve updated the animation when swiping to invoke and dismiss Notification Center from the right edge of your screen so that it’s more responsive and follows your finger.

Full screen gripper: In full screen touch-oriented apps and games (e.g., Solitaire), notice a gripper that appears if you swipe from the edges of the screen. This feature is designed to keep you in your app if you accidentally swipe near the edges. If you need to access edge content, simply swipe again on the gripper.

In full screen touch-oriented apps and games (e.g., Solitaire), notice a gripper that appears if you swipe from the edges of the screen.

Note that these gestures are reversed in Right to Left languages. Any swipe from the right becomes a swipe from the left and vice versa.

Improving Snap Layouts

We’ve added a new way to snap windows into snap layouts that works wonderfully with both touch and mouse! To try it out, just drag a window to the top of the screen to reveal the snap layouts, drop the window on top of a zone to snap it, and use snap assist to finish building your layout.

Just drag a window to the top of the screen to reveal the snap layouts, drop the window on top of a zone to snap it, and use snap assist to finish building your layout.

On top of all that, we’ve also improved snap assist to seamlessly animate between zones in a layout for a delightful end-to-end snapping experience.

More sustainable power settings and recommendations

The default values for Sleep and Screen off have been updated to reduce energy consumption, and carbon emissions, when PCs are idle. We will also provide power saving recommendations to help reduce carbon emissions to those with Sleep and Screen off set to Never.

Power saving recommendations shown in Settings to help reduce carbon emissions to those with Sleep and Screen off set to Never.

The changes to default Sleep and Screen off settings will only be seen by those clean-installing Windows 11 with this build or higher. If you intentionally set Sleep or Screen off to Never, please let us know why, especially if sleep is not working as expected. We’re still working on the content that the “Power consumption and carbon emissions” options links to – stay tuned for future updates.

More improvements to browsing the web in Microsoft Edge with Narrator

Building off the collection of improvements for Narrator and Microsoft Edge from Build 22509, we have been working on more improvements to web browsing with Microsoft Edge and Narrator. Specifically, when navigating the web more useful information is provided, navigating dialogs is more natural, and editing text should now be more reliable.

When navigating the web, you can have Narrator read the current item (e.g., current page, current time etc.) and when you need to sort a table on the web, Narrator will announce the sort order you’ve selected (e.g., ascending, descending).

We also made it simpler to know when an item is selected in a tree view control and to know the state of a checkbox when these are part of a list. We also improved link navigation, and you will find that tabbing through links on a webpage and pressing Enter will always take you to the link destination.

When you encounter a dialog box on the web, Narrator will help you stay focused within the dialog box and prevent navigation to the content that’s behind it. This improvement is currently available in Microsoft Edge Canary builds.

Lastly Narrator has a few improvements for when you are editing text on the web. First, if you are deleting text on a form field, Narrator will read the character that was deleted and if you need to cut a large set of text with Control + X, Narrator will confirm that the text has been cut.

Task Manager Redesign & Efficiency Mode

We have updated the design of Task Manager to match the new Windows 11 design principles. This includes a new hamburger style navigation bar and a new settings page. A new command bar on each page gives access to common actions. We are also excited to bring dark theme to Task manager and will automatically match the system-wide theme configured in the Settings app.

The updated design of Task Manager in dark theme.

Last April, we experimented with a new feature called “Eco mode” in Task Manager and we’re bringing this back with a new brand name: Efficiency mode. This feature is helpful when you notice an app consuming high resources and would like to limit its consumption so that the system gives priority to other apps which will lead to faster foreground responsiveness and better energy efficiency.

The new Suspended and Efficiency mode icons as they appear in Task Manager.

You can apply Efficiency mode either by clicking on the command bar in the Processes page or right click on the process. You can only apply Efficiency mode to single process and not to the entire group process.  If the option is grey out, it generally means that it’s a core Windows process and throttling it might affect the performance of the system. The Efficiency mode process will be marked with a new leaf icon, and we are also introducing new pause icon for Suspended process to indicate the process is in suspended mode

[We are beginning to roll this change out, so it isn’t available to all Insiders just yet as we plan to monitor feedback and see how it lands before pushing it out to everyone.]

Introducing a new PowerShell module to provision language and language related features

This new PowerShell Module allows users to easily add languages and related language features and manage settings like System Preferred UI Language, System Locale, Input method (Keyboard), Locale, Speech Recognizer, User Preferred Language List using the PowerShell prompt. These commands work in conjunction with the existing International PowerShell Module to provide the user control over various elements of the UI language on a PC.

 Note: To run the Install and Set commands you must run PowerShell as an administrator.

To do this Command
Install a language on the PC. Install-Language

Note: Please restart or log out and log back in for changes to take effect. Once you log back in, please change your Windows display language (WDL) via Settings > Time & language > Language & region to change the UI language on the PC. You can also change your WDL by using the international module commands (Set-WinUILanguageOverride ).

Params:

Language: The bcp47 tag of the language being installed.

CopyToSettings (optional): If included, set the system and default device settings (WDL, regional, locale format) to the provided language following the installation.

Get a list of the installed languages on the device, which type of Language Pack is installed, and what Language Features are installed. Get-InstalledLanguage

Alias: Get-Language

Params:

Language (optional): filters the list to only show the given language.

Set a language as the System Preferred UI Language Set-SystemPreferredUILanguage

Alias: Set-PreferredLanguage, Set-SystemLanguage

Params:

Language: The bcp47 tag of the language being installed

Get the value of the current System Preferred Language. Get-SystemPreferredUILanguage

Note: Please restart or log out and log back to see the changes reflected in the new language. Additional user accounts created on the same system will reflect the new system language.

Alias: Get-PreferredLanguage , Get-SystemLanguage

Uninstall a language on the PC. Uninstall-Language

Params:

Language: The bcp47 tag of the language being installed.

There are tons of other improvements, changes, and fixes dropping with today's Windows 11 Insider Preview Build. Don't forget to check those along with the general fixes and known issues in the official blog post.

- Microsoft had also dropped new features for non-Insiders last night

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