Windows 11 build 22631.2050 (KB5028256) rolls out in Beta Channel

Microsoft releases new preview of Windows 11 in the Beta Channel with a slew of new features and changes expected to arrive with version 23H2.

Windows 11 KB5028256
Windows 11 KB5028256
  • Windows 11 22H2 receives builds 22621.2050 and 22631.2050 (KB5028256) in the Beta Channel.
  • This update introduces new File Explorer features, Dynamic Lighting settings, and a new volume mixer.
  • Also, you’ll find improvements for Spotlight, Windows Ink, Passkeys support, File Sharing, and more.

Windows 11 build 22631.2050 (KB5028256) is now rolling out with a slew of new features enabled by default expected to arrive with version 23H2, and the preview build 22621.2050 (KB5028256) with features turned off by default for computers enrolled in the Beta Channel.

Build 22631.2050 for Windows 11, according to the official changes, continues to roll out parts of the new version of File Explorer, including redesigned Home, address bar, and Details pane. It brings “Dynamic Lighting” to the Beta Channel, improves the Windows Ink experience, and introduces a new volume mixer interface for the Quick Settings flyout.

In addition, build 22631.2050 rolls out some changes for Spotlight, introducing a new experience to preview images you can set as background and learn more details about the picture. The update also brings passkey support, allowing users to create and use passkeys with the Windows Hello experience. Furthermore, the release brings new natural voices in Chinese, Spanish (Spain and Mexico), Japanese, and English (United Kingdom), improvements for local file sharing, and more.

Windows 11 build 22631.2050 new features

Here are the new features and improvements rolling out with build 22631.2050:

File Explorer

Starting on build 22631.2050, File Explorer features a new “Home” page that uses the new Windows UI Library (WinUI). On devices signed in with an Azure Active Directory (AAD) account, the Home page will now show file recommendations in a carousel view with support for thumbnails (coming soon). Quick Access folders (for Microsoft accounts), Favorites, and Recent also bring in an updated experience with WinUI.

File Explorer new Home an header
File Explorer new Home and header / Image: Microsoft

File Explorer now includes visual updates for the address bar and search box (header). The new address bar can now recognize local versus cloud folders with a new status that will appear on the left side. Also, the address bar will now show the sync status for OneDrive files, and as you hover over the icon, a new flyout will open to display the correct storage quota.

File Explorer file location indicator
File Explorer file location indicator / Image: Microsoft

File Explorer also introduces a modernized details pane designed to help you easily access contextual information about the file, including file thumbnail, share status and button, file activity, related files and e-mails, and other information.

File Explorer details pane
File Explorer details pane

You can easily open and close the pane with the “Details pane” button on the top-right corner. Microsoft is even assigning a new “Alt + Shift + P” keyboard shortcut.

Dynamic Lighting

In the “Personalization” section, the Settings app now includes a new “Dynamic Lighting” page that brings native support to control RGB lighting devices implementing the open HID LampArray standard without third-party tools.

Dynamic Lighting settings
Dynamic Lighting settings / Image: Microsoft

Microsoft says that this new implementation is meant to improve the RGB device and software ecosystem by increasing the interoperability of devices and apps. In this release, developers will find APIs for Windows apps to control devices from the background and foreground, a page in the Settings page for users to customize how their devices behave.

Microsoft is also partnering with several manufacturers to implement Dynamic Lighting, including Acer, ASUS, HP, HyperX, Logitech, Razer, and Twinkly. Some of the supported devices include ASUS ROG Scope II Wireless 96 Gaming Keyboard and Razer (BlackWidow, DeathStalker, Huntsman, Ornata, and Turret Keyboard Xbox One Edition). Also, for mice, currently, you can control the RGB lighting on the ASUS ROG Harpe Ace AimLab Edition Gaming Mouse, Microsoft Pro IntelliMouse, and Razer (Turret Mouse Xbox One, DeathAdder, Naga Left-Handed, and Naga Pro).

Windows Ink

The software giant also points out that as part of the Windows Ink improvements, it’s now possible to use handwriting in text fields. In addition, the update rolls out improvements for accuracy and a scratch-out gesture for when users need to make edits.

The improvements are currently only available in English (U.S.), and you can manage the experience from Settings > Bluetooth and devices > Pen and Windows Ink under “Shell Handwriting.”

Quick Settings new volume mixer

Windows 11 also ships with a new enhanced volume mixer in Quick Settings. The new experience brings a modern volume mixer that allows quick audio customization per app, with additional control to swap devices on the fly.

New volume mixer
New volume mixer / Image: Microsoft

In addition, the company has added a new “Windows key + Ctrl + V” keyboard shortcut to open the volume mixer for faster control of the experience.

Furthermore, the development team made enabling the Windows Sonic experience easier with a quick access list of installed spatial sound technology.

Spotlight for desktop improvements

Microsoft is also adding new design changes for the Spotlight icon on the desktop that include an updated hover full-screen interface with rich information about the background image and a minimized experience. 

Spotlight new UI
Spotlight new UI / Image: Microsoft

In both cases, the experience will include 4K portrait images and the ability to learn more about each desktop image.

Passkey support

Starting with build 22631.2050, Windows 11 improves the passkey experience by allowing users to create and use passkeys with the Windows Hello experience. Once a passkey is created, users can use Windows Hello (face, fingerprint, PIN) to sign in. In addition, users can use their phones to complete the application login process.

The enrollment process involves going to a website that has enabled passkeys on Windows 11. Create a passkey from your account settings. And sign out of your account and sign in using your passkey.

On your phone, you can load a website that has enabled passkeys. Create a passkey from your account settings. And then, go to the website on Windows 11 and sign in using your passkey saved on your phone.

In addition, the development team is adding a new “Passkeys” page on Settings > Accounts, which allows you to view, search, and delete your passkeys.

Currently, you can use the passkey experience in the Canary version of Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.

Unsafe password copy and paste warnings

Also, Microsoft is updating the Enhanced Phishing Protection in Microsoft Defender SmartScreen to show a warning when copying and pasting an unsafe password. This is in addition to showing a warning when typing a password.

File Sharing

On build 22631.2050, Windows 11 introduces various improvements for the interface to share files with others. For example, the interface has been redesigned to match the design language of Windows 11. You will now find a search box so you can search for contacts across Outlook to share a file. Instead of a dropdown, you will see a button to turn on the feature. And your computers will be at the top of discovered devices under “Nearby Share.”

Nearby Sharing UI
Nearby Sharing UI

Furthermore, files will transfer faster using Wi-Fi Direct, and the company added “Share” to the context menu in File Explorer, in addition to having the share icon at the top of the context menu.

Settings app

As part of the Settings app improvements, Windows 11 update KB5028256 brings several improvements. 

On Settings > System > Power & battery > Energy recommendations, the page adds more energy recommendations for adjusting the refresh rate to conserve energy.

On Settings > Personalization > Taskbar, you can now find the never combined mode for the Taskbar under the “Taskbar behaviors” setting.

On Settings > System > For developers, you will now find an option to enable the “End task” feature for the Taskbar context menu.

On Settings > Apps > Startup Apps and Settings > Apps > Advanced App Settings > App Execution Alias pages to be more consistent with other Settings pages.

Windows Narrator

In this release, Windows 11 is introducing new natural voices in Chinese, Spanish (Spain and Mexico), and Japanese and English (United Kingdom) that allow Narrator users to comfortably browse the web, read and write mail, and do more. The new Spanish (Spain) voices are Microsoft Alvaro and Microsoft Elvira and Microsoft Jorge, and Microsoft Dalia for Spanish (Mexico).

The new Chinese voices are Microsoft Xiaoxiao (Female) and Microsoft Yunxi (Male), the new English (United Kingdom) voices are Microsoft Sonia(Female) and Microsoft Ryan (Male), and the new Japanese voices are Microsoft Nanami(Female) and Microsoft Keita (Male).

Other changes

The KB5028256 update also includes several other smaller changes. For example, when the camera streaming issue is detected, a notification will appear with the recommendation to launch the automated “Get Help” troubleshooter to resolve the issue.

Critical notifications that breakthrough when do not disturb is turned on while using apps at full screen will now display a “View notification” button to view the content of the notification for privacy.

When navigating between desktops in Task View, labels will be shown. New sliding animations will also show when you change your desktops using trackpad gestures, touch gestures, hotkeys, and by clicking on the Task View flyout.

The Unicode Emoji 15 rolls out, allowing users to see, search for, and insert new emoji from the emoji panel, and Voice access is now available via the accessibility flyout on the Lock screen.

Windows 11 build 22631.2050 fixes

This rollout also brings a bunch of fixes and improvements for both builds:

  • File Explorer: Fixed an issue which was causing the context menu (in file explorer or on the desktop) to draw in the wrong position (off screen or on the other monitor).
  • Task Manager: Right clicking the empty space in the Details page (aka so no process is actually selected) will no longer show the option to create live kernel memory dumps.

Also, Microsoft notes a couple of known issues for the Taskbar and Narrator.

Install build 22631.2050

To download and install the Windows 11 build 22631.2050, enroll your device in the Beta Channel using the “Windows Insider Program” settings from the “Update & Security” section.

Once you enroll the computer in the program, you can download build 22631.2050 from the “Windows Update” settings by clicking the “Check for Updates” button. However, you will need a device that meets the minimum system requirements to receive the update if you are new to the Windows Insider Program. If the device receives build 22621.2050, you can turn on the “Get the latest updates as soon as they’re available” toggle switch to switch to build 22631.2050.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].