Experimental

Windows 11 build 22557 outs with experimental features

Windows 11 receives a slew of experimental features with the release of build 22557.

Windows 11 build 22557
  • Microsoft releases Windows 11 build 22557 in the Dev Channel.
  • The flight packs a lot of features and changes.
  • Some features include Taskbar drag and drop, folders for Start, Do Not Disturb, Live Captions, and more.

Microsoft is rolling out the “Windows 11 build 22557” in the Dev Channel. This massive update introduces a slew of new features and improvements that the company may or may not decide to include in future releases of Windows 11.

According to the official notes, build 22557 for Windows 11 introduces the ability to create folders to group apps in the “Pinned” section of the Start menu. A new Focus experience, tweaks for the Quick Access feature in File Explorer, live captions, new touch gestures, and more.

Build 22557 for Windows 11 new features and changes

Here are all the new features, tweaks, changes, and refinements for Windows 11:

Start menu folders

Starting on Windows 11 build 2257, Microsoft is testing 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.

Start folders
Start folders

Do Not Disturb and Focus

On Windows 11, the “do not disturb” feature makes it easy to silence notifications banners. You can set up rules to automatically turn on do not disturb in the Notifications settings. For instance, you could set do not disturb to turn on outside of your work hours automatically. In addition, you can set priority notifications to control whether calls, reminders, and specific app breaks through when do not disturb is enabled.

Do not disturb
Do not disturb

As part of the “Focus” changes, to help you stay on track, the feature now integrates with the Clock app for other focus tools, such as a focus timer and calming music.

To start “Focus” is easy from the Notification Center by pressing the Start Focus button.

Start Focus
Start Focus

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. When your focus session ends, you’ll receive a notification letting you know your focus time has been completed. You can personalize your focus experience on Settings > System > Focus.

Live Captions

Live Captions is a new accessibility feature that allows anyone to 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.

Live Captions
Live Captions

In addition, Microsoft says that you can resize the caption window and personalize the caption appearance 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.

Use the Windows key + Ctrl + L keyboard shortcut or from the Accessibility flyout under Quick Settings to use Live Captions.

Taskbar improvements

Windows 11 build 22557 also brings changes to the Taskbar. For example, you can now drag and drop files between app windows by hovering over apps in the Taskbar to bring their windows to the foreground.

If you attach a file to an Outlook email by dragging it and hovering over the Outlook icon in the Taskbar to get the window to the foreground. Once in the foreground, drop your file into the email to attach it.

You can also customize your Taskbar with your favorite apps from Start’s All apps list by dragging and dropping over the Taskbar to pin them. And you can drag and drop to the desktop via “Show desktop” at the very left corner of the Taskbar.

Taskbar app drag and drop
Taskbar app drag and drop

Microsoft has added a new visual indication to the Taskbar in the share window feature, indicating which window is being shared. This is important when multiple applications run or split your attention across multiple monitors. When you choose to share a window in your Microsoft Teams call, the shared window will now be surrounded by a colored border.

On a computer configured with more than one color profile, you will be able to add a quick setting to switch more easily between these modes.

Color profile in Quick Settings
Color profile in Quick Settings (source: Microsoft)

When casting (Windows key + K) from your computer, a “Cast” icon will appear at the lower-left corner of your Taskbar to indicate you are casting. Clicking the icon will open the “Cast Quick Settings,” where you can quickly stop the stream.

Cast icon in Taskbar
Cast icon in Taskbar (Source: Microsoft)

Microsoft has also updated the battery charging indicator to use a lightning bolt instead of a power cable.

Battery indicator
Battery indicator (Source: Microsoft)

File Explorer improvements

In this flight, File Explorer is getting some improvements. For example, the “Pin to Quick Access” support is now available for files in addition to folders. Pinned files will appear in a new section above Recent files in Quick Access.

Quick access file pins
Quick access file pins

On a Microsoft Account or Work/Education account, Pinned and Recent files from Office.com will also appear in the “Quick Access” section.

Also, 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 the “Details” view.

File Explorer also comes with a new OneDrive integration to help you have control over storage consumption and ensure your files are syncing. When browsing your OneDrive folders, you can now see your sync status and quota usage without having to leave File Explorer.

OneDrive sync integration
OneDrive sync integration

Also, the app can now show previews of items within folders.

Explorer with folder preview
Explorer with folder preview

When sharing a local file in File Explorer to Outlook, it’s now possible to compose an email message directly within the share window without going into Outlook directly.

Share inline Outlook in Explorer
Share inline Outlook in Explorer (Source: Microsoft)

Snap layouts improvements

Microsoft is also experimenting with a new to snap windows into snap layouts for both touch and mouse. You can try it by dragging a window to the top of the screen to reveal the snap layouts, dropping the window on top of a zone to snap it, and using snap assist to finish snapping your windows in the selected layout.

Snap layouts top screen
Snap layouts top screen

Furthermore, the company has improved snap assist to seamlessly animate between zones in a layout for a better end-to-end experience.

Power management and recommendations tweaks

The default values for Sleep and Screen off are reduced to save energy and carbon emissions when the computer is idle. Windows 11 will also offer power-saving recommendations to help reduce carbon emissions to those with Sleep and Screen offset to Never.

New power management
New power management

New Task Manager design

Windows 11 has a new Task Manager with a design that matches the desktop style. This includes a new hamburger-style navigation bar and a new settings page. A new command bar on each page gives access to everyday actions. Microsoft has even added a dark theme for the new Task Manager.

Task Manager new design
Task Manager new design

Task Manager also now includes a new Efficiency mode (formerly “Eco mode”) feature that will come in handy when you notice an app consuming high resources and want to limit its consumption, allowing the system to prioritize other apps.

You can apply “Efficiency mode” by clicking on the command bar in the “Processes” page or right-click on the process. You can only use “Efficiency mode” for a single process and not 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 system’s performance.

The “Efficiency mode” process will have a new “leaf” icon, and there’s a new “pause” icon for “Suspended” processes to indicate the process is in suspended mode.

Windows Search tweaks

Searching for apps and settings in the Windows Search box on the Taskbar is faster and more accurate than before. Microsoft has also fixed an issue that prevented Windows users from searching for an app in the first few seconds after it had been installed.

Settings app changes

As part of the Settings app changes, Windows 11 improves results when searching for settings. Microsoft has increased the size of the icons in the Settings navigation pane to make them a bit easier to see.

Windows 11 now includes links in Settings to help customers find different programs to give their computers a second life or recycle it.

Storage Sense will now be enabled by default for computers going through OOBE. Your current settings will be persisted on the upgrade. You can configure your Storage Sense settings under System > Storage.

The company also updated the “Time & Language” category and “Date & time” pages to include a live digital clock and information about the currently selected option.

Time & language hero controls
Time & language hero controls

Also, this flight updates the design of Network & Internet > Dial-up when you have a connection set up to align with the overall design of Settings in Windows 11.

Finally, Microsoft made some adjustments to Personalization > Fonts to improve the design of the page, including that the drag and drop area for installing fonts is larger now.

Lock screen improvements

Windows 11 now comes with an updated accessibility flyout on the login screen to align with the new modern design principles.

Sign in screen accessibility menu update
Sign in screen accessibility menu update

Graphics improvements

Windows 11 build 22557 is expanding Dynamic Refresh Rate (DRR) experiences on laptops with 120Hz displays. When you move the cursor, the system will boost to 120Hz, making your computer feel more responsive.

Touch and pen interactions blend into smooth animations in Windows UI and apps UI. Smooth scrolling is now supported in Office and Microsoft Edge Canary and Windows UI like the Settings app.

The Windows HDR Calibration app is coming to computers soon to improve color accuracy and consistency on your HDR display. For easier access, you’ll be able to access this app through the Windows settings under System > Display > HDR.

This flight introduces a feature called “Optimizations for windowed games,” and it has been designed to improve latency and unlock other exciting gaming features, including Auto HDR and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). Latency improvements can benefit all gamers, from improving your input lag to creating a competitive edge in your gaming experience. Go to System > Display > Graphics > Change default graphics settings to enable the feature.

Input improvements

Microsoft is also working to improve the input experiences on Windows 11. For starters, build 22557 updates some of the emojis based on feedback, including the smile with tear emoji, sakura emoji, and colored heart emojis. It now also adds a few new items to the kaomoji section in Windows key + Period (.) based on feedback, including UwU.

Windows 11 now supports Hungarian for handwriting input as of this build. Also, the company is working on adding an IME On/Off key to the touch keyboard small layout for the Japanese, Korean, and Chinese Traditional IMEs. In addition, the team is adding small layout support for the Chinese Simplified Microsoft Pinyin and Microsoft Wubi IMEs.

Windowing changes

On Windows 11 build 22557, Microsoft has updated the snap group visuals to include the desktop wallpaper to make it easier to differentiate your groups from normal windows. This will appear when using ALT + TAB, Task View, and the Taskbar previews.

The Windows team has also updated the transition animation that shows going from one snapped window state to another. Rotating the computer between portrait and landscape orientation is snappier more responsive. And Microsoft has reduced the number of notification sounds that play when you connect and disconnect docks and monitors.

It is now easier to move the cursor and windows between monitors by letting your cursor jump over areas where it would previously get stuck. This behavior is controlled in settings on System > Display > Multiple displays > Ease cursor movement between displays.

Finally, Windows 11 also made minor changes to the snapping options under System > Multitasking to help simplify them and make them easier to understand.

Voice access improvements

As part of the Voice access experience, a new setting to add punctuation automatically when dictating text has been added. You can turn it on by clicking on the settings icon on voice access UI and selecting automatic punctuation from “manage options.”

Microsoft added a new setting to filter profanity. This is on by default, and any profane or sensitive words will be masked with an asterisk (*) when dictating text or commanding. You can turn it off by clicking on the settings icon on voice access UI and selecting filter profanity from “manage options.”

It is now easier to use the “show numbers” command as Microsoft has reduced the occurrence of number labels hiding the controls on windows UI and making it hard to understand the control under a number.

The company has improved feedback messages for unsupported languages and feedback messages for using voice access when you have multiple monitor setups.

Windows 11 also improves the discoverability of using the touch keyboard with your voice to enter passwords or PINs, correcting mistakes, and spelling out words using “correct that” and “spell that” commands.

Legacy title bar with Mica

Starting on build 22557, title bars for legacy components like in the Run dialog now use the Mica transparent material.

Legacy title bar with Mica
Legacy title bar with Mica

Wireless changes

TKIP and WEP are deprecated security standards, and Windows 11 will no longer allow connections to those types starting with this build.

Installation changes

Similar to Windows 11 Home edition, Windows 11 Pro edition now requires internet connectivity. If you choose to set up a device for personal use, a Microsoft account will also be required for setup. You can expect Microsoft Account to be required in subsequent WIP flights.

Touch gestures

Windows 11 build 22557 includes five new touch gestures to make it easier and quicker to navigate the desktop and apps with touch:

  • Swipe with your finger from the middle of the Taskbar to invoke the Start menu and swipe back down to dismiss it.
  • 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 with your finger from the bottom right of the Taskbar to invoke Quick Settings and swipe back down to dismiss it.
  • Microsoft 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.
  • In full-screen touch-oriented apps and games, you will notice a gripper that appears if you swipe from the edges of the screen.

Microsoft Edge with Narrator

This flight also improves navigating the web with more useful information, navigating dialogs is more natural, and editing text should now be more reliable when using Narrator with Microsoft Edge.

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

Windows 11 makes it simpler to know when an item is selected in a tree view control and the state of a checkbox when these are part of a list. Microsoft also has 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 behind it.

Furthermore, Narrator has a few improvements for editing text on the web. If you delete 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.

Also, as part of the “Narrator” experience, the feature now provides a new male natural voice called “Guy.”

In addition to these new features and improvements, Microsoft is also detailing many fixes and known issues that Insiders need to know before upgrading their devices.

Install Windows 11 build 22557

If you want to download and install the Windows 11 build 22557, you need to enroll your device in the Dev Channel using the “Windows Insider Program” settings from the “Update & Security” section.

Once you enroll the computer in the program, you can download build 22557 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.