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Windows 11 build 22581 drops as version 22H2 in the Beta Channel

Microsoft releases a nearly feature-complete version of Windows 11 22H2, and here's all you need to know.

Windows 11 build 22581 for version 22H2
  • Windows 11 build 22581 releases in the Beta and Dev Channels. 
  • The update ships with the version 22H2 reference.
  • It doesn’t introduce new features, but it includes the changes expected to ship with version 22H2.
  • This release signals that Windows 11 22H2 is almost complete.

Microsoft is now rolling out Windows 11 build 22581 for devices enrolled in the Dev and Beta Channel for the Windows Insider Program. Although this preview doesn’t introduce a slew of changes or new features, it’s a significant update because it’s the first preview with improvements expected to arrive as part of the Windows 11 22H2 update. It also signals that the development of the next version is nearly complete.

According to the official changelogs, build 22581 for Windows 11 rolls out the new collapsed and expanded version of Taskbar for tablets to all testers, and it introduces other fixes for the Taskbar, Start menu, Focus, File Explorer, Settings, and more.

Users with devices in the Beta Channel will receive many of the features already available in the Dev Channel that the company plans to roll out with version 22H2. For example, after installing build 22581, you will find new features, such as Live Captions, redesigned Task Manager, Start menu with folders, new optimization for tablets, and more.

Build 22581 for Windows 11 changes and fixes

Here are the fixes for Windows 11 build 22581:

Taskbar

  • Made a fix for another issue causing taskbar previews to use the wrong fonts for the window title in languages other than English.
  • Drag and drop to taskbar should now work with auto-hidden taskbars.
  • When dragging something to pin to the taskbar, the message on the dragged item (for example, displaying an X if it’s not supported) will now have rounded corners.
  • Mitigated an issue where swiping to collapse the tablet-optimized taskbar might invoke the widgets board unexpectedly.

Start menu

  • Fixed an issue that was sometimes causing the search box in the top of Start to flicker.
  • Mitigated an underlying issue where if you swiped to open the All apps list, sometimes it would think that you’d tapped one of the letter headers in the All apps list.
  • Updated the context menu when right-clicking a pinned app to say “Move to front” rather than “Move to top”, so it’s clearer what will happen.

Focus

  • A Clock app update (version 11.2202.24.0 and higher) has rolled out that fixes the issue where the Clock app was unable to update the Windows Focus state when configuring focus sessions in the Clock app.

File Explorer

  • Fixed a few cases where icons were missing next to entries in the context menu and command bar (for example, for the Next Desktop Background entry in the context menu if you right-click the desktop while using a background slideshow).
  • Made some small adjustments to some of the icons used in the context menu and command bar, including the copy icon.
  • Folders whose only content is other folders will now show an icon with a slip of paper to indicate there is the content inside the folder instead of an empty folder icon.
  • Addressed an underlying issue that could cause File Explorer to crash when using the Group By option.

Input

  • Fixed an issue where the conversion option in the Korean IME context menu wasn’t working.
  • Addressed an issue where the IME toolbar wasn’t showing/hiding correctly if you’d chosen to use the previous version of the Japanese IME.
  • Improved reliability of showing the touch keyboard on the login screen after tapping the PIN or password field after rebooting or upgrading.
  • Fixed an issue where some of the text in the touch keyboard was difficult to read when using the “Black and White” text input theme.
  • Made another fix for the “size and theme” link under Settings > Time & Language > Typing > Touch Keyboard not working.
  • Mitigated an issue where the touch keyboard was still showing the previous text candidates when you switched to voice typing.
  • The “Press Enter” and “Press Tab” commands should be working when using voice typing for Chinese (Traditional) now.
  • Fixed an issue where the 3 or 4 finger touchpad gesture for adjusting your audio volume level wasn’t working with certain paired Bluetooth audio devices.

Settings

  • Changes in Sounds to Program Events (for example, turning certain system sounds off) should persist on upgrade going forward.
  • Improved visibility of the battery icon in the Bluetooth section of Quick Settings when a contrast mode was enabled.

Windowing 

  • If you set keyboard focus to Desktops in Task View, the border shown around the thumbnails will now have rounded corners.
  • Fixed an issue where hovering over the Task View icon on secondary monitors wouldn’t bring up the Desktops flyout when using the Arabic or Hebrew display language.
  • Fixed an issue where if you selected one of the Microsoft Edge tabs displayed in snap assist, the window would animate in from the wrong place.
  • Snap layouts should now minimize properly if you drag a window through the corner of snap layouts.
  • Fixed an issue where snap layouts would unexpectedly immediately display while dragging a window instead of just showing a hint for Insiders with an Arabic or Hebrew display language.
  • Addressed an issue where rotating your tablet before the previous screen rotation animation had finished would cause the rotation animation to abruptly cut out.
  • Mitigated an issue where using the 3-finger touch gesture to minimize all apps quickly could result in windows getting stuck in a shrunken state.
  • Reduced the size of the area above a notification where clicks weren’t being passed through to the underlying window so it’s the same sized area as the side of the notification.
  • Mitigated an issue leading to issues dragging the title bar of a maximized window with touch.
  • Fixed an issue where if the Open or Save dialog was open in an app, and you used ALT + Tab to switch away from the app and then back, keyboard focus might get lost.

Voice access

  • Fixed an issue that was causing voice access to crash when using commands to capitalize text in Office apps.

Narrator

  • Narrator will now correctly tell you if there is an image in table cells in Office apps.
  • When Narrator is reading with scan mode in Microsoft Edge, it will no longer stop reading when getting to some embedded links and buttons in the middle of text, like on nytimes.com.

Task Manager

  • Fixed an issue where tooltips did not accurately display the preferred visual setting when Task Manager is configured for dark mode.

Other fixes

  • Fixed an issue that was causing the volume flyout that appears from using your hardware keys to be stuck on screen.
  • Mitigated an issue that could result in explorer.exe getting stuck and not fully initializing during first login.
  • Fixed a few more issues impacting explorer.exe reliability.
  • Fixed an issue where Task Manager wasn’t populating the details of the Status column in the Startup Apps page.

Install Windows 11 build 22581

If you want to download and install the Windows 11 build 22581, you need to enroll your device in the Beta Channel or 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 22581 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 you have a device in the Beta Channel, and you prefer not to install previews of version 22H2, it’s now the time to go to Settings > Windows Update > Windows Insider Program, and select the “Choose your Insider settings” and change the channel to Release Preview.

Update March 28, 2022: Microsoft is now rolling out build 22581.100 as update KB5013283. However, the update does not include anything new, it’s only designed to test the update mechanism through the Dev and Beta Channels.

Update March 29, 2022: Microsoft makes available build 22581.200 as update KB5013296. However, the update does not include anything new, it’s only designed to test the update mechanism through the Dev and Beta Channels.