Windows 11 build 23481 outs in the Dev Channel

Windows 11 receives a new preview in the Dev Channel with a lighter File Explorer, improvements for inking, and new widget.

windows 11 build 23481
Windows 11 build 23481
  • Windows 11 build 23481 is now rolling out in the Dev Channel.
  • The update introduces improvements to the Windows Ink experience.
  • Also, this release cleans up various legacy settings from the File Explorer
  • Microsoft is also rolling out Windows 11 build 25393 in the Canary Channel but without changes.

Windows 11 build 23481 is now rolling out for computers in the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider Program. This is yet another small update that ships various visual changes, fixes, and new features and improvements.

Build 23481 for Windows 11, according to the official changes, introduces improvements to the Windows Ink experience with the ability to allow users to use handwriting in text fields, enhancing accuracy and adding scratch-out gestures for when users need to make edits. As part of the changes for File Explorer, the development team is removing some unnecessary settings from the “Folder Options” page. Also, this update rolls out a new “Focus Session” widget for the Widgets dashboard.

Finally, the company is also pushing the Windows 11 build 25393 in the Canary Channel, but it’s not publishing any details because this flight doesn’t include anything significant.

Windows 11 build 23481 new features

Here are all the new features and improvements for the latest release of Windows 11 in the Dev Channel:

File Explorer settings cleanup

Starting with build 23481, the company is removing some legacy settings from File Explorer. After installing this flight, in the Folder Options page, you will no longer find the “Hide Folder Merge conflict”, “Always show icons, never thumbnails”, “Display file icon on thumbnails”, “Display file type information on Folder tips”, “Hide protected OS files”, “Show drive letters”, “Show popup description for Folder and Desktop items”, “Show encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color”, and “Use sharing wizard” options.

In addition, the ability to tear out and merge tabs is available for all Insiders in the Dev Channel.

Windows Ink in text fields

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.”

Focus Session widget

Microsoft is introducing a new Focus Session widget as part of a Clock app update (version 11.2305.6.0 and higher) through the Microsoft Store in the Canary and Dev Channels.

Taskbar improvements

The never combined mode to see each window of your applications on the taskbar individually is now available for all Insiders in the Dev Channel.

Also, the company is renaming “Chat” to “Microsoft Teams – Free,” and it’ll appear pinned in the Taskbar.

Voice Access 

As part of the Voice Access changes, the new text authoring experiences are rolling out to all Insiders in the Dev Channel.

Fixes and improvements

This flight also ships with a bunch of fixes and improvements for Taskbar, Input, Settings, File Explorer, and more.

Dev Drive

  • Fixed an issue where filters beyond AV might be attached to your Dev Drive on reboot.
  • Fixed an issue which could cause a bugcheck when using Dev Drive.

File Explorer

  • Fixed an issue where the icons in the File Explorer context menu could be blurry.
  • Fixed an issue where sync status icons for files backing up to a storage provider were not reliably displayed.
  • Fixed an issue for authentication errors on File Explorer Home where the ‘Please Sign-in’ button appeared but clicking on it did not pop-up the authentication dialog.
  • Updated “Show files from” text in folder options to “Include account-based insights, recent, favorite, and recommended files”.
  • Using CTRL + V to paste an image in Gallery will now paste the image into your default pictures folder (the default folder can be configured under Collection > Manage Collection in Gallery).
  • If you hover your mouse over the details button in File Explorer, the tooltip should no longer block the close button for the window.
  • Fixed the direction of the search icon within the tab when doing a search in File Explorer.
  • Fixed an issue where tabbing or Shift + tabbing from the command bar wouldn’t land focus inside the current folder.
  • Fixed an issue where if you set focus into the address bar (to edit the path), you wouldn’t be able to use tab to move focus out of it.
  • If the current path is longer than the available space in the address bar, a bit of room now has been added so you can still click and go into edit mode.
  • Fixed an issue where hovering over folders in the Quick Access section of Home was causing the name to disappear and the icon to slide to the side if you had checkboxes enabled.
  • Dragging and dropping into the Favorites or Quick Access sections should work again now.


  • Fixed an issue where navigating the search flyout on the taskbar with the keyboard arrow keys did not work as expected.

This release also has known issues with the Dev Drive, File Explorer, Notifications, Dynamic Lighting, Windows Ink, and Taskbar.

Install build 23481

If you want to download and install the Windows 11 build 23481, enroll your device in the Dev Channel using the “Windows Insider Program” settings from the “Windows Update” section.

Once you enroll the computer in the program, you can download build 23481 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.

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 15 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 21 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 Email him at [email protected].