Windows 11 build 25309 outs with new File Explorer (WinUI 3) and volume mixer

A new preview build of Windows 11 arrives with a new volume mixer, touch keyboard settings, ACM expansion, and changes for Voice Access, Start menu, and more.

Windows 11 build 25309
Windows 11 build 25309
  • Windows 11 build 25309 is now rolling out in the Dev Channel.
  • The update introduces a new volume mixer in Quick Settings and changes for graphics and voice access.
  • Also, the update previews a new version of File Explorer using WinUI 3.
  • In addition, this release ships with a bunch of fixes and improvements.

Microsoft is now rolling out Windows 11 build 25309 for devices enrolled in the Dev Channel of the Windows Insider Program. This is a significant update with a bunch of interesting new features, improvements, and fixes.

Build 25309 for Windows 11, according to the official changes, introduces a new volume mixer in the Quick Settings flyout, brings back the keyboard settings to the Taskbar page, and ships an updated version of File Explorer using the Windows App SDK that switches from using WinUI 2 to WinUI 3. In addition, this flight rolls out updates for graphics, input, and voice access.

Windows 11 build 25309 changes

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

Volume mixer in Quick Settings

Starting with build 25309, the Quick Settings flyout introduces a new enhanced volume mixer that allows quick customization of audio on a per application. In addition, the team has added a new “Windows key + Ctrl + V” keyboard shortcut to open the new volume mixer directly.

Volume Mixer
Volume Mixer (Source: Microsoft)

Finally, this update makes it easier to enable the Windows Sonic experience with a quick access list of installed spatial sound technology.

Touch keyboard settings

The touch keyboard settings are rolling back to the original location (Settings > Time & language > Typing > Touch keyboard) with a new setting menu with three options (Never, When no keyboard attached, and Always) to control whether tapping an edit control should launch the touch keyboard.

  • Never – suppresses the touch keyboard even when no hardware keyboard is attached.
  • When no keyboard attached – will show the touch keyboard only when the device is used as a tablet without the hardware keyboard.
  • Always – will show the touch keyboard even when the hardware keyboard is attached.
Touch keyboard settings
Touch keyboard settings (Source: Microsoft)

Auto Color Management (ACM)

The Windows 11 build 25309 is expanding the hardware-accelerated system-level color management (Auto Color Management) to SDR displays and have all colors across all Windows apps, whether or not they are color-managed, appear accurately and consistently on every supported display.

The setting is available from Settings > Display > Advanced display. You will only need to select the correct display and turn on the “Automatically manage color for apps” toggle switch.

Automatically Manage Color
Automatically Manage Color (Source: Microsoft)

The requirements for Auto Color Management, include WDDM driver version 3.0 or greater, AMD RX 400 Series or later, or AMD Ryzen processors with Radeon Graphics. Intel integrated 12th Gen (Alder Lake) or later, or discrete DG1 or later. Or NVIDIA GTX 10xx or later (Pascal+).

The company says that this feature doesn’t have specific requirements for display or connection, but it recommends panels with a wider-than-sRGB gamut, and optionally 10-bit per color channel or greater.

Voice Access

This update also improves the Voice Access experience with a redesigned in-app command help to make it easier to use and understand. The search box allows users to find commands faster. The commands now have a description and examples of their variations, making them easier to understand and use.

Microsoft is also extending voice access to support other English dialects such as English -UK, English – India, English – New Zealand, English – Canada, and English – Australia.

You will also find a bunch of new commands to make a text selection and editing easier with voice access.

  • To select a range of text in the text box – say “Select from [text 1] to [text 2]”, or “Select from have to voice access.”
  • To delete all the text in a text box – say “Delete all.”
  • To Apply bold/underline/italicize formatting on the selected text or last dictated text – say “Bold that,” “Underline that”, “Italicize that.”
  • To remove all whitespaces from the selected text or last dictated text – say “no space that.”
  • To insert “text” at the cursor and capitalize the first letter of each word – say “Caps [text],” “Caps hello world.”
  • To insert “text” at the cursor without any whitespace before “text” – say “No space [text],” “No space Davis.”

Start menu

In the Start menu, the team is experimenting with text variants for the backup option available in the Power settings menu.

Start menu power menu
Start menu power menu (Source: Microsoft)

Second-chance out of box experience (SCOOBE)

The page that you see sometimes after an update or restating the computer to complete setting up Windows 11 is getting an update and the new design should appear to some users.

SCOOBE updated UI
SCOOBE updated UI (Source: Microsoft)

Taskbar search 

The search box in the Taskbar with this update will be lighter when the system is set to a custom color mode.

File Explorer

The File Explore isn’t getting many visual improvements, but Microsoft is rolling out a new version that uses Windows App SDK and switches from using WinUI 2 to using WinUI 3. (Microsoft notes that the “pizza” icon on the command bar indicates you are using the new version of File Explorer.)

File Explorer WinUI 3
File Explorer WinUI 3 (Source: Microsoft)

Snap layouts

On build 25309, the company continues experimenting with improvements to make Snap layouts easier to use by decreasing the hover time required to invoke the flyout when you mouse over the maximum or restore button. In addition to a few other tweaks, you’ll notice some treatments will also pull in the icon of the app window you are working in and add a descriptive title.

Input

As part of the input improvements, Windows 11 is updating the Simplified Chinese handwriting recognition engine to be faster and more accurate as well as support characters defined in GB18030-2022.

Widgets

In the Widgets dashboard, the company is rolling out system theme-aware icons for widgets on the taskbar.

Widgets new icons
Widgets new icons (Source: Microsoft)

Settings

In the Settings app, the Power & Battery page has been updated to include settings for choosing what happens when interacting with your computer’s physical power controls.

Fixes and improvements

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

Taskbar and Search

  • Fixed multiple Explorer.exe crashes impacting taskbar and system tray.
  • Fixed a display issue that could result in the taskbar appearing duplicated when making resolution changes.
  • Fixed an issue which was causing app icons on the taskbar to appear on the wrong monitor for some Insiders with multiple monitors.
  • Fixed rendering issues when using the touch keyboard with the search box on taskbar.
  • Fixed an issue when double clicking the search highlight glyph in the search box makes it disappear.
  • Fixed an issue where the search box would randomly disappear.
  • Fixed an issue where the search icon flips incorrectly for right-to-left (RTL) languages.
  • Fixed on issue where you might have seen some text flicker in the search box when you click into it.
  • Fixed an issue where the search box might disappear on one monitor if you are using multiple monitors.
  • Made some accessibility fixes to the settings for search under Settings > Personalization > Taskbar.

Input 

  • Fix an issue where when using the French-Canadian layout for the touch keyboard, the letters output when typing didn’t always match what was displayed on the keys.
  • When using the Korean IME, CTRL + F10 should no longer open the IME context menu.

File Explorer

  • Fixed an issue which caused Insiders with custom desktop icon arrangements / sizes to get set back to default in the previous build.
  • Fixed an underlying issue believed to be the cause of File Explorer unexpectedly jumping into the foreground sometimes.
  • The “Open in new tab” context menu option and middle clicking folders will now open the tab in the background rather than switching focus.
  • Fixed an issue where the close button could get stuck in a highlighted state when you moved your mouse across it.

Settings

  • Fixed an underlying issue believed to be the root cause of why some Insiders saw their startup app settings get reset with the previous build.
  • Going to Privacy & Security > Phone Calls should no longer crash Settings.

Windowing

  • Fixed a high hitting DWM.exe crash in the last couple flights.

Widgets

  • Fixed an issue where under certain circumstances third-party widgets were not loading as expected.

Other fixes

  • Fixed an issue causing USB devices (including keyboard and mouse) to not work for some Insiders after upgrading to Build 25295+.
  • Fixed an issue for some Insiders where if you’d uninstalled the previous flight, it would cause your Start menu and taskbar to cyclically crash.
  • Fixed an issue where when using Windows Hello to sign in with facial recognition, it may not have worked on Arm64 PCs.
  • Fixed an issue with the Windows Insider Program settings page showing a newer build was available in Windows Update even though you were on the latest available build in the Dev Channel.
  • Fixed multiple issues that were preventing some of the new live captions language models from downloading correctly.
  • Fixed an underlying issue causing Insiders on Arm64 PCs to not be able to activate M365, with it citing a network issue.
  • Fixed a search indexer crash.
  • Fixed an underlying issue that could cause UWP apps to appear in English after upgrading although that wasn’t your display language.
  • Fixed an issue which was causing .appinstaller packages to fail to install with an error message that says “The parameter is incorrect” (even though it wasn’t).
  • Fixed an underlying issue causing certain cameras to not work in apps with the last flight.
  • Fixed an underlying issue which was leading to Microsoft Edge crashes for some Insiders in the last few flights.

This release also has known issues with the Taskbar, Start menu, Task Manager, Settings, Widgets, and more.

Install build 25309

If you want to download and install the Windows 11 build 25309, 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 25309 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 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].