Microsoft just released a new build for the Developer Channel of the Windows Insider Program. Windows 11 Build 22557 adds a number of new user-requested features such as dragging and dropping content into the taskbar, thumbnails (showing folder contents), and many other accompanying updates to improve the user experience.
Read to the end of the article to see the link to download the ISO version of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22557.
What’s New in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22557
You can now create folders in the Windows 11 Start Menu. To do this, simply drag an app’s icon onto another, this isn’t like the options you find on Android and iOS home screen. Once a folder has been created, you can add more shortcuts to it and rearrange the order. We are no longer limited to 24 icons on the Start Menu. To delete a folder, simply drag the icons from the folder. The folder preview will show the first 4 apps in the folder, when you add more than 12 icons you can scroll down the folder to access more icons.
Microsoft says it plans to improve the Start Menu folder feature by adding the ability to rename folders, in an upcoming build.
The release says the Search experience is now faster and more accurate. From my tests, it seems to be a bit faster, even for web searches.
Windows 11 Build 22557 adds the Drag and Drop feature on the Taskbar. You can drag and drop files onto the program window on the taskbar to open them in the application. You can also attach files to emails in the Outlook app.
Also, it’s easier to pin an app to the taskbar, you can drag a shortcut from the Start Menu’s All apps list to pin it to the taskbar. If you want to add a shortcut to the desktop, you can drag the icon over the Show Desktop button in the bottom right corner.
Users using Microsoft Teams for Work and School will see a rectangle around the window’s taskbar icon to let them know that it’s on a call.
Do not disturb
Do not disturb mode was added to Windows 11 to bring a richer experience to your work sessions. You can toggle preferences from Notification Center. It mutes notifications from all apps, except for alerts and priority alerts.
Head to Settings > System > Notifications and you can define rules to automatically enable the feature after your business hours. You can choose whether to allow calls, reminders, and specific apps to show priority notifications. Do not disturb integrates with the Clock app, so you won’t have to worry about missing your alarm.
Focus allows you to work or relax without distractions, which can be activated from the Notification Center. After Focus starts, a timer will appear on the screen. It also enables Do Not Disturb mode and prevents notifications, taskbar badges, and flashing icons.
You can set the focus session length from the Settings > System > Focus page and manage its related settings. Focus integrates with Clock app sessions.
Build 22557 introduces an accessibility feature called Live Captions. Subtitles are created on the device from any media with audio. You can activate it with the keyboard shortcut, WIN + Ctrl + L. The Live Captions Panel appears at the top of the screen, but can be moved to the bottom or set to a floating window. You can enable the profanity filter, enable microphone input support, and change the subtitle style from the settings. Live Captions are only supported for the US English package.
I tested it a bit and it seems to work well with video, which is what this feature is designed for. Microphone input will assist people with hearing loss and help them converse with others.
File Explorer now lets you pin files to Quick Access, in addition to folders. Pinned files are displayed above recent files. It also supports files that you’ve pinned from Office.com.
OneDrive is now integrated with File Explorer, you can view your storage level, used space, and available free space in your account directly from File Explorer. To use it, browse to one of your cloud folders and click the downward arrow that appears in the top right corner of Explorer.
A panel will pop up with details regarding your storage space and shortcuts for managing OneDrive. It also indicates whether the selected folder is synced to the cloud. You’ll need the OneDrive app in the background to access this feature in Explorer.
File Explorer displays a preview of the contents of the folder, in Large Icons and Extra Large Icons views.
Improved Snap Layout
Drag a window to the top of the screen and the operating system will display the Snap Layout. Drop a window on top of an area to snap it into place, use Snap Assist to place your other apps in a preset layout.
The update mentions that the animation for Snap Assist, fast forward, has also been improved. Alt + Tab, Task View, and Taskbar previews now show the desktop wallpaper for better visibility of Snap groups.
Power settings and recommendations
Power settings have been updated to reduce power consumption when the computer is idle. The defaults for Sleep Mode and Screen Off have been changed, if you set Sleep and Screen Off to v, the operating system will make recommendations to help reduce your carbon footprint. These power settings will only be available to users who clean install Windows 11 Build 22557 or later.
New Task Manager and Efficiency mode
The recently redesigned Task Manager is now enabled by default. It has a dark theme, a hamburger-style navigation bar, a command bar with common actions, and a settings page. Task Manager has an Efficiency Mode, which allows you to limit the resources used by applications.
Efficiency mode can be enabled from the Processes Page, from the Command Bar, or by right-clicking a single process. The leaf icon will indicate when a process is running in Efficiency mode, while suspended processes will have a pause icon.
New touch gestures
Microsoft added 5 new touch gestures to Windows 11. Swipe from the middle of the taskbar to see the Start Menu and swipe down to hide it. Swipe from right to left in the Start Menu to go to the All Apps page, swipe from left to right to return to Pinned Apps. You can navigate Recommended/More apps using the same gesture.
Swipe up from the bottom right of the taskbar to see Quick Settings, swipe down to dismiss it. The animation for accessing Notification Center has been updated to be more responsive. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen to see the Notification Center. A grip bar appears on the edge of the screen when you use games and full-screen touch-oriented apps. This full-screen clip helps prevent accidental swipes and keeps you on the current screen. Swiping on the clamp allows you to switch to other content.
Other changes in Windows 11 Build 22557
Narrator has a new natural male voice called Guy. The battery charge icon shows a lightning bolt instead of the power cable, for better visibility at lower charge levels. An icon will appear on the taskbar when you are playing an image/video. It allows you to manage Cast settings and stop playing. Transparency colors are now supported in more title bars, such as the Run dialog box.
Narrator has various enhancements to aid users when browsing the web in Microsoft Edge. It will announce changes you choose, such as the sort order for a table, link navigation, and text editing on the web.
The latest release has too many changes to list in one article, I’ll just name the most important ones for ease of reading. If you want to see the full update information, you can read this post.
Windows 11 Build 22557 is possibly the most impressive version of this operating system since its launch. This is what it should have been in the first place. Windows 11 still has a long way to go, but these improvements are very welcome.
Finally, you can download the ISO file of Windows 11 Build 22557 here.