A few days earlier than I expected, Microsoft has released the first test build of Windows 11 to the Windows Insider Program.
“We are excited to be releasing the very first Windows 11 Insider Preview build to the Dev Channel,” the latest Insider blog post reads. “Build 22000.51 is currently rolling out and includes beautiful, fresh, calm visuals and many of the new features you saw during our event last week such as the Start and Taskbar, Widgets, Snap layouts, redesigned Settings[,] and more.”
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Some features are still missing, as promised: Chat with Microsoft Teams, some new Store features including Android app support, and refreshed in-box apps like Photos are not yet available. But it looks like some features that are missing in the leaked build I’ve been using for almost two weeks will be available, including the new Store and the new Notification Center and Quick Settings interfaces, which, like much of Windows 11, appear to have been borrowed from Chrome OS.
It looks like we’re finally getting an all-new File Explorer that features a cleaner command bar (as opposed to a top-heavy ribbon) as well. And the Settings app, finally, has been updated too, with simpler and more consistent navigation.
Windows 11 also supports Wi-Fi 6E, which I believe is new. As interesting, the Office team has released a “visual refresh” of the core Office applications in Microsoft 365 to coincide with the Windows 11 release. Those with Windows on ARM can also now run 64-bit Office for the first time.
You can learn more about Windows 11 and the Windows Insider Program from the Microsoft website. But I will be using these new builds every day and writing about my experiences, and about all the new features, as we move forward in testing and towards launch. So stay tuned for more.