New Windows 11 Insider build brings App Folders in Start And Many More Changes

Posted on February 16, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Windows 11 with 32 Comments

Windows 11 PC with Start Menu

Microsoft has released today the Windows 11 build 22557 for Insiders in the Dev Channel, which is the biggest preview release in a while. This new build introduces several new features including App Folders in the Start Menu, File Explorer improvements, new touch gestures, and many more changes.

If you’re coming from Windows 10, the ability to curate apps in folders should be a welcome update, though it’s currently quite limited. Insiders can only create folders in the pinned apps area of the Start menu, so this doesn’t exactly match the more flexible app folder experience on Windows 10.

To create app folders, Insiders simply need to drag a pinned app on top of another, and apps inside a folder can also be moved around. “Keep an eye out for further improvements like the ability to name and rename folders in one of our upcoming builds,” the Windows Insider team said today.

Quick Access in File Explorer is also being improved with the ability to pin files in addition to folders. Pinned files will appear in a new section right above Recent files in Quick Access. Moreover, pinned and recent files from will also be shown in Quick Access for Insider who logged in to their Windows 11 PC with an MSA account or work account.

In addition to Quick Access improvements, File Explorer is now capable of showing the sync status of OneDrive files, as well as the amount of storage that’s left on Microsoft’s cloud storage service. This is another step in making OneDrive more integrated on Windows 11, and something other cloud storage services likely won’t be able to replicate.

This new Windows 11 build also introduces an important new accessibility feature with Live captions, which will automatically generate captions for any content running on the device with audio. English (US) is the only supported language for now, but this is a promising addition for Windows 11 users who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The Task Manager has received a fresh coat of paint in this build with dark theme support, a new hamburger menu, as well as a new settings page. Microsoft has also brought back the previous “Eco mode” feature that gave Insiders more insights about power-hungry apps. “This feature is helpful when you notice an app consuming high resources and would like to limit its consumption so that the system gives priority to other apps which will lead to faster foreground responsiveness and better energy efficiency,” the Windows Insider team explained.

If you have a touch-enabled PC, Microsoft has introduced a couple of new touch gestures in this build: You can now swipe your finger from the middle of the taskbar to invoke or close the Start menu, and you can also use a swipe gesture to switch between Pinned/All apps and Recommended/More in Start. There are other new gestures for accessing Quick Settings and the Notification Center from the taskbar.

There are many other notable changes in the Windows 11 Insider build 22557, including a new way to snap windows into Snap Layouts, the ability to drag and drop files between app windows on the taskbar, as well as a snappier rotating animation when your device transitions from portrait to landscape mode.

You can check the full list of new features, bug fixes, and known issues on Microsoft’s Windows Insider blog. If you have a Windows on ARM PC, be aware that the Windows 11 Insider build 22557 won’t be available to download for our device. However, the Window Insider team plans to offer a new Windows 11 ARM64 build for Insiders soon.

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Comments (32)

32 responses to “New Windows 11 Insider build brings App Folders in Start And Many More Changes”

  1. lezmaka

    This part caught my eye, can't wait to see all the comments.

    • Similar to Windows 11 Home edition, Windows 11 Pro edition now requires internet connectivity. If you choose to setup device for personal use, MSA will be required for setup as well. You can expect Microsoft Account to be required in subsequent WIP flights.

    • bcf3023

      Yeah, that actually could be a problem for a lot of companies. When you set up a machine for business use, Microsoft requires using either an Azure AD account or joining it to an AD DS domain — I don't believe there's an option to use a local account.

      My understanding was that Pro was targeted for small businesses, and there are a lot of businesses that don't want the complexity of a domain or Microsoft 365. Think about something like a tax accountant's office with only one or two PCs that uses Google Workspace. Strong arming those types of businesses to create an MSA account so they can promptly forget about it seems like it would create more security issues than it solves.

      • zorb56

        I don't know if this will change in any way with this most recent round of updates, but the process with AD has always been that you need a local admin account to get into the PC and then join it to a domain. I just installed Windows 11 Pro from ISO and did this. There has to be a local account, otherwise if your PC falls off the domain, it's dead in the water. Now, whether that local admin account has to be tied to an MSA moving forward, I'm not sure. Is that what they mean?

    • Bart

      This is the classical story of: Everyone does it, but when Microsoft does it, it is bad.

      I'm not sure this even needs to pose a problem. BYOD has been common practice. On top, most company software/services can be controlled via the AAD.

      And if you don't like this behaviour by Microsoft on Windows, Apple on iOS/iPadOS/MacOS or Google on Android/ChromeOS, then there is always Linux! He says tongue in cheek...

      • zorb56

        I don't know if this will change in any way with this most recent round of updates, but the process with AD has always been that you need a local admin account to get into the PC and then join it to a domain. I just installed Windows 11 Pro from ISO and did this. There has to be a local account, otherwise if your PC falls off the domain, it's dead in the water. Now, whether that local admin account has to be tied to an MSA moving forward, I'm not sure. Is that what they mean?

      • sadsteve

        Yes, I switch to Linux as my main OS after Windows 8 was released. I do keep a Windows partition on my main machine for the games that won't work under Linux (yet).

    • justme

      Indeed. I also find it interesting that this tidbit is buried towards the end of the post. It is the last item mentioned before "Fixes". Oh Microsoft....

    • skinnyjm

      Seems like forcing people to create & use a MSA reeks of desperation and completely ignores the fact that the MSA experience is falling far short of being something people actually want.

      • jgraebner

        Which "people" do you mean? I would absolutely bet on it that the number of non-Enterprise Windows users that don't sign on with an MSA is pretty much a rounding error.

    • navarac

      It is only what Apple and Google insist on as well. Just do it, then make a local account as administrator, switch to that account and delete the MSFT account. Of course, beyond the normal user I suspect, which is what Microsoft is banking on.

    • LT1 Z51

      Can't you just not be plugged into the network?

      • ch_whiteit

        No. The setup process checks for an internet connection before it gets to the user account stage. If it doesn't see an internet connection, it goes nowhere (the Next button stays greyed out).

        It also does an update check during the setup process, so MS is probably using this as another reason to have internet access from the start.

  2. fishnet37222

    I wouldn't mind requiring a Microsoft Account during installation if you could choose the name for your user folder. That's why I don't connect to a network until after the installation has finished. I prefer to have a sensible name for my user folder.

    • hrlngrv

      You could refer to your home directory using the USERPROFILE environment variable in most situations. Knowing the profile directory name isn't necessary.

  3. roundaboutskid

    Still no option to have the Start button in the middle, so you have to look for it every time. Smart!

  4. jgraebner

    Live captioning is a pretty exciting addition. While it is obviously a big plus for hearing impaired users, it's also really useful for viewing video clips in environments where it would be disruptive to play audio or too loud to hear. I use that feature on my Android phone all the time and have really wanted to see it come to Windows as well.

  5. taswinfan

    Well if they could overhall so much in short time visually, perhaps file explorer can catch up by the end of the year. There are good changes here and progress being made visually in file explorer. That onedrive bit looks straight out of the third party files app. Maybe, just maybe, we will get a windows 11 conforming critical system app. That would pretty much just leave device manager and a few other power user programs needing refresh or full merge to settings app (control panel, disk management look to become redundant at some point.

  6. hrlngrv

    Could MSFT possibly make Windows 11 look more like Chrome OS?

    Well, except that Chrome OS lets users place the shelf on any side of the screen, which MSFT might get around to in Windows 11 by the fall.

    • taswinfan

      So... you wanted window to look like a mix of metro and vista UIs for how long? The visual refresh across all of microsoft has been a welcome breath of fresh air regardless. Some say it looks like apple you say google, I say it's a win win if windows and microsoft apps can blend in with any ecosystem -- brings meaning to the term "fluent".

      • hrlngrv

        To the extent Windows 11's taskbar fills the entire width of the screen no matter how little may be pinned to it rather than just wide enough to fit pinned icons/buttons, it's closer to the Chrome OS shelf than the macOS dock. I put this down as akin to most people having no clue when to use whom rather than who.

  7. rm

    I don't like squinting at little sampling of icons to figure out if that is the folder I want to open. They should let you label the folder. Looks like they are sacraficing usability for simplicity again.

  8. bluvg

    System-wide audio transcription is awesome--kudos to Microsoft on this!

    It would be nice if eco-mode helped about the absolute onslaught of near-malicious ads these days. If you're not allowed or philosophically opposed to using an ad blocker, I swear many sites (sadly, this site and included) are on a path towards actively pushing people away. I'm fine with ads, but there is zero reason a site post-render should continuously max an entire core+ of a modern CPU with the rotating ads, video, the infuriating re-pagination as ads hop in and out of the page, etc. etc.

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