Microsoft released the first preview build of Windows 11

Windows Insiders are getting the first preview build of Windows 11 to test. Build 22000.51 is available for Windows Insiders on the dev channel and includes most of the new features Microsoft showed off last week. Not included in this build is Android app support and Teams integration.

UPDATE: Here is my first hands on video!

This build has the new round corners Start menu with a recommended section and no more live tiles. The is the new centralized task bar with new Windows logo and new animations. There is also the new notification center with quick actions. Lookout for my hands on video soon, but in the meantime, here are the details from Microsoft.

In the build are new Windows sounds including different sounds for light and dark mode, there are new themes and a new File Explorer:

Start: Start puts everything you need on your PC at the center with a set of pinned apps and a cloud powered “Recommended” section that shows your recently opened files from both your PC and across your devices like your smartphone with OneDrive.

Taskbar: Taskbar is also centered with beautiful new animations. Try pinning, launching, switching, minimizing, and rearranging your apps on Taskbar to see the beautiful new animations.

Notification Center & Quick Settings: The lower right corner of Taskbar has a button for Notification Center (WIN + N) and Quick Settings (WIN + A). Notification Center is the home for all your notifications in the OS and a full-month calendar view. Quick Settings is the place for you to manage common PC settings quickly and easily like Volume, Brightness, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Focus Assist. Directly above your Quick Settings, you will see media playback controls when playing music or videos in Microsoft Edge or streaming music in apps like Spotify.

File Explorer: We made File Explorer modern with a clean look and brand-new command bar. We have also introduced beautifully designed context menus when right-clicking in File Explorer or on your desktop. App developers will be able to extend the new context menus. We are working to publish documentation for app developers on how to do this with their apps soon.

Themes: In addition to brand new default themes for Windows 11 for both dark and light mode, it also includes four additional themes so you can make Windows feel the way you want it to. All the new themes were designed to complement the centered Taskbar. We have also added new contrast themes for people with visual impairments such as light sensitivity. To change your theme, just right-click on your desktop and choose “Personalize”.

Sounds: The sounds in Windows 11 have been designed to be lighter and more atmospheric. They are also slightly different depending on whether your Windows theme is in dark mode or light mode. The startup sound for Windows also makes its return in which you’ll hear when your PC boots up to the Lock screen and is ready to go for you to login.

New in Windows 11 is widgets which slide in from the left hand side, you can customize the items and include OneDrive, calendar, To Do, traffic and new sources.

Widgets bring you closer to information you both want and need. Just click on the widgets icon on the Taskbar, swipe from the left using touch, or hit WIN + W on your keyboard, and your widgets slide out from the left over your desktop. You can personalize your experience by adding or removing widgets, re-arranging, resizing, and customizing the content. The set of widgets we provide currently focus on your calendar, weather, local traffic, your Microsoft To Do lists, your photos from OneDrive, sports and esports, your stock watchlist, and tips.

Multitasking has been improved with new snap groups, layouts and desktops.

Snap layouts: Just hover your mouse over a window’s maximize button to see available snap layouts, then click on a zone to snap the window. You’ll then be guided to snap windows to the rest of the zones within the layout with guided snap assist. For smaller screens, you’ll be offered a set of 4 snap layouts. You can also invoke the snap layouts flyout with the WIN + Z keyboard shortcut.

Snap groups: Snap groups are a way to easily switch back to your snapped windows. To try this out, snap together at least 2 app windows on your screen. Hover over one of these open apps on the Taskbar to find the snap group and click to quickly switch back.

Desktops: Access your Desktops via Task View (WIN + Tab) on the Taskbar. You can reorder and customize the backgrounds for each of your Desktops. You can also mouse-over Task View on the Taskbar for quick access to your existing Desktops or to create a new one!

There is also the new Microsoft Store:

Great for laptop uses is the docking improvements:

When you undock your laptop, the windows on your external monitor will be minimized. When you re-dock your computer to your monitor, Windows puts everything back exactly where you had it before! You can find the settings for these features under System > Display > Multiple Displays.

There are also input improvements for pen users, voice users and the touch keyboard.

Also Settings has a new look:

As this is a first preview there are still some known issues:

Known issues with Build 2200.51

When upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10 or when installing an update to Windows 11, some features may be deprecated or removed. See details here.

Taskbar:

Taskbar will not be shown across multiple monitors but will return in an upcoming build.

The preview window may not display the entire window when hovering over Task View on the taskbar.

Settings:

When upgrading a device with multiple user accounts to Windows 11, Settings will fail to launch.

A small set of Settings legacy pages as well as fit and finish bugs will be addressed in future releases.

The ‘Power mode’ setting does not show up on the Power & battery page.

When launching the Settings app, a brief green flash may appear.

When using Quick Settings to modify Accessibility settings, the settings UI may not save the selected state.

Start:

In some cases, you might be unable to enter text when using Search from Start or the taskbar. If you experience the issue, press Win + R on the keyboard to launch the Run dialog box, then close it.

We’re working on fixing an issue that’s preventing unpinning apps from Start, making the command bar in File Explorer disappear, or hiding snap. To work around these, restart your PC.

Search:

App icons in the Search panel may do not load, and instead appear as gray squares.

When hovering your mouse over the Search icon on the taskbar, the third recent search does not load and remains blank.

After clicking the Search icon taskbar, the Search panel may not open. If this occurs, restart the “Windows Explorer” process, and open the search panel again.

When you hover your mouse over the Search icon on the taskbar, recent searches may not be displayed. To work around the issue, restart your device.

Search panel might appear as black and not display any content below the search box.

Widgets:

System text scaling will scale all widgets proportionally and may result in cropped widgets.

Launching links from the widgets board may not invoke apps to the foreground.

When using screen reader/Narrator in widgets may not properly announce content

Widgets board may appear empty. To work around the issue, you can sign out and then sign back in again.

When using the Outlook client with a Microsoft account, Calendar, and To Do changes may not sync to the widgets in real time.

Widgets may be displayed in the wrong size on external monitors. If you encounter this, you can launch the widgets via touch or WIN + W shortcut on your actual device monitor first and then launch on your secondary monitors.

After adding multiple widgets quickly from the widgets settings, some of the widgets may not be visible on the board.

Store:

The install button might not be functional yet in some limited scenarios.

Rating and reviews are not available for some apps.

There is a lot to take in so lookout for my first hands on video soon!

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