Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 brings Spotlight wallpapers for desktop, Voice Access commands

Dec 9, 2021
Windows 11 News

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 is now available for participants in the Developer Channel. It brings a couple of new features, and fixes quite a few issues.

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 brings Spotlight wallpapers for desktop

What's new in Windows 11 Build 22518 

Spotlight Collection Backgrounds

The lock screen on Windows 10 and 11 displays a new image from time-to-time, this is Microsoft's Spotlight. Windows 11 Build 22518 extends this feature with the Spotlight Collection Backgrounds. You can now set the operating system to change the desktop wallpaper dynamically from the Settings app.

Head to the Settings > Personalization > Background and choose the Spotlight Collection. This feature is currently available in the following countries: Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Spain, Sweden, U.K., U.S. Microsoft says it will add support for more Countries in the future.

Windows 11 Spotlight wallpapers for desktop

There is a tool called Windows Spotlight Extractor, that lets you download the images for offline use, it also works with Windows 10.

Widgets button relocated to the left side

The Widgets button has been moved to the left edge of the taskbar. Technically, this isn't new as I had the Widgets button on the left for a day or two, prior to Build 22518's release. I believe this happened because the app related to it, Windows Web Experience Pack, had been updated via the Microsoft Store.

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 new widgets button position

When Windows 11 was released, people's attention, including mine, was on the centered Taskbar and Start Menu. It felt like the biggest change. The icons that you have pinned are at the center of The taskbar, while the right edge of the taskbar is home to the Date and Time, the System Tray icons, and the Action Center. That's a lot of stuff crammed into one location. But, if you look at the left side of the Taskbar, it has zilch. That is a waste of space. So, from that perspective, I think that moving the Widgets button to the left is an interesting change. It also kind of makes sense, since the Widgets panel's animation appears from the left side of the screen.

That said, I think some people may dislike the change. Maybe you prefer the left edge to be spotless, or you just like having all the icons at the center. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a way to move the Widgets shortcut back to where it was. Microsoft should let people choose the position of the icon, instead of making changes willy-nilly.

?If you don't like the Widgets, you can remove the feature completely.

Voice Access

Windows 11 Build 22518 introduces support for Voice Access commands. Go to Settings > Accessibility > Speech, and toggle the Voice Access option. The tool will download a speech model to understand your commands. Microsoft says that the voice data is not shared to the cloud, and is only processed locally on your PC. Once it downloads the model, an on-screen guide walks you through the set-up process.

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 Voice Access commands

This will allow you to interact with your computer to make it perform tasks like open programs, moving the mouse pointer, clicking on content, dictate and edit text, scroll, switch between applications, etc. You can learn more about the commands at the announcement article.

Windows 11 list of Voice Access commands

Voice Access is currently only available for US English. If you don't want Voice Access to keep listening to your microphone, you can mute it or turn it off. The feature has a few known issues. Text authoring commands have some inconsistencies. Voice Access doesn't support Narrator yet, and also has some issues recognizing punctuation marks and symbols.

Windows 11 Voice Access commands

The Windows Subsystem for Linux can be installed directly from the Microsoft Store. The Input Switcher has an acrylic background, and its performance and reliability have been improved.

Notable fixes in Windows 11 Build 22518

Explorer will not crash anymore if you have web shortcuts pinned to the Taskbar. Network Drives can be used as a source in Media Player. Simplified Chinese ME should work correctly after a problem that was preventing u-mode/v-mode/name-mode candidates from being displayed was corrected. Japanese IME will no longer unexpectedly display candidates in horizontal mode instead of vertical mode.

Snap Group Thumbnails will update properly in Task View, when moving group windows to another Desktop.The Settings app has better support for screen readers. An issue that was causing settings to crash when trying to access the options for added languages has been resolved. Microsoft has fixed an issue that was causing a bug check with the error SYSTEM_SERVICE_EXCEPTION for some users.

Build 22518 is not available for ARM64 PCs because of a bug that is causing the devices to roll back to the previous version while updating to the new build. Please refer to the official announcement for a list of known issues and fixes in Windows 11 Build 22518.

As a huge fan of Bing images, I really like the new Spotlight option in Windows 11. I use the open-source Muzei Live Wallpaper app on my Android phone, along with the Bing Image of the Day plugin, to refresh the wallpaper every day.

Share your thoughts about Spotlight Collection, Voice Access and the new Widgets button position.

Windows 11 adds support for Spotlight wallpapers for the desktop
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Windows 11 adds support for Spotlight wallpapers for the desktop
The latest Windows 11 Insider Preview Build allows you to set Spotlight wallpapers as the desktop background. It also adds support for Voice Access commands.
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  1. Anonymous said on December 9, 2021 at 10:54 pm

    Another useless build nothing of worth or use added.

  2. John G. said on December 9, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    Nice improvements, I have Bing Wallpaper, however Spotlight seems better! Thanks @Ashwin! :]

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