Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22581 lets users switch from the Dev to Beta Channel for a limited time

Mar 24, 2022
Windows 11 News

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22581 has been released to the Dev and Beta Channels simultaneously. If you want to switch from the Developer Channel to the Beta Channel without reinstalling Windows from scratch, now is the time to do that.

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22581 lets users switch from the Dev to Beta Channel for a limited time
How to switch from Windows 11 Insider Preview Developer to Beta Channel

1. Open the Settings app, and navigate to the Windows Update page using the sidebar.

2. Access the Windows Insider Program section.

3. Click on "Choose your Insider Settings".

4. Select the Beta Channel.

This time-limited window is a rare one, it will end when a higher version is released to the Dev Channel. For reference, Microsoft usually rolls out a new build once a week. So, when the next version is released, you won't be able to switch between channels without a clean installation of Windows.

Why should you choose the Beta Channel?

Microsoft recently announced that it will use the Dev Channel as a testing ground for experimental features that may or may not make it to the final release, depending on feedback from users. While that can be an enticing reason to try it, running the Dev Channel build on your primary PC is not a good idea, because it can be unstable and has many bugs. It is better to test Dev builds on a spare computer or a virtual machine. The Beta Channel is more stable, and hence is suited for daily usage.

What's new in Windows 11 Build 22581

The Tablet Optimized Taskbar, which was introduced in Build 22563 for select users, is now available for all users in the latest build. This feature is not available on devices without a touchscreen, i.e. laptops and PCs.

Drag and drop to taskbar is now supported for auto-hidden taskbars. Microsoft has fixed the top borderline that was cutting off near the System Tray, it now extends across the Taskbar. You can no longer drag icons that are displayed on the system tray to rearrange their order. A new option is available in Settings > Personalization > Taskbar, that you can toggle to turn off the "Hidden icon menu", which will remove the caret icon from the system tray area.

Windows 11 hide the hidden icons menu

The Start Menu should not flicker when using the Search box in it. File Explorer's context menu displays the icons correctly. Using the Group By option in folder view menu, will not cause the file manager to crash. Folders which only contain other folders (and no files), will display a folder icon with a paper in it (Medium Icons or larger), to indicate that the parent directory is not empty, aka there are other contents inside.

windows 11 file explorer new paper slip icon

The Known issues in Windows 11 Build 22581 appear to be similar to the ones in the previous build, so you may want to read the release notes for more details.

Search Highlights wasn't available for me earlier, but is now working in Build 22581. But, given the fact that the release notes does not mention it, it is probably still being A/B tested, or maybe rolling out to more regions with yesterday's Windows 10 update.

Windows 11 search highlights

The new Open With dialog has not been re-added in the new Windows 11 preview build, per Microsoft's previous announcement, it will return in a future release. Tabs in File Explorer were back unofficially in KB5013192 (22579.100), which was released yesterday. Build 22581 has removed the feature again.

Are you going to switch to the Beta Channel, or stick to the Developer Channel builds?

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22581 is a rare chance to switch between Dev and Beta Channel
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Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22581 is a rare chance to switch between Dev and Beta Channel
Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22581 is out for Dev and Beta Channel users. You can use this opportunity to switch between channels without losing your data.
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  1. semce said on March 25, 2022 at 4:03 pm

    I’m having VPN issues with the upgrade. I had to restore from image and block the upgrade until the bugs are worked out.

  2. Anonymous said on March 24, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    Doesn’t matter, both channels are useless. Yet to see any progress on Windows 11. So far only useless nonsense that keep ruining people’s workflow.

  3. piomiq said on March 24, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    About minor change in Windows appeared big article, but nothing about new Linux 5.17.
    Bravo, bravo, congratulation.

  4. John G. said on March 24, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    W10 is the best MS OS by now. Insider’s efforts are useless, and also W11 is useless. There is no reason to move to W11, however I discovered the real and sadness true too late. Anyway W11 + Valinet’s Explorer Patcher nicely configured = W10, best tool ever created and completely free! Thanks @Ashwin for the article. :]

    1. piomiq said on March 24, 2022 at 9:26 pm

      @John G. I disagree. For me Windows 7 was much better.
      Since some time I’m W10 user who connects to virtual machine (by VMWare HC application) and every day I suffer because of broken windows managing – after every connection al left previous day windows are in completely mess (I don’t turn off/log off machine every day).
      Next thing that comes to mind is really poor managing “quick access” which turn on needs …. restart, wow. And activate this function in configured profile, needs…. reset this profile (solution from support). Really great system. Blocking files opened by other application this is great function caused by ancient file system (NTFS). Yes, Microsoft has much better without this issue, but don’t want to give it regular users.
      Ahh, and what about dark theme – never finished function – still partially implemented, after 5 years developing.
      Anyway I was much happy using Windows 7. A lot of things just worked.

      1. John G. said on March 24, 2022 at 11:27 pm

        My father still has an ancient laptop with W7 and it still works since 2010. :]

    2. Steve Magruder said on March 24, 2022 at 4:27 pm

      WSLg and the (potential of) Windows Subsystem for Android were pretty good reasons for me to upgrade, but that’s it.

      1. John G. said on March 24, 2022 at 6:17 pm

        @Steve Magruder, I agree, however it would be a better idea to have applied those new features of W11 to W10 in some new ISO, despite the numbering version because no one will notice that it was a “new OS” or a major ISO upgrade with some new good benefits. 11th is just a number. Anyway, they don’t want to put those promising features in W10 because they don’t want, also considering that the new MS Store arrived to W10 with no problem at all, and also it’s planned that new Windows Security will arrive to W10 too. The worst problem of W11 for me it’s the damm taskbar, useless as the same hell, and the second problem is the File Explorer, that completely has ruined the productivity. I needed to install an amount of tweaks and third party tools to set taskbar, startup and File Explorer to be like W10 as also all my friends with W11 did the same. My others friends with W10 avoid W11 at all cost. Real world: W10 is better for working purposes and probably it will be so for years. :]

  5. beemeup5 said on March 24, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    Every single Windows 11 build just fixes something that worked properly and better in Windows 10.
    And even if we assume that M$ will eventually iron out all the bugs, will they go through the same crap all over again with Windows 13 or 15? Probably. And all for what? Is DPI scaling better and more consistent? Nope, that’s still application dependent. Better HDR or Adaptive refresh? Not really. Better gaming performance. Hah! No. They just mess with the UI to fvck with users. But hey at least the Taskbar is “centered”. What a bunch of knobs. Thank god the driver framework is basically the same between Win10 and 11 so there’s zero reason to ever touch Win11.

    But sure, fire your entire QC team. The users will happily volunteer to be guinea pigs for useless features that no one asked for that may or may not disappear in the next build.

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