Windows 11 Development: overview of the May 2023 changes
Microsoft continued the development of the different Insider versions of the Windows 11 operating system in the month of May. The company maintains four developer channels right now: release preview, beta, developer and canary.
The company announced recently that it won't release feature updates for Windows 10 anymore, which means that users of the operating system can't expect to receive lots of new features in the coming years, not that Microsoft did release many new features for the operating system in the past two years.
This series puts the focus on Windows 11 as a consequence going forward. Once, if, Windows 12 is released, it will be include it in the monthly overview.
New and improved Windows 11 features in May 2023
Microsoft published a Photos app update in May 2023. The update added a new Slideshow feature, which allows users to sit back and relax while different photos are displayed on the screen.
Another new feature adds a timeline to the scrollbar which may help going through a large folder of photos. The Spot Fix tool, finally, allows users to remove unwanted portions on an image.
Start Menu notification
Microsoft has accelerated the rollout of what it calls notification badges for Microsoft accounts on the Start Menu. These promote the company's OneDrive service for now, but may display different types of information in the future.
Microsoft notes that this can be adjusted via Settings > Personalization > Start..
Start Menu website recommendations re-introduced
Microsoft removed linking to websites in the recommended section of the Start Menu after a public outcry. The company has now re-introduced the feature in development builds and promised, that it has adjusted the feature.
One of the main changes is that Microsoft is now pulling recommendations from a user's browsing history instead of a general pool of popular sites.
It is unclear if links will be displayed if users do not use Microsoft Edge, or Google Chrome, if continuous import has been enabled. Microsoft notes that this can be adjusted via Settings > Personalization > Start.
The question why anyone would want to see website recommendations based on the personal browsing history in Start remains unanswered for now.
Microsoft is also trying out a new ranking for Recommended items that "considers when the file was last used, the file extension, and more".
Dev Drive is a new storage volume designed specifically for development related tasks. It uses the Resilient File System (ReFS) and includes " file system optimizations and features that enable developers to better manage their performance and security profile" according to Microsoft.
Dev Drives can be set up under System > Storage > Advanced Storage Settings > Disks & Volumes. Requirements include a size of at least 50 gigabytes and systems with 8 gigabytes of RAM or higher.
Microsoft Defender Antivirus' performance mode was designed specifically for Dev Drive to "minimize impact on developer workloads".
Smaller noteworthy Windows changes
- Third-party widget for Facebook is now available for testing. It displays notifications from the social networking site in the widget's interface. Widgets are also getting a new widget picker experience, that displays an image as a visual preview.
- Microsoft is rolling out animated icons for Widgets on the taskbar.
- The new volume mixer experience, which displays volume mixers for each individual app, is now available for testing in the Canary channel.
- File Explorer's Details pane, which Windows 11 users may activate with the shortcut Alt-Shift-P or via menus, has been "modernized". It displays additional information, including recent activity, related files and related conversations.
- Microsoft is testing two different Windows Spotlight implementations, and has added support for 4K portrait images and "the ability to learn more about each desktop image".
- The Narrator tool "provides a more succinct and efficient reading experience while working in Microsoft Excel". Microsoft has detailed the changes here.
- Live Captions support has been added for Danish, English (Ireland), French (Canada), Korean and Portuguese (Portugal).
- Windows Subsystem for Android on Windows 111 was updated. New features include package verification for apps on WSA, a preference to set assigned memory to Android, and Linux kernel was updated to 5.15.94.
- Support for vTPM in Hyper-V on Windows on Arm (Arm64) builds.
- Support for Microsoft Endpoint DLP on Windows on Arm (Arm64) builds
- Support for bridging adapters using netsh was added.
- Passpoint Wi-Fi networks will now support enhanced connection performance.
- Bluetooth Personal Area networks can now be joined under Settings > Bluetooth & devices > Devices.
- WPA3 support to Phone Link's instant hotspot feature was added.
- The Advanced network settings page of the Settings app now links to the adapter options directly.
- New way to view saved Wi-fi passwords under Settings > Network & internet > Wi-Fi and “Manage known networks”.
- Backup and restore now supports syncing and restoring installed Microsoft Store applications. Check out Ashwin's review of the updated Windows 11 backup tool.
- Text authoring experience in voice access.
- You can say “correct [text]” or “correct that” to correct a specific piece of text or last dictated text. The correction window appears with a list of options labelled with numbers.
- You can say “click [number]” to select any option from the list. If you choose an alternate word from the window , the selected text will be replaced by the word. You can also say “spell that” to dictate the correct spelling of the text.
- Users can directly use the “spell that” or “spell out” command to dictate the right spelling of non-standard words such as usernames, topics, etc.
- Narrator natural voices in Chinese.
- New option to turn off toast notifications for certain apps.
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