Microsoft just announced a smorgasbord of new Windows 11 features, including Start menu folders, drag-and-drop functionality for the taskbar, live subtitles for videos, and more. These features are now available to testers via the new Insider Preview Build and will be available to other users later this year.
A lot of these new features revolve around the Start menu and taskbar, which makes sense as these are the areas of Windows 11 that people seem to complain about the most. Microsoft has brought back the ability to drag and drop items to the taskbar and introduced folders to the Start menu, allowing you to organize apps, files, and documents.
Testers will also notice some small changes to the taskbar, including an updated battery icon that has a lightning bolt icon when charging. The taskbar also displays an icon that indicates when you’re sending video to a Chromecast device, and Microsoft claims that search results from the taskbar are a little faster.
And this may sound familiar – you can now bring up the Snap layout menu by dragging a window to the top of your screen. It’s strange to see Microsoft slowly bringing features back from Windows 10, isn’t it?
Of course, these new features aren’t as impressive as Live Captions, a new accessibility tool that uses speech-to-text technology to automatically draw captions over videos. Live subtitles are processed on your device and can snap to the bottom or top of your display (they can also float in a window). And interestingly, you can use the Live Captions keyboard shortcut (WIN + CTRL + L) without ever enabling the feature in Accessibility.
Other changes include a redesigned task manager (which looks prettier than leaks suggested), more battery-saving power modes, and the ability to view OneDrive storage in your file explorer, which seems a bit overdue.
Oh, there’s also a new focus mode that’s basically identical to focus mode on macOS. When activated via the notifications menu, Focus Mode activates Do Not Disturb and can perform other functions to eliminate distractions.
This is the first major Windows 11 update in a long time. As such, we expect these features to hit the Windows 11 stable channel in the coming months — hopefully before Windows 11’s birthday in October. To test these features, you must install the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview Build (Version 22557). Note that this build is not yet available for ARM64 systems.
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