Gadget Pixels reported on February 15 that Microsoft is preparing to release some new features for Microsoft Windows 11 Insiders in the Dev development channel. Word has it that there are many features that were not in the original release that will be re-introduced to Windows 11. It’s been two weeks since the last Microsoft Windows 11 Dev release was released, leading some to wonder if something was going on inside Microsoft that led to the pause in the release.
However, sources say Microsoft has been using the extra week to add brand new features and implement some changes to the public preview branch (rs_prerelease) of Microsoft Windows 11. This is one possible reason for the recent lack of new Dev builds. However, it’s also worth noting that there has been a huge jump in build version numbers (up to Build 250xx), which indicates that a new development cycle is starting.
Some of these changes include the following:
- Create an application folder on the Start menu
- Drag and drop support on the taskbar
- New Acrylic or Blur effect for traditional title bars
- New snapping UX user experience called “Snap Bar”
- New gesture to open the Start menu
- Touch support for quick settings panel
The following are some functional analysis or introduction.
Applications folder in the Start menu
This upcoming feature is highly anticipated by Microsoft Windows 11 users, and it functions as you would expect. When you tap and drag one app over another, this will create a new folder that you can tap. This new feature allows users to have more organization on their Start menu.
The new Snap Bar feature will introduce a new mechanism for occupying multiple application windows in Microsoft Windows 11’s built-in mobile grid system. Currently, there are two different ways to grab an application window: the drop-down that appears when you hover over a window control, or dragging a window to the corner of the screen. With the advent of the new Snap Bar feature, there will be a third option. Specifically, when you click and drag a window across the screen, the user will see a bar panel appear in the top portion of the screen.
New Acrylic / Blur effect
You’ll find slight UI changes to the traditional title bar, as the new Acrylic or blur effect will replace the familiar white title bar design. If you watched Microsoft Windows Live in January, you should have an idea of what this new feature will look like, albeit in low quality.
Start menu and quick settings changes
Tablet users will be delighted, and some major improvements are arriving via new gestures. These gestures will allow easier access to the Start menu and quick settings panel by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. If you swipe up from the system tray, this will launch quick settings. On the other hand, swiping up elsewhere on the screen will open the Start menu.
Finally, Microsoft Windows 11 users will finally experience the missing functionality from the taskbar. These features include support for drag and drop, a better UI, and the ability to automatically hide the taskbar when using the device’s tablet mode.
Of course, it’s highly likely that we’ve missed several other features, or that Microsoft will announce more in a while. Here are all the new features expected to be available to closed beta testers in the Dev Channel:
- Applications folder in Start
- Drag and drop functionality on the taskbar
- Quick Settings/Notification Center Improvements
- Pinned files in file explorer
- Acrylic title bar
- Snap Bar User Experience
- Gestures using touch Start/Quick Settings
- New Live Captioning Feature
The next major release of Microsoft Windows 11 is codenamed “Sun Valley 2,” and these will be the features that shape it. As always, Microsoft may still cancel or delay some of these features, we’ll have to wait and see.