Microsoft rolls out first test build of Windows 11

Windows Insider testers in the Dev Channel can download Windows 11 build 22000.51 and a first preview of the new Microsoft app store today.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is making available today to Insider testers in the Dev Channel the first officially released build of Windows 11 today, June 28. Build 22000.51 includes some but not all of the features that Microsoft showed off last week during its Windows 11 unveiling. And a first official preview of the new Store app is available to testers today, as well, as is a test build of Office that includes a UI that's refreshed to be more compatible with Windows 11.

Preview build 22000 does feature the new Start and Taskbar, centered Lock Screen elements and text, Widgets, Snap layouts, redesigned Settings, new Windows sounds and themes and more. The preview of Windows 11 available today doesn't include the Chat with Teams button and updated versions of Microsoft apps like Photos -- all of which will be coming in later test builds. And the Store preview testers get today will show off the new design, but not yet include other features like the ability to run Android apps.

A new "out of box" set-up experience is part of today's test build. It includes new animations and access to the new "Get Started app" (for those who opt to try it out). Microsoft also is allowing a subset of Insider testers to try out a feature which will provide estimated times for how long a restart for updates will take as part of today's build. This information will be on the Power Menu under Start.

Windows 11 testers can check out the ability to rearrange "pinned" apps and recently accessed content in the paginated grid that's part of the new Start experience. The Search box isn't yet part of the new Start. But the new Notifications Center and Quick Settings are. By clicking or tapping on the date and time, users can open the Notification Center and see a full-month calendar view (or just a couple of weeks if they prefer).

The new File Explorer -- updated versions of which Insider testers saw back in March -- is now getting a command bar instead of the ribbon. More commonly used commands are prioritized, and app developers will be able, at some point, to extend the new context menus. Microsoft has visually tweaked the Settings menu to make it prettier and easier to navigate, officials said.

The Widgets option currently gives users access to calendar, MSN weather, MSN News, local traffic, Microsoft To Do lists and photos from OneDrive. Widgets can be accessed by a new icon on the Taskbar; by swiping left using touch or using the WIN +W shortcut.

Testers also are able to try out the ability to personalize their touch keyboards and "voice typing" (two features that Insiders were testing already up until recently). Today's build also includes improved three- and four-finger touch gestures; a new Pen menu; and display improvements, including a way to boost the dynamic refresh rate; Auto HDR support; and better app support for multiple displays.

For those with PCs that include Wi-Fi 6E support and a WiFi 6E-capable router, Windows 11, including today's test build, will include built-in support it. 

Microsoft has more detail about the features in test build 22000 in today's blog post. That blog post also includes a list of known issues in today's build.


(click on image to enlarge)

Credit: Microsoft

To test the first official Windows 11 build, people need to be signed up as Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel. (The Beta and Release Channels also will get Windows 11 test builds at some point, officials said.)

As Microsoft officials cautioned last week, the ability to download the official Windows 11 preview builds on existing PCs is not a guarantee that those same PCs will run the final Windows 11 release which starts rolling out later this year. Microsoft has upped the hardware requirements for Windows 11, but has done such a terrible job communicating exactly how that it's not really possible to know for sure right now if an existing PC will support the coming OS or not.

In addition, officials said last week: "All Windows Insiders who have already been installing builds from the Dev Channel on their PCs up through June 24, 2021 will be allowed to continue installing Windows 11 Insider Preview builds even if their PC does not meet the minimum hardware requirements."

Those already downloading today's Windows 11 official build are saying it installs fine on top of the leaked Windows 11 build.

As officials said last week, some new PCs preloaded with Windows 11 will be available this holiday season. Microsoft is expected to enable some Windows 10 users who "seek" Windows 11 to install it on qualifying hardware this fall, and more existing Windows 10 users should be able to get the release in early 2022. Those who don't want Windows 11 or can't install it due to hardware limitations will be able to stay on Windows 10. A new Windows 10 feature update, Windows 10 21H2, will be out this fall.

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