Microsoft has released a new preview of Windows 11, bringing the Chat experience from Teams and a new Taskbar experience.
The new Chat button in Windows 11 began rolling out earlier this week for Windows Insiders on the Dev channel. The button is part of the Windows 11 Taskbar and replaces the Skype Meet Now button from Windows 10. Users on the Dev Channel can install Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22000.100.
Dev channel users can click the Chat icon in the taskbar (or press the WIN+C shortcut) to see the most recent Teams conversations or start a new chat or call. It's a shortcut to opening the full Teams app, which can also be opened from the Chat flyout and is available after installing the Teams app. The rollout is happening gradually, so not all users will see it immediately, according to Microsoft.
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Windows 11 introduces a major overhaul of the Windows user interface. There is a hidden icons flyout on the lower right of the Taskbar that Microsoft has updated to reflect the design of Windows 11.
Microsoft has added a shortcut to access Focus assist settings from the Notification Center. Additionally, if an app is in the background and needs attention, the app will flash on the Taskbar, so users notice it.
"In Windows 11, we have updated this design so that it still grabs your attention but with a calming treatment that minimizes the impact of unwarranted distractions," Microsoft's Windows Insider team notes.
Eventually, the flashing stops and a red 'pill' appears under the icon to remind the user that the backgrounded app needs addressing. The backplate of the icon is shaded red.
Microsoft has also made some minor UI tweaks, including resizing the touch keyboard icon in the taskbar and allowing the taskbar calendar flyout to collapse when clicking the chevron in the top corner fully. The latter change gives more space for notifications.
The Microsoft Store has been updated to improve navigation, including animations when an app or movie is browsed.
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The new version of Teams isn't an Electron-based app but rather is built on Edge WebView 2. It features light and dark modes, Together Mode, live emoji reactions, user polls, and integrates directly with the calendar. Users can automatically sync their Skype and Outlook contacts.
Microsoft has fixed a bunch of minor bugs in the forthcoming OS, including Explorer.exe crashes when the date and time button is clocked on the taskbar.
There are also fixes for the clock in the taskbar, explorer.exe crashes triggered by the volume icon, improvements to the progress bar below icons, several taskbar icon fixes, and correct months in the calendar flyout.