Windows 11 preview brings File Explorer update, plus lots of bug fixes

Microsoft reshapes File Explorer to make finding files in the cloud easier.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has rolled out a new preview of Windows 11 that renames the File Explorer homepage as Home, but the preview doesn't include the new tabs feature that Microsoft talked up this week. 

The browser-like tabs are coming to Windows File Explorer, as Microsoft announced this week, along with customizable App Folders, security improvements, and more. But the latest update of the Windows 11 in the Insider Preview Build 22593 for Dev and Beta Channels users replaces the File Explorer home page with the newly minted "Home" feature. The Quick Access button has also been renamed Favorites to make it consistent with Office and OneDrive. 

The Home section displays pinned local and cloud files that can be searched via a box in File Explorer. This should make it easier to find recently shared Office files.

This preview is not a major update but Microsoft promises that testers should have a more stable experience of Windows on their devices.      

Developers should notice a change with Windows Terminal too. Now the WIN + X command shows Terminal if it's installed. If Windows Terminal isn't present on a system, the shortcut displays PowerShell instead.

The Microsoft Journal app is on the Pen menu for devices that support this feature. The app will be installed from the Microsoft Store, according to Microsoft.

If you use WIN + Z to open layouts, it will now display numbers to make it easier to pick a specific layout.

Microsoft is also improving the Focus feature, which aims to counter distractions. Users can currently control timed focus sessions through the Clock app and should soon be able to schedule a focus time through the Outlook email client. Microsoft added 5-minute increments for allocations of quiet-time under a half hour in this preview. 

Windows 11 is gaining some security improvements through protections to memory processes that are used to handle security processes, but it is not enabled by default. 

"Memory integrity is a feature in Windows 11 designed to prevent attacks from inserting malicious code into high-security processes. This feature can be found in Windows Security under Device Security > Core isolation. In the most recent Insider Preview builds, we will notify the user that this feature is currently turned off so that action can be taken for the user to turn it back on so that their device is as secure as possible against malicious attacks," Microsoft says. 

There are a lots of fixes for the Windows 11 Taskbar, which Microsoft has been working to address due to persistent stability issues. 

For example, Microsoft claims to have fixed a problem where app icons were animating unexpectedly when launching a new app. There were also duplicated app icons and issues with app icons on dual-display setups. Some icons were also upside-down when switching between tablet and PC mode. 

The lengthy list of fixes for Windows taskbar shows the challenges Microsoft is having making that part of the user interface work nicely with all hardware, including touchscreen devices and conventional PCs with mouse and keyboard input. 

There are also fixes for the Start menu and Microsoft search on Windows, which was using too much memory and was unstable. 

Testers should also notice a smoother visual experience when loading Home in File Explorer.   

Widgets gained a fix for reliability issues when pinning from the Feed and reorganizing widgets on the board. There are also fixes for the Settings and Task Manager apps, and fixes for the voice access, narrator and live caption accessibility features. 

Microsoft says it "addressed an underlying issue leading to live captions showing a download error, even though the download had actually completed successfully."

Features that arrive in dev channel Windows releases don't necessarily correspond to a particular Windows feature release

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