Windows 11 has settled in a lot since its original release, but Microsoft continues to test new features and polish the operating system in its Insider Preview program. Releases so far this month have focused on bug fixes and UI tweaks, but a few notable changes are notable enough to note.
This week’s release, build 22598, contains relatively few user-visible changes. The first is that “a limited number of Windows Insiders” performing clean installs will have their desktop wallpapers set to rotate Windows Spotlight images by default. The other change is that Microsoft is experimenting with 4K wallpapers through Spotlight. There’s also a new album-centric view for artist pages in the revamped Media Player app.
Last week’s preview, build 22593, brought some changes to File Explorer and some window management improvements. The default view for new File Explorer windows is now called “Home”, although the available content doesn’t change much. Folders can still be pinned to your home window, but the “Quick Access” label has been moved from the navigation sidebar to the main window, and “pinned” files are now called “Favorites” to make them more consistent with the labeling used in OneDrive and Office.
When you bring up the Snap Layouts popup with the Win+Z keyboard shortcut, the preview version also labels each layout option with a number, making it easier to select a layout from the keyboard without moving your hand to your mouse or your trackpad.
These preview builds of Windows 11 will also begin to actively recommend that you enable Memory Integrity Security, showing you a notification when it’s disabled (as it will be on all Windows 11 PCs except most recent by default). As we wrote, the Memory Integrity feature (also called HVCI) works best on newer processors that support a feature called Mode-Based Execution Control (MBEC). But even with MBEC support, you might notice a slight drop in performance for games and other CPU-intensive tasks. It’s easy to enable it on a general-purpose laptop or a desktop PC you use primarily for work, but the trade-off might be more noticeable for a gaming PC or workstation that needs all of this. how much processor power it can get.
Enabling Memory Integrity Feature won’t be a prerequisite for installing or upgrading to Windows 11 on these PCs, and the warning prompt can be skipped. If you’re running Windows 11 on a PC with an unsupported CPU, it’s probably better do not to enable the memory integrity feature. Running it on older processors without MBEC support may have a much more noticeable performance hit.
The latest Windows 11 Insider updates have been released on the Dev and Beta channels. The two will eventually separate again; the Dev channel will receive more experimental and less stable features, and the Beta channel will be a place to experiment with likely public Windows features. Dev Channel users who wish to upgrade to the more stable Beta Channel are encouraged to do so now while both channels still receive the same builds.
Some of the new features being tested in the Insider Preview channels will likely wait for the next big Windows 11 servicing update, which is slated for release this fall. Others, especially bug fixes, “may end up” in updates to Windows 11 21H2, the current public version of Windows.