Microsoft’s long-suffering unpaid testers are to start seeing some improvements in the Windows 11 User Interface.
Build 22509 arrived last night for Windows Insiders on the Dev Channel and, as well as making things a bit more accessible by improving the web browsing experience with Microsoft’s Edge browser and the Narrator, there were some much-needed tweaks to the Start Menu and Taskbar.
Starting with the most jarring change in the user experience for Windows 11, the Start Menu, some easy-to-access options were added. One can opt for more pinned applications or more recommendations to control how many rows of either are displayed. It’s not quite the “make it like Windows 10” that some users have requested, but it’s a step in the right direction.
And for those Windows 10 Start Menu fans, companies such as Stardock will happily sell you something to give you that old Start Menu feeling. Just like it brought back the look of Start Menus of yesteryear for Windows 10 refuseniks.
Then there are people (like this writer) who never really got over the arrival of the Start button in Windows 95 and the eventual disappearance of
Infuriatingly not available to all Insiders yet is the clock and date appearing on the taskbar of the second monitor (or monitors). Microsoft said it was planning to “monitor [sic] feedback to see how it lands before pushing it out to everyone.”
The same staggered rollout applies to changes with notifications; if you’re one of the chosen few, three high-priority notifications will now be stacked and shown at the same time.
Other tweaks have resulted in more settings moving from the venerable Control Panel to the Settings app, and the OS will remember if Bluetooth or Wi-Fi has been turned on while in airplane mode. Usefully, Windows Sandbox now supports reboot inside of its virtualized environment.
There was also the usual raft of fixes. However, it is the changes to the Start Menu that will have users sighing with relief, even if the modifications are not earth-shattering. Hopefully they are a sign of things to come and perhaps a tacit acknowledgement from Microsoft that maybe the Windows 11 user interface still needs a bit of work. ®