Windows 11 was first officially announced in late June and formally became available to the public on October 4th, but it wasn't a perfectly smooth launch. Although Windows 11 has not yet been on the retail market for two months at this point, Microsoft is quickly iterating and making improvements to address internal and customer feedback. With this in mind, Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 just landed (opens in new tab) in the Insider program's Dev Channel, and it brings some meaningful changes to the UI along with a slew of bug fixes.
Perhaps the most noticeable change comes with the Start menu, which was criticized at launch for its lack of customization options. Microsoft has addressed this complaint by giving customers three ways to configure the Start menu's appearance. You can keep the default layout that ships with Windows 11, but options are now available to select "More pins" or "More recommendations" in the Start menu. Each will show an extra row of either pins or recommendations, respectively. We don't know if this move will appease all Windows 11 Start menu haters, but it's a welcome step in the direction.
Another change comes with how the clock is displayed when connecting a secondary monitor. With shipping builds of Windows 11, Microsoft removed the ability to display the clock on the secondary monitor. In this latest build, the option to make both the clock and date visible is now available. However, Microsoft notes, "We are beginning to roll this change out, so it isn't available to all Insiders just yet as we plan to monitor feedback and see how it lands before pushing it out to everyone."
Microsoft has also changed notification behavior for calls, reminders, and alarms. As Microsoft explains, "3 high priority notifications will now be shown as stacked and shown at the same time. This means at any given time, you might see up to 4 notifications at the same time – 3 high priority notifications and one normal priority notification."
The company has even made significant improvements to Narrator within Microsoft Edge. For those that don't know, Narrator is an accessibility tool that allows you to interact with a PC without using a mouse. This is especially helpful for people with limited vision or who are completely blind. Not only can Narrator be used to read content on a webpage and within documents, but it can also be used to compose emails/documents.
With Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509, typing in (and editing) fields is faster, and pressing CTRL+L allows you to start typing in the Microsoft Edge address bar immediately. "In addition to making it easier to type into edit fields, we have also made it easier to delete in edit fields. Narrator will now read the character that the cursor position is at after a character has been deleted. In other words, if the cursor is on the "h" of "hello" and you press delete, Narrator will speak 'e'."
In addition to these feature additions, Microsoft has fixed roughly two dozen bugs with this build ranging from issues with Handwriting in Chinese to overlapping text on the Installed Apps page.
Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel can download Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 right now from Windows Update.