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Windows Insiders Can Now Preview Windows 11 Launch Build

Microsoft teases Windows 11's launch date
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 11 is in the final stages of development with the first build going public in under two weeks, and now Windows insiders can preview that build early. 

According to Windows Latest, you can preview the October 2021 Windows 11 update for yourself as Microsoft has opened it up to the release preview channel for final preparations. This build is known as 22000.194 (KB5005635) to Insiders and is available under the beta and preview channels. There's also a new dev channel build (build number 22463) that plays around with features like PowerToys, although that build's a little more future facing. 

This announcement marks the end of any major development changes to the first public build of Windows 11. Microsoft will now be making final touches to the new operating system, and fixing any small bugs that might remain.

If you want to try out Windows 11, this is the perfect time to do so. Microsoft's release preview channel is aimed towards commercial users, so the build is very stable and is perfectly safe to install on your main PC. You might encounter some minor bugs, but all system-breaking bugs have been eliminated already. 

Just remember to install any Windows 11 certified drivers once you upgrade to Windows 11, to make sure you have the best experience possible.

Once you join the release preview channel, under Microsoft's Windows Insider group, you will be prompted with a new "Upgrade to Windows 11 is ready" banner from Windows Update. From here, you can either "Stay on Windows 10 for now" or download and install Windows 11.

If you opt to stay on Windows 10, your system will receive the Windows 10 October 2021 Update (21H2) instead of the Windows 11 version.

Dev Build 22463 Introduces PowerToys to Windows 11

Alongside updating the October beta and preview channel builds to reflect the Windows 11 release status, Microsoft has also released a new Insider build to the dev channel with build number 22463. This new build incorporates Microsoft PowerToys for the first time in Windows 11, and of course has lots of bug fixes and improvements.

Microsoft notes it's going to be a while before major new features show up in the dev branch. Presumably, Microsoft is too busy working on Windows 11's October update to be worried about future features at this time.

The biggest update to this build is definitely the addition of Microsoft PowerToys to Windows 11. This app has been with Windows since 95 and is a great resource for further customizing and improving the Windows experience for productivity. PowerToys allows you to do things like remap keyboard shortcuts, keep your PC from sleeping from the taskbar, quickly organize Windows and so much more.

You can get PowerToys from the Microsoft Store now, and it seems to be available for all Windows 11 builds, not just 22463.

Further improvements to Windows 11 build 22463 include the following:

  • When you have a file or folder selected in File Explorer, you can now use CTRL + Shift + C to copy the path to your clipboard.
  • Rounded the corners of the pop-ups shown when clicking “identify displays” in Display Settings.
  • Made some small adjustments to the contrast theme colors based on feedback, including making hyperlinks a little more distinct on hover when using the desert theme.
  • Added an icon next to the volume slider in Quick Settings to help make the option for managing audio endpoints more discoverable.
  • Updated the Windows Ease of Access folder in Start’s All apps list to now simply be called Accessibility.
  • Added an option to Focus Assist settings so you can choose whether or not you would like Focus Assist to be automatically enabled for the first hour after a Windows feature update.

For further details on bug fixes, check out the Windows Blog post here.