Even though Windows 11 is still in the works, Microsoft has made its first preview available today for anyone who’s a Windows Insider.
The Windows 11 preview build is titled “build 22000.51” and Windows Insiders can download it now. It’s not too complicated to become a Windows Insider. All you need to do is register over at the official website to become one and the preview build will be available for you to test. You’ll probably encounter some bugs, but that’s part of the experience of a tester.
This preview build contains many of the features presented during the reveal, but it’s still missing some. Microsoft plans on adding more over the coming months. Windows 11 will be a free upgrade for all Windows 10 users and will be released later this year, possibly in October.
Here are some of the key features that you’ll see in case you download Windows 11 preview build 22000.51, according to Microsoft’s official announcement.
- Start: Start puts everything you need on your PC at the center with a set of pinned apps and a cloud-powered “Recommended” section that shows your recently opened files from both your PC and across your devices like your smartphone with OneDrive.
- Taskbar: Taskbar is also centered with beautiful new animations. Try pinning, launching, switching, minimizing, and rearranging your apps on Taskbar to see the beautiful new animations.
- Notification Center & Quick Settings: The lower right corner of Taskbar has a button for Notification Center (WIN + N) and Quick Settings (WIN + A). Notification Center is the home for all your notifications in the OS and a full-month calendar view. Quick Settings is the place for you to manage common PC settings quickly and easily like Volume, Brightness, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Focus Assist. Directly above your Quick Settings, you’ll see media playback controls when playing music or videos in Microsoft Edge or streaming music in apps like Spotify.
- File Explorer: Microsoft made File Explorer modern with a clean look and a new command bar. Microsoft also introduced beautifully designed context menus when right-clicking in File Explorer or on your desktop. App developers will be able to extend the new context menus. Microsoft is working to publish documentation for app developers on how to do this with their apps soon.
- Themes: In addition to new default themes for Windows 11 for both dark and light mode, it also includes four additional themes so you can make Windows feel the way you want it to. All the new themes were designed to complement the centered Taskbar. Microsoft also added new contrast themes for people with visual impairments such as light sensitivity. To change your theme, just right-click on your desktop and choose “Personalize”.
- Sounds: The sounds in Windows 11 have been designed to be lighter and more atmospheric. They’re also slightly different depending on whether your Windows theme is in dark or light mode. The startup sound for Windows also makes its return in which you’ll hear when your PC boots up to the Lock screen and is ready to go for you to log in.