New, more tablet-friendly Windows 11 test build • The Register

Another test version of Windows 11 has seen the light of day, this time with improvements aimed at tablet users.

It’s been a while since Microsoft (or its OEMs) had a problem with a dedicated tablet, and we doubt there are many Surface Pros out there without a keyboard attached or within reach. However, with build 22563, Microsoft said “we are introducing a new taskbar state specifically designed to help you feel more confident and comfortable using your device as a tablet.”

It doesn’t feel like a return to the touch world of Windows 8. Instead, the taskbar now has two states for those with the right hardware (laptops and desktops shouldn’t apply) – collapsed and expanded.

Toggled by swiping up and down from the bottom of the screen, collapsed stows the helm out of the way, while extended makes it easier to type with your fingers.

The release, which supports ARM64 devices this time around, also includes more “dynamic content” for widgets. “With a dynamic feed, it’s less difficult for you to manage the canvas yourself,” Microsoft said. Alternatively, you can stick with your own custom design or just skip them.

Other things include a new Group Policy to allow education IT admins to disable Windows Update notifications (although nagging will resume if user action is required and the device reaches the deadline) . With a hopeful tone, Microsoft suggested that devices could update automatically overnight, when students weren’t around.

Search from Quick Access now includes OneDrive, Downloads and any other indexed location, and there are 37 new emoji characters to play with. Fixes include handling slow connections with a large temp folder and “some issues affecting reliability of explorer.exe”.

Microsoft also addressed some cosmetic issues. A fix means that the taskbar’s top border line now runs all the way to the end instead of stopping at the system tray. Unfortunately, this only applies if you are one of the lucky ones able to enable the tablet-optimized taskbar.

As always, there’s no guarantee that what’s in this Dev Channel release will ever make it to the mainstream, and not all Windows Insiders with the right hardware will have immediate access to it.

However, after a separate reverse ferret following the Windows 8 fiasco, the change could hint at a possible future fondleslab for at least some Windows users. ®

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