Windows 11 build 22557 adds Start folders, touch gestures, and more
After two weeks without a new build, Windows Insiders can look forward to Windows 11 build 22557 today. With a whole two weeks since the last release, there’s quite a bit that’s new in this build. It’s one of the most feature-packed builds yet, with improvements to the Start menu, touch navigation for tablets, and much more.
One of the big new changes is the ability to create folders in the Start menu. You can now drag and drop an app’s icon over another to create a new folder, making it easier to have multiple apps available at a glance on the pinned apps list without scrolling through pages or going to the apps list. This was a feature with live tiles on Windows 10, but Windows 11 didn’t have it initially, so it’s a welcome feature to see come back.
One of the biggest features, especially if you’re a tablet or convertible user, is the new touch gestures. Microsoft has added new touch gestures that make Windows 11 far more suitable for this kind of device, which is something that’s been missing from Windows for a long time. These include swiping up from the middle of the taskbar to open the Start menu (and swiping down to close it), and in the Start menu itself, you can swipe right over the Pinned app area to see your All Apps list, or swipe right from the Recommended area to see the “More” page. You can swipe up from the notification area to open the Quick Settings panel (swipe down to dismiss it).
Additionally, Microsoft has updated the animation for swiping in from the right to see the Notification Center, so now it follows your finger as you swipe, instead of opening at a fixed speed. Additionally there’s now a “full-screen gripper”. If you swipe in from the sides of the screen accidentally while running a full-screen app, you’ll now see a small gripper so you can swipe in again to open the Notification Center. This way, you won’t accidentally cover up the app you’re using.
Windows 11 build 22557 also comes with a new Do not disturb feature, which appears to be the new name for what Microsoft called Focus assist. When you turn on Do not disturb, notifications will be silenced and you won’t see them pop up on the screen anymore. You can still see your notifications in the Notification Center, though. You can set rules for Do not disturb to kick in automatically, pretty much like Focus assist.
However, Microsoft also has a new feature simply called Focus, and it’s kind of a merger of focus sessions in the Clock app with Do not disturb. With Focus, you can start a focus session at any time from the Notification Center, set a timer, and get started. When Focus is enabled, you’ll see a timer on screen, Do not disturb will be enabled, and notification badges for taskbar apps will be disabled. Apps won’t be allowed to flash on the taskbar, either. Because it integrates with the Focus sessions feature of the Clock app, you can also play music that helps you focus and access tasks from your to-do lists on Microsoft To Do.
Another new feature in Windows 11 build 22557 is Live Captions, which is pretty much the same thing you already know from Android and some Google apps. When you play any content with audio, Windows 11 will use on-device speech-to-text technology to transcribe the audio into text, so those with hearing impairments can more easily follow along without relying on pre-made captions that may or may not be available. Live Captions are only available in English (US) for now.
File Explorer is also getting a couple of big improvements with this build. First off, the Quick Access page now allows you to pin files to the top of the Recent files list so you can always find important documents quickly. If you use OneDrive, you can also now see how much space you have available on your cloud profile right within File Explorer.
Yet another big improvement in Windows 11 build 22557 is related to snap layouts. Now, you can drag a window near the top of the screen to see various Snap Layouts available, so you can easily choose the layout you want and where you want the current window to go in that layout. Then, snap assist lets you finish setting up the layout easily.
There’s also a new Task Manager in this build, which some users had discovered in previous builds a few weeks ago. This new Task manager supports dark mode and has a new design that follows the Windows 11 design language a lot better. The Task Manager also has a new efficiency mode, which forces apps to use less power, so you can favor performance in other apps or save battery power, for example.
On that note, the power settings page in the Settings app have been tweaked so the default timers for sleep and screen-off settings are different in order to lower energy consumption. However, those settings won’t change if you’re just upgrading to this build, only for those who clean install it. Additionally, this page will now make recommendations to change certain settings in order to save power. For example, if you have disabled the screen-off timer (so the screen is always on), you’ll be prompted to re-enable it.
Finally, this build includes some improvements to how Narrator works with Microsoft Edge so reading and navigating web pages is more natural and efficient. There’s also a new PowerShell module that lets you provision language features for Windows 11.
Aside from all that, Windows 11 build 22557 comes with a ton of smaller improvements. We’ve rounded up some highlights below:
- You can now drag and drop content to apps on the taskbar (a feature that oddly was removed in Windows 11’s original release).
- When sharing a window in Microsoft Teams (work or school), you’ll now see a taskbar indicator for the window that’s being shared.
- PCs that have more than one color profile can now switch between them with a new action in the Quick Settings panel.
- When casting to a wireless display, you’ll now see a cast icon on the taskbar’s notification area.
- The charging icon has been updated to use a lightning bolt icon instead of a cable icon.
- File Explorer now shows previews of files inside folders.
- If you share a file to Outlook from File Explorer, you can now compose a message directly in a small pop-up window without opening the Outlook app (requires Outlook desktop app and Outlook Desktop Integration).
- Searching for apps and settings in the Windows search box is now faster and more accurate.
- In the Alt + Tab task switcher, Snap Groups are now displayed with your desktop background behind them to make them easier to identify.
- The transition when moving a snapped app to a different position is now smoother.
- The transition when rotating your display is faster and smoother (for tablets and convertibles).
- Mica is now being used in more places, including the Run dialog.
- Windows 11 Pro now also requires an internet connection and Microsoft account to set up, similar to Windows 11 Home.
Finally, Windows 11 build 22557 has a ton of fixes, which are far too many to list in raw text. You can see them below if you’re interested:
Fixes in Windows 11 build 22557
- Fixed a recurring backgroundTaskHost.exe some Insiders were experiencing.
- Fixed an issue leading to auto HDR not activating as expected in certain games.
- Mitigated an lsass.exe crash that was resulting in some Insiders seeing crashes on the login screen in recent flights.
- Addressed an issue that was leading to noticeably distorted audio for audio devices connected using the Xbox Wireless Adapter in recent flights.
- Task View should no longer crash if you hold CTRL while hovering over it.
- Dragging a file across the taskbar on secondary monitors should no longer cause an explorer.exe crash.
- Updated the Storage Usage button in the Properties dialog for a disk to now be called Details and a little wider, to accommodate for languages where the button text was getting truncated.
- Improved the performance of deleting files in Recycle Bin.
- Fixed the Blu-ray icon so it aligns with the other drive and volume icons.
- Addressed an issue where the IME candidate window was unexpectedly not following your preference of light or dark mode.
- Fixed an issue leading to some elements of the voice typing settings flyout to be invisible in dark mode.
- The IME candidate window should appear as expected now in the username field of a UAC prompt.
- Updated the term “Halfwidth alphanumeric / Direct Input” to just say “Halfwidth Alphanumeric” in the Japanese IME context menu.
- Fixed an issue where after typing hiragana in Kana-input mode if there was a half-width alphabet character before the hiragana in composition it would unexpectedly become full-width.
- Addressed a rare issue where the input switcher might unexpectedly list the same entry twice.
- Mitigated an issue leading to an unexpected black box that was appearing in the input switcher sometimes.
- Updated the input switcher so it can get a bit taller now for people with more than 4 keyboards.
- Fixed a memory leak in the input switcher leading to explorer.exe crashing after repeated rapid use.
- Fixed an explorer.exe crash when clicking on More Keyboard Settings in the input switcher.
- Fixed an issue where the emoji panel might show “you’re offline” even though you had network connectivity.
- Fixed an issue where the multiply emoji and counterclockwise arrows button emoji were displaying the design for the wrong emoji.
- Updated the preview in the Personalization > Text input Settings page to reflect your desktop wallpaper rather than the default.
- Did some work to improve reliability of the Stop media key when media is playing.
- We fixed a Visual C++ Runtime mismatch causing voice access to not run on some PCs.
- Fixed a high hitting search crash.
- Clicking the search box in Start will now immediately switch over to Search without showing the Search window animate in upwards, just like when you press the Windows key and start to type.
- Addressed an issue where Narrator wasn’t reading the elements of System > Storage correctly.
- Fixed the broken “size and theme” link under Time & Language > Typing > Touch keyboard.
- Did some work to help improve performance when updating accent color or mode.
- We made a change to help reduce clipping in combo boxes in Settings for certain languages and text sizes.
- Fixed an issue that was causing the icons on the IME settings pages to sometimes be white on white.
- Mitigated an issue leading to the install button having truncated text in some languages when previewing fonts.
- Fixed an underlying crash that was causing the preview video on System > Display > HDR to be distorted sometimes.
- Addressed an underlying issue that could make Settings crash when you scrolled the window.
- Adjusted the Wi-Fi icon in the Wi-Fi section of Quick Settings so that the lock shown for a secured network now has a small separation from the Wi-Fi strength, making it a bit easier to distinguish.
- Updated the name of Spotlight collection to be Windows Spotlight, so it’s consistent with the Lock screen.
- Made a change to help make Windows Spotlight update images more reliably.
- Rather than showing a solid color background, if for some reason new Windows Spotlight images aren’t available for the desktop, it will now fall back to showing the default Windows Spotlight background image (Whitehaven Beach).
- Right-clicking on “Learn more about this picture” for Windows Spotlight on the desktop will now always show all options, just greyed out if they’re not currently available.
- When hovering over “Learn more about this picture”, the tooltip should now more consistently align with the current image.
- Addressed an issue that was causing the minimize, maximize, and close buttons in File Explorer and some other apps to be invisible in certain cases.
- Mitigated an issue leading to performance impact when dragging windows with acrylic and other scenarios with acrylic.
- You should no longer see a briefly visible yellow border when taking screenshots.
- We’ve made some improvements to address feedback that windows were repositioning unexpectedly.
- Did some work to address an issue that might cause certain VPN connections to fail. If you continue experiencing issues, please file feedback with a capture of the issue under Network and Internet > Connecting with a VPN client.
- Fixed an issue that was leading to decreased Wi-Fi speeds after waking your PC from sleep in the previous flight.
- When backspacing, Narrator will now more consistently announce when you’re deleting characters with backspace.
- Fixed an issue causing Narrator not to read selected text in the Feedback Hub.
There are still some known issues in this release, too, which are always worth looking into before jumping in. A major known issue is that this build simply isn’t available for ARM64 PCs due to some problems. If you have a device like the Surface Pro X, you’ll have to wait a while longer for these features. The other issues are listed below:
Known issues in Windows 11 build 22557
- When going through the device setup experience (OOBE) on the Enterprise edition, the network add screen will be skipped on the first attempt. As a workaround, when users see the “name your computer” option, please reboot and re-start OOBE. The network add screen will now appear as expected.
- Names of apps in folders may appear blurred briefly when opening folders in Start.
- The taskbar will sometimes flicker when switching input methods.
- Searches from Quick Access may not work.
- We’re working fixing issues regarding icon sizing, visual bugs, and text clipping in the flyout showing OneDrive storage.
- The taskbar icon and tooltip may not match the focus state.
- Clock app integration requires an app update that is starting to become available today. Most users should get this update automatically, but you can check for app updates manually by navigating to Microsoft Store > Library and clicking Get updates.
- The Clock app does not yet update Windows Focus state when configuring focus sessions within the app. This will be addressed in a future app update.
- After clicking the Search icon on the Taskbar, the Search panel may not open. If this occurs, restart the “Windows Explorer” process, and open the search panel again.
- With the taskbar left-aligned, information such as temperature is not shown. This will be fixed in a future update.
- Certain apps in full screen (e.g., video players) prevent live captions from being visible.
- Certain apps positioned near the top of the screen and closed before live captions is run will re-launch behind the live captions window positioned at top. Use the system menu (ALT + Spacebar) while the app has focus to move the app’s window further down.
- The very top of maximized apps (e.g., title bar window management buttons) can’t be reached with touch while live captions is positioned at the top.
- We are aware that the Efficiency mode icon is missing on some child processes.
- Some settings options are not preserved.
- We are working on fixing issues regarding icon size, visual bugs and in most cases the workaround is to either resize Task Manager or lower the resolution settings from Settings > Display > Display resolution.
One other thing that Microsoft noted for this build is that it’s now coming from a new development branch called ni_release. This has no influence on the features you’ll receive in each build, though, and Microsoft actually warned that it will stop mentioning these changes in future blog posts for new builds.
If you want to try all these features, check out how to join the Windows Insider Program and how channels work. If not, Windows 11 got new features for non-insiders earlier this week, too, including support for Android apps.