Windows 11 features already in preview: Everything you can try right now

Windows 11 features already in preview: Everything you can try right now

After a few months of testing with Windows Insiders, the first version of Windows 11 finally began rolling out to the public on October 5th, and it’s now available on most laptops you can buy today. The lead-up to the launch was an exciting time, and we believe Windows 11 is a worthwhile upgrade for most users. In fact, we said as much in our Windows 11 review. But nothing ever stops moving in the tech world, and we’re already looking ahead at what’s next. Windows Insiders in the Dev channel are already testing what will be future updates for Windows 11, and there will be features available in preview for those users before anyone else.

Among those features, there’s support for Android apps in Windows 11. Indeed, this feature was announced alongside Windows 11, and we initially believed it would be launched at the same time. However, those plans have been delayed, and even Windows Insiders don’t get to test that feature yet. Another thing that could be coming soon is a new Entertainment tab in the Store, which Microsoft has also promised in the past, and that’s meant to be a place where you can find content from third-party apps. For example, if you want to find a movie on Netflix or Disney+, it’ll be there. We’ve also seen hints that a new Media Player app could be in the works, and Notepad could get a visual update too.

However, none of that is available to test just yet. We’re very early in the development cycle, and what we have so far are very small changes. For example, the new File Explorer context menus have been updated to include an option to pin an item to Quick Access. Before, you’d have to go through the Show more options button to see this. Additionally, this new menu design is now available when you right-click the Recycle Bin on your desktop.

Screenshot of new context menu in Windows 11

Another small new feature in Windows 11 previews is that clicking the power button in the Start menu will now show you an option called Sign-in options. This takes you to the Settings app where you can change your PIN, set up Windows Hello, and so on. An even smaller change is that you’ll now see a new loading animation when on your computer’s start-up screen.

Finally, Microsoft has changed the behavior for SMB compression, so that the compression algorithm always tries to reduce the file size as much as possible before transferring it over the network.

That’s about it in terms of new Windows 11 features available in preview, but of course, we’re just getting started. Windows 11 will get major feature updates once a year, so we have plenty of time to see more features get added before the next update arrives in the fall of 2022. We’ll be keeping this article up to date as new features are available.

If you want to test these features out yourself, you can download the latest Windows Insider ISO from Microsoft’s website, or join the Windows Insider Program on your PC to get preview builds. If you haven’t installed the public version of Windows 11 yet, check out our guide on how to download and install Windows 11. If you’re worried about having issues with your PC, we also have a guide for installing Windows 11 in a VM.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Writer at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.