Those hoping to check out Windows 11 early can now do so with the release of the first Windows 11 Insider Preview build, named Build 22000.51.
Among the highlighted features present in this build include the Notification Center at the lower right corner of the Taskbar and Quick Settings, which allows quick access to settings like Volume, Brightness, and Wi-Fi. “Directly above your Quick Settings, you will see media playback controls when playing music or videos in Microsoft Edge or streaming music in apps like Spotify,” says Microsoft.
There’s also Widgets, which currently covers things like the calendar, weather, local traffic, OneDrive photos, and more. Other features in Build 22000.51 include Personalized News, multitasking features like snap layouts and snap groups, and a new design for the Microsoft Store. Settings now has “breadcrumbs” to ensure you don’t get lost while delving into it, persistent left-handed navigation, and hero controls to “highlight key information and frequently used settings”.
Microsoft says that features like Chat with Microsoft Teams and Android apps in the Microsoft Store will arrive “over the coming months”.
You can get the full rundown by Microsoft here, with the blog post also covering aspects like Dynamic Refresh Rate, File Explorer changes, the new voice-typing launcher, improved touch gestures, docking, and touch keyboard personalization, to name a few. To see if your computer can run Windows 11, the basic requirements are here. To get in on the action, you'll have to register with the Windows Insider Program. Microsoft has instructions for first-time Insiders here, with the post also including a table on eligibility for Windows 11 preview builds.
There’s no official release date for Windows 11 yet, but Microsoft has said that it will end support for Windows 10 in October 2025.