Windows 11 Insider Preview: Microsoft is running on two tracks in the Beta Channel

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Windows Insiders can now try new features for Windows 11 in the less risky Beta Channel that were previously available for developers for the first time in the Dev Channel. However, insiders only get access to the new features if they have received the correct one of two new builds from Microsoft.

Microsoft is now going two-pronged in the Beta Channel for Windows 11, to test new functions and on the distribution itself among the insiders and to collect feedback for this. Builds 22622.290 and 22621.290, which differ in that Build 22622.290 comes with new features by default or these new functions can at least be activated via so-called enablement packages, while Build 22621.290 has to do without the new functions and only brings the bug fixes that apply to both releases. This two-pronged approach existed three years ago with Windows 10.

Large distribution of build 22622.290

On the Windows Blog, Microsoft explains that this measure is intended, among other things, to validate how successfully the company can distribute new builds with features disabled by default. Feedback and usage data from the two insider groups will be compared and will influence future rollout decisions. However, Microsoft makes it clear that most Insiders will receive Build 22622.290 with the activated or at least integrated new functions, which can be activated later for selected Microsoft Insiders.

The company states that it is aware that Windows Insiders want to be able to choose their preferred build and not be assigned. If the user is offered Build 22621.290 without the new functions, they can start a new search for updates and should then also be offered Build 22622.290. It can also happen that previously activated functions are deactivated by the update, but are still integrated in the update and then have to be restored manually via an enablement package.

Windows 11 makes suggestions for actions

New, but only for build 22622.290 and also only for US, Canada, and Mexico users are recommended actions when highlighting and copying a date, time, or phone number. Windows 11 then offers the user potentially suitable actions such as calling the phone number via apps such as teams or creating an event in the calendar. The copied information such as date and time is then automatically transferred to the selected application.

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Suggested Action for Date and Time (Image: Microsoft)

In addition, Insiders in the Beta Channel get in the settings now also the integration of OneDrive subscriptions, as was done with the Insider Preview Build 25145 in the Dev Channel. In the Beta Channel, the feature will initially be unlocked for standalone subscriptions with 100 GB of cloud storage. In the overview of accounts, active subscriptions and memory usage for OneDrive can now also be viewed and adjusted in the same way as in Microsoft 365.