The Windows 11 insider build is surprisingly unpolished and unfinished

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Ars Technica 08 July, 2021 - 06:40pm 18 views

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Microsoft made early Windows 11 builds available via its Windows Insider program the week after its first major announcement, and we've spent quite a few hours kicking the tires. When Windows 11 publicly releases, it's likely to be a fine operating system—but right now, it's an unpolished, unfinished mess.

Of course, this isn't a surprise—Windows 11 is still only available in the Dev channel of the Insider program. The three Insider channels are Release Preview, Beta, and Dev; Dev roughly corresponds to a software alpha, and Microsoft itself describes it as "the newest code," with "rough edges and some instability."

The first disappointment we encountered with Windows 11 is a puzzling one—it can't (yet) be cleanly installed as a new operating system. To install Windows 11 Build 22000.51, you must begin with a fully patched and up-to-date Windows 10 installation, then flight it into the Dev channel, then upgrade it to Windows 11 via Windows Update. (If you're not already on Windows 10 20H2 or newer, you'll need to get through that upgrade first.)

We had no real problems updating either a well-used Windows 10 VM or a brand-new one—but we strongly advise against upgrading to Windows 11 on a machine or VM that matters to you, unless you have a guaranteed method of recovery you both trust and are prepared to use. Although one of our test VMs is a "daily driver" we rely on, it's sitting on top of a ZFS dataset—and we took a manual snapshot prior to the upgrade, for easy rollback.

Ironically, the first look anyone gets at Windows 11 itself right now is the dreaded BSOU (Blue Screen Of Updates)—after flighting our Windows 10 VM into the Dev channel and one very quick download, it rebooted. During the reboot, we get the usual "don't turn off your computer" message—but it's in a new font and possibly on a slightly different shade of blue background.

Although the initial download in Windows Update is over rather quickly, the "working on updates" phase is not. This phase took about an hour on each of the Windows 10 VMs we upgraded—one reasonably well-used, and one brand new.

It took almost no time to find our first and second nasty Windows 11 bugs—the DNS resolver was strangely and inconsistently broken, and the network configuration dialog under Settings was broken as well.

The second bug came while trying to troubleshoot the first—attempting to set IP address configuration directly using Windows 11's Settings dialog fails miserably, with a cryptic message to "check one or more settings and try again." There's nothing actually wrong with the settings—the dialog is just broken. Next question—is Control Panel still there?

Thankfully, Control Panel hasn't yet been done away with in Windows 11, and its tried-and-true network adapter configuration dialog works just as expected. Unfortunately, that didn't resolve the original DNS issue—which turns out to be some conflict between Windows 11 and the VirtIO network driver we're using.

Changing the VM's network adapter to emulated Intel e1000 resolved the DNS issue—as does, hilariously, leaving the NIC as VirtIO and just using a DNS server on the far side of a WireGuard tunnel. (WireGuard has its own virtual NIC, so we're technically not using our "real" network card to access the DNS server on the far side of the tunnel.)

Over the week or so we've been playing with Windows 11, we've also had the entire VM lock up and require a hard reset several times. Did we mention that this is still alpha software, and nobody should be running anything they care about on it yet?

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Here are all the different SKUs of Windows 11, according to the Bluetooth SIG - MSPoweruser

MSPoweruser 08 July, 2021 - 08:15pm

Microsoft is regularly making changes to how they offer Windows to home and enterprise users.

Today the Bluetooth SIG revealed all the different names for the SKUs of Windows 11 Microsoft will be offering.

Microsoft will be offering Windows 11 as Windows 11 Pro, Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro for Workstations, Windows 11 Pro Education, Windows 11 Enterprise, Windows 11 Education, Windows 11 Mixed Reality.

It is not known yet what the differences between the different flavours are, but we assume these will mirror Windows 10, with features such as native support for Bitlocker in Windows 10 Pro which is missing in Windows 11 Home.

Microsoft is still actively developing the operating system, and reportedly will still be adding many features between now and its release, which is currently rumoured for around October 2021, at least for new hardware.

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New Windows 11 preview comes with new taskbar features, but not the one you want

XDA Developers 08 July, 2021 - 08:15pm

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Today, Microsoft is releasing Windows 11 build 22000.65 to the Dev channel, its second ever public beta build of the new OS. Being that it’s the second preview of a major new operating system, you might be expecting big new features, but you’d be mistaken. The list of new features is pretty minor, but they do solve some pain points.

For example, you can finally see the taskbar on multiple monitors. Unfortunately, that’s not the taskbar setting that’s been heavily requested, as you still can’t move the taskbar to the sides or top of the screen. In fact, Microsoft won’t even confirm whether or not it’s considering changing that.

That’s not all. There’s now a search box in Start, and there are new system alert dialogs. There’s also a refresh option when you right-click on the desktop, and right-clicking a PS1 file will give you an option to run with PowerShell. Snap Layouts are set to work better, as it’s more optimized for the screen that you’re using. For example, if you’re on a laptop, it won’t show options that are better for a giant ultra-side display. Finally, if you right-click on the volume icon in the taskbar, you’ll see the option to troubleshoot sound problems.

Sadly, that’s about it. There are some Windows 11 features that are notably missing from the preview, such as Microsoft Teams integration, and of course, Android app support along with the Amazon Appstore. Neither of these are included in the build, at least according to Microsoft’s blog post. We’re just going to have to wait for some future Windows 11 preview for that.

Windows 11 previews should arrive weekly in the Dev channel, just like Windows 10 builds used to. They usually show up on Wednesdays, but for this week, it was a Thursday due to the holiday in the U.S. that took place on Monday. If you want to get started with the Windows 11 Insider Preview, check out our guide. Windows 11 is exclusive to the Dev channel for now, but it should arrive in the Beta channel soon.

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You can downgrade from Windows 11 to 10, but be quick

TechRadar 08 July, 2021 - 08:15pm

Plenty of people will be flocking to upgrade once the new operating system is released to the masses, but there will be the odd occasion where a PC will have trouble in running it, and issues will come to the forefront.

While System Recovery options have been in Windows for years now, this new feature of rolling back to a previous version of Windows, rather than a mid-year update, is something that will save a lot of time for users instead of attempting a clean install.

With this in mind, here’s how you will be able to roll back with no headaches, but within a time limit.

“Yes, once you have upgraded to Windows 11, you have 10 days to utilize the rollback function to move back to Windows 10 while keeping files and data that you brought along with you. After that 10-day period, you will need to back up your data and do a “clean install” to move back to Windows 10.”

This may cause a headache for some, especially if an issue appears after the ten-day time limit expires. But we are only at the start of testing Windows 11 on the Insider channels, so the time limit may be extended (or the feature may disappear entirely). For now though, it’s a useful feature that may benefit many, if only for ten days.

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A new Windows 11 Dev channel build adds a search box to Start, among other improvements

Neowin 08 July, 2021 - 08:15pm

A little more than a week after releasing the first-ever Windows 11 build to Dev channel Insiders, Microsoft is today releasing a new update for the OS, bumping it to build 22000.65 that brings with it a bunch of bug fixes and improvements, along with minor tweaks such as the addition of a search box in the Start menu and the reintroduction of the 'Refresh' option in the desktop's right-click context menu. There isn't anything in the way of new features in today's build, though, those are expected to make it in the coming weeks.

Unlike Windows 10 Dev channel builds, Windows 11 updates for Insiders leading up to the general release are expected to be cumulative updates. This is because the OS is mostly completed as for the under-the-hood bits are concerned, meaning that the version of the OS will only be serviced with cumulative updates to build 22000 containing improvements. However, the firm might introduce more UI changes via Feature Experience Packs without impacting the underlying build, thanks to the modularization and componentization of the OS.

With that out of the way, here are the changes and improvements that are being made in today's build:

And here is the long list of fixes that are being made, segregated based on the area of improvement. This includes the fix to address the PrintNightmare vulnerability, something that the firm fixed earlier this week on all supported production versions:

As expected, there are also a bunch of known issues that the firm is tracking with the build. Here is the complete list:

As with preview builds, Dev channel users running Windows 11 will be able to pull the build via Windows Update. The firm is also encouraging users to check out the Bug Bash quests to help with feedback. The company also notes that it is still looking at all the feedback from the first preview build, so more changes and improvements are to be expected soon.

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