Microsoft is taking new strides in enhancing user experience by introducing novel changes to its Windows 11 preview build. The latest Insider Dev Channel’s build, build 23481, brings about an array of modifications, including the reformation of the built-in Teams Chat integration.
Major Shift in Teams Chat Integration
Microsoft is replacing the Windows 11 integrated chat menu with a pinned app shortcut. This crucial change, available in the new Windows 11 preview build, will transition away from the Teams Chat flyout, which had initially shipped with Windows 11 in 2021. In its place, users will now have a simple pinned icon pointing to the Microsoft Teams app. The system-wide Teams integration on the Taskbar will no longer be present, marking the end of Windows 11’s dedicated Chat feature. It’s worth noting that the free version of Microsoft Teams will still come pre-installed on Windows 11, but will be represented as a pinned app on the Taskbar. This alteration could be a relief for many users, who have found little use for the free version of Microsoft Teams since Windows 11 launched. The Teams app can be unpinned easily by right-clicking and selecting ‘Unpin’, much like any other Windows app. Previously, the Teams Chat icon could only be deactivated by navigating to the Settings app and turning the feature off. This adjustment is currently in preview and is expected to roll out with the Windows 11 version 23H2 release later this year.
Additional Changes in the New Windows 11 Preview Build
Build 23481 offers a number of other significant changes, some of which are:
- Windows Ink has been modernized, allowing users to enable inking directly onto edit fields. However, this currently supports English (U.S.) only.
- A handful of old settings under Folder Options in File Explorer have been removed as part of a clean-up initiative.
- A new Focus Session widget is being rolled out as part of a Clock app update (version 11.2305.6.0 and higher) via the Microsoft Store.
- The “Never Combined Mode”, which allows each window of applications to be seen on the taskbar individually, is now available to all Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel.
- The capacity to tear out and merge tabs in File Explorer, which started rolling out with Build 23471, is now available to all Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel.
- Various bug fixes and updates have been implemented in this build, enhancing overall system performance and reliability.
Long-time Windows users may find the changes in folder option settings particularly interesting as Microsoft describes these as the removal of “legacy settings” which have been “around for ages and not being regularly used by people on Windows 11.” For those who want to preview these features, it is recommended to sign up as a Windows Insider on a spare PC to provide feedback before these changes become permanent.
On the Horizon
Microsoft continues to work on enhancing the features of Microsoft Teams – Free, hinting at future enhancements and improvements. It is improvements. It is anticipated that the company will keep refining the software, ensuring it aligns with user feedback and the evolving demands of the market.
Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program allows users to test new builds of the OS before they’re released to the general public. For users keen on trying out the changes in build 23481, participation in the Insider Program may provide the opportunity to experience these developments firsthand and have a say in Windows 11’s evolution. Remember that these Insider builds are essentially beta versions of the software, so it’s recommended that they’re installed on a spare PC or device that isn’t essential for your daily tasks. Participating in the Insider Program gives you a chance to explore new features and provide valuable feedback to Microsoft.
Microsoft’s decision to replace the integrated Teams chat with a pinned app shortcut is seen as a move towards enhancing user experience. This, along with the other changes in build 23481, points to a new phase of development for Windows 11 – one that respects legacy users while embracing modernity and improvement. Interested users are encouraged to engage in the Windows Insider Program to contribute their feedback and help shape the future of Windows 11. As these new updates and features gradually become available to the public, the anticipation builds to see how these changes will redefine user interaction with Windows 11, especially in terms of personalization and efficiency.