Windows 11 Build 22557 is now available with tons of new features, including app folders in the Start menu, drag and drop for the taskbar, and more. Today’s preview update also brings support for previewing folders in File Explorer and adds a bunch of new features, improvements on top of Build 22000.
The update is called “Windows 11 Insider Preview 22557 (NI_RELEASE)” and was released from the Nickel Release branch, an active development branch that is not associated with any version of the operating system. The changes included in today’s preview update may or may not be included in version 22H2 of Windows 11, a major update scheduled to be released in the fall of this year.
Unlike previous updates, Build 22557 is actually the first big preview update for Windows 11. It comes with tons of features, like drag and drop for the taskbar, a new privacy feature to highlight app windows that are shared in Teams meetings, a new experience for “Focus Assist”, and much more.
Microsoft’s decision to remove drag and drop from the Windows 11 taskbar was controversial and has been heavily criticized by the community. As mentioned, this feature is now being restored, allowing users to easily share their media between apps by dragging and dropping open apps to the taskbar.
Microsoft says the feature is particularly useful when you need to quickly attach a file in email clients like Outlook. Also, you can drag and drop apps to the taskbar to pin apps without manually touching the app icon. You can also pin apps directly to the taskbar by dragging tiles from the Start menu and dropping them onto the taskbar.
What’s new in Windows 11 build 22557
In addition to the major improvements to the taskbar, the Windows 11 Start menu is also getting support for folders, similar to what we have in Windows 10 or on smartphones.
With folders, you can easily organize a messy Start menu and this also gives you the benefit of having more app icons on Start. To create a folder, simply select and drag/drop an app onto another app in the Start menu. According to Microsoft, rearranging apps in Start is also faster if you have a lot of stuff in your app folders.
Folders can be named and users can also rename folders later.
Do Not Disturb and Approach
Windows comes with a Focus Assist feature to make it easy to silence notifications and stay focused. Focus Assist is quite useful if you know how to use it properly and you’re getting a big update as part of Windows 11 version 22H2 “Sun Valley 2”.
Focus Assist is now called “Focus” and allows users to minimize distractions on their devices. Focus comes with features like “Do Not Disturb” and “Focus Sessions” in apps like Clock, which includes a Focus timer and relaxing music from Spotify.
As the name suggests, Do Not Disturb makes it easier than ever to reduce notifications in Windows. To use Do Not Disturb mode, open Settings > System > Notifications and set rules for it. It is similar to Focus Assist and can be activated automatically during your working hours.
If you don’t want to miss certain notifications, you can set exceptions for calls, reminders, emails, or certain apps.
For people with disabilities, Microsoft is finally adding support for live subtitles, which should help users understand audio better. As the name suggests, the Live Captions feature would display subtitles for any content with audio.
Subtitles appear at the top or bottom of the screen, or can also be set to appear in a floating window.
Users can also change the size of the subtitle window or customize the subtitle style.
File Explorer is getting new features
Build 22557 adds a new option called “Pin to Quick Access” for files. Pinned files will appear in a new section in Quick Access, similar to how pinned folders currently do.
If you use a Microsoft account or a work account with Windows 11, you can now discover pinned and recent files from Office.com in Quick Access. You can even view edits, comments, and other file activity in OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams from the OS Details view tab.
For those who prefer OneDrve over other apps, it’s now possible to back up and manage cloud storage directly from File Explorer. This new integration promises better privacy and security for files stored on OneDrive and will also ensure your files sync properly.
Microsoft is adding the OneDrive tab to File Explorer, so you can view status and quota usage without navigating to the OneDrive web or its native app.
Updated Snap Layouts with new design, animations
There’s a new way to use instant layouts by dragging an app window to the top of the screen. When you long press and drag a window to the top of the screen, a new zone appears and you can drag the window to the zone to snap the app and add it to existing snap layouts.
For the rest of the Snapshot layouts, Microsoft has made improvements to the animations to liven up the Snapshot experience seamlessly for a delightful end-to-end experience.
New task manager
Leaked Task Manager is now available to everyone with Build 22557!
The most useful tool, Task Manager, finally gets the fluid design makeover everyone’s been waiting for. The updated Task Manager features Mica, Fluent Design, WinUI buttons, rounded corners, a new process layout, and dark mode.
At the same time, Task Manager is also getting an efficiency mode to reduce the power consumption of selected processes, something Microsoft promised for Windows 10 last year.