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Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25281 Announcement (Dev Channel)

Good evening friends! Microsoft has released a new preview build of Windows 11 25281 for Windows Insider program members using the Dev channel.

Complete build number: 10.0.25281.1000.rs_prerelease.230113-1248.


Windows Spotlight improvements

With this build, Microsoft is starting to test different variations of the look and feel of Windows Spotlight. All options will continue to use the existing core Windows Spotlight features such as hovering over a desktop icon, right-clicking a desktop icon, and double-clicking a desktop icon. The Spotlight experience will be enhanced with a richer user interface that allows you to display the title and description, as well as learn more information about the image displayed on the desktop using Spotlight. In addition, new ways to switch to other images will be tested with the ability to preview, full screen and minimize.

Insiders on the Dev channel will see different changes on their PCs. Innovations are available only in English.

To enable Windows Spotlight, right-click on your desktop, select Personalize, and then enable the new Spotlight Theme. You can also enable Windows Spotlight by going to Settings -> Personalization -> Background and selecting the appropriate option from the Personalize Background drop-down list.

Changes and improvements

  • Options:
    • In accordance with the new design standards of Windows 11, the graphics settings page has been redesigned in the section “Options” -> “Display” -> “Graphics”. In particular, access to such settings as “Preferred GPU” and “Auto HDR” has been simplified. All functionality of these settings is unchanged from previous versions of Windows. Details about graphics settings in Windows 11 can be found on the DirectX blog.
    • Deleting a paired Bluetooth device from Settings -> Bluetooth & Devices will no longer prompt you for confirmation.


  • Taskbar and system tray:
    • Updated the printer icon on the taskbar to better fit into the modern system design.
    • When navigating the taskbar with WIN + T and arrow keys, the position of the application icon should now be announced by Narrator. For example, for “Explorer” the phrase “first of fifteen” will be announced if the icon is in the first place on the taskbar, and the total number of icons is 15.
  • Conductor:
    • Updated the error dialog that appears when Network Neighborhood is disabled on the system to indicate the correct setting to enable the feature.
    • Fixed an explorer.exe crash that could occur when closing File Explorer.
  • Options:
    • We fixed an issue resulting in the SSID not populating on the Wi-Fi property page under Network & Internet.
    • In the event that a UAC dialog appears when switching between a private and public network, it should now appear in the foreground instead of hiding behind other windows.
    • We fixed an issue where the Quick Actions menu could not be re-opened after going to the Wi-Fi section and closing the pop-up window.
  • Window:
    • Right-clicking an anchor group in Task View and selecting “Show this group on all desktops” no longer crashes explorer.exe.
  • Other:
    • We fixed an issue resulting in Narrator not narrating when the @ mention box appeared in Outloom.
    • We fixed an issue that could cause the uninstall process of some apps to hang or fail in previous builds.
    • We fixed an issue where the Windows print spooler window would sometimes crash in previous builds.
    • We fixed an issue that could cause a crash when launching SQL Server Management Studio.

Note. Some of the fixes listed above may be included in cumulative updates for release versions of Windows 11.

Known Issues

  • Are common:
    • Some devices will not work with Windows Hello for face authentication. Users are encouraged to use a PIN to log in.
    • Some users are taking longer than expected to install the latest Insider builds. The engineers are investigating the problem.
    • We are investigating reports that some Insiders are experiencing browser freezes and some other apps after updating to a previous Dev channel build.
  • Task bar:
    • Sometimes the taskbar is cut in half when using the tablet-optimized version. This issue can also be seen on secondary monitors.
  • Search on the taskbar (if new field display options are available):
    • There is an issue where it sometimes fails to display the search icon instead of the search field on the taskbar. As a workaround, it is proposed to select any other option, and then enable the display of the search icon.
  • Task Manager:
    • Some dialog boxes may use the wrong theme if the theme is set in the Task Manager preferences.
    • The content area on the Processes page may flash once when changing the theme in the Task Manager settings.

We wish you a successful update!

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