Windows 11 gets Spotlight, updated File Explorer context menu, and updated Widgets entry point with a new version


Microsoft has released a new Windows 11 Build 22518 for Dev Channel Insiders. The update brings a lot of new features and some significant changes with itself. While we’ve covered the “Voice Access” feature separately, there are other new features like Spotlight and the updated Widget Entry Point.

Even Windows 11 File Explorer received an updated context menu. WSL is now available in the Microsoft Store. There are more changes and improvements which you can read in the full changelog provided by Microsoft below.

Visualize the world on your desktop with the Spotlight collection

Keep your office fresh and inspiring with the Spotlight collection. Every day you will get beautiful new desktop pictures from all over the world and fun facts about each picture. Here’s how you can try out the Spotlight collection:

  1. Right click on your desktop and choose “Personalize”.
  2. On the personalization settings page, choose “Background”.
  3. From the “Customize your background” drop-down list, select “Spotlight Collection”.

After activating the Spotlight collection, you will see an inspiring image of Whitehaven Beach in Australia on your desktop along with the Spotlight icon.

Right click on the Spotlight icon on your desktop to switch between Spotlight images or tell us if you like or dislike an image.
Right click on the Spotlight icon on your desktop to switch between Spotlight images or tell us if you like or dislike an image.

Later today, we’ll replace Whitehaven Beach with a collection of up to five background images from around the world. It may take up to 24 hours. If you hover your mouse over the Spotlight icon, you can learn more about each image. Right clicking on the Spotlight icon on the desktop opens a context menu where you can switch to another background image and tell us whether or not you like any of the images. Double clicking on the Spotlight icon launches the landing page where you can read more about the Spotlight collection images that you have seen throughout the day.

Please note that the Spotlight Collection experience is not yet localized and will show English text only. Full localization will come in a future update. The Spotlight collection is available for Windows Insiders in the following countries: Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States. More countries will be added over time.

Updated entry point for widgets on your taskbar

We’re trying to display the Widgets entry point on the left side of your taskbar with live weather content. You can also open the widget table by simply hovering over the entry point.

We're trying to display the entry point for widgets, along with the weather forecast, on the left side of the taskbar.
We’re trying to display the entry point for widgets, along with the weather forecast, on the left side of the taskbar.

For users who choose to align their taskbar, the Widgets entry point will be to the right of the Task View icon.

What the Widgets icon looks like on a taskbar left aligned with the weather forecast.
What the Widgets icon looks like on a taskbar left aligned with the weather forecast.

Group policies and the ability to show / hide the Widgets button on the taskbar remain unchanged.

We are trying this, so let us know what you think and see known issues below for some issues that we are experiencing for this experiment.

[We are beginning to roll this change out, so it isn’t available to all Insiders just yet as we plan to monitor feedback and see how it lands before pushing it out to everyone.]

Install Windows Subsystem from Linux (WSL) from Microsoft Store

WSL is now available in the Microsoft Store. It’s the same WSL you know and love, but just a different delivery mechanism. Installing WSL from the Store will make it easier to get the latest WSL updates in the future. You can read more about the store overview at this blog post or by watch this video.

Starting with this preview release, we’ve made it easier for new users to get started with WSL in the Microsoft Store by modifying the `wsl.exe –install` command to install WSL from the default Microsoft Store. Additionally, we have added additional arguments to `wsl.exe –install` to make it easier to configure your installation, such as` wsl –install –no-launch` which will install a new WSL distribution without launching it immediately. To see a complete list of available commands, please run `wsl –help`. If you want to start immediately with the Store version and you have WSL already installed, just run `wsl –update` to immediately update to the Store version!

Changes and Improvements

  • Starting with today’s release, we are deploying an underlying platform change to improve the overall performance and reliability of the input selector for insiders using multiple languages ​​and keyboard layouts. On top of that, we’re updating the input selector so that it now has an acrylic background. If you have comments on the input selector, please drop them in the comments hub under Input and language> Change keyboard and language. [We are beginning to roll this change out, so it isn’t available to all Insiders just yet as we plan to monitor feedback and see how it lands before pushing it out to everyone.]
Input selector user interface with acrylic background.
Input selector user interface with acrylic background.
  • Updated context menu in File Explorer to have these options top-level based on comments:
    • “Install” when right-clicking on font files and .inf files.
    • “Install the certificate” when right-clicking on the .cer files.
    • “Map network drive” and “Disconnect network drive” when you right click on This PC.
    • “Disconnect” when right-clicking on network drives.
  • The possibility of personalized emoji combinations based on the face and skin tones of family members, couples with hearts, kisses and people holding hands with whom we have started to roll out Build 22504 is now available to all Insiders in the Dev Channel.
  • Starting with Build 22509, we have started to roll out a change to display your clock and the date will now also be displayed on the taskbars of the secondary monitor (s). This is now available to all Insiders in the Dev Channel.
  • We’ve added a new extra-large candidate height option for Simplified Chinese IME users under Personalization> Text input in settings.


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