Windows 11 has been official since late June, but we’ll still be waiting a couple more weeks for the final version to drop. Microsoft has confirmed that its new OS will be released on 5 October, but only new hardware will be eligible at this point.

The company indicated that date will be when Windows 11 "will start to become available" in an official blog post, and the rollout of free upgrades for eligible Windows 10 PCs is expected to continue well into 2022. As with Windows 10 feature updates, Microsoft is throttling up availability in order to manage demand, but it means many people will be waiting a long time to update their device.

Until then, the Windows 11 beta (or Insider Preview, as it’s officially known) is the best way to try out the new operating system - provided you're looking for more than basic access via a browser.

Anyone who signs up to the Windows Insider Program from a compatible device can install an early build via the Dev and Beta Channels. Most of the key features are now included, with Android app support the one big exception. However, that still won't be available on release day.

The purpose of the Insider Program is to test out the functionality of these early builds and provide feedback, which can be used to inform Microsoft’s development of the software.

After installing earlier Builds 22000.160 and 22449, some people have reported the taskbar (and consequently Start menu) going missing. This shouldn't be a problem for anyone who installs the update now, but check out our guide on how to fix missing taskbar and Start menu in Windows 11 if you're still having issues.

The latest Windows 11 Insider Builds are split into two - 22000.194 for the Beta Channel and 22458 for the Dev Channel. The latter allows for testing of Windows 11 features scheduled for after the 5 October release date.

Windows 11 Build 22000.194 new features

Most of the new features Microsoft showed off at the Windows 11 launch event have already made their way into early builds. However, there are three key apps being updated in the latest build. Snipping Tool, Calculator and Clock have all been refreshed, with the latter adding a new Focus Sessions mode:

Windows 11 Build 22458 new features

There are only two new features of note in Build 22458, and both are relatively minor. First up, you now have quick access to sign-in options when right-clicking the power button within the Start menu. It saves you having to dig through Settings if you change these regularly.

Windows 11 sign-in options quick access
Image: Microsoft 

Elsewhere, Windows 11's new system requirements will also now apply to Virtual Machines (VMs). 

Windows 11 Build 22000.194 bug fixes

A handful of bugs have been fixed in Build 22000.194. Here's what Beta Channel members can expect:

  • Addressed an issue where if you enable then disable a contrast theme, it would lead to artifacts in title bars, in some cases making the minimize/maximize/close buttons hard to see and use.
  • Fixed a crash with certain connected devices that could result in not being able to use Bluetooth.
  • Mitigated an issue that was resulting in subtitles not appearing when expected in certain apps, particularly Japanese language subtitles.
  • Fixed an issue that was causing certain PCs to bugcheck during modern standby.
  • Mitigated an issue when typing with certain 3rd party IMEs into the search box in Settings that could result in the candidate window being rendered elsewhere on-screen (not attached to the search box) and/or characters inserted into the search box not displaying.
  • We fixed an issue that causes PowerShell to create an infinite number of child directories. This issue occurs when you use the PowerShell Move-Item command to move a directory to one of its children. As a result, the volume fills up and the system stops responding.

More information is available in the Windows blog post for Build 22000.194.

Windows 11 Build 22458 bug fixes

Here's what's been fixed in Build 22458 for Dev Channel members:

  • Fixed an underlying issue that was impacting Start reliability.
  • Folders with # in folder name can now be added to indexing.
  • Addressed an issue that was causing Settings to crash sometimes when trying to open the Display page.
  • Clicking “More about refresh rate” in Advanced Display Settings now opens the support page it’s supposed to.
  • Fixed an issue where the Location page in Settings wasn’t showing warning text explaining why the location services setting was greyed out if it was greyed out.
  • Changes made to preferences under Manage App Execution Alias in Settings should now be preserved.
  • Fixed a couple typos in the output of dll
  • Mitigated an issue that could make certain games unexpectedly crash when using ALT + Enter (i.e., switch between full screen and windowed) during with Auto HDR enabled.
  • Addressed an issue that was causing text truncation in the Encrypting File System window in certain cases.
  • Fixed a rare scenario that could result in an uninstalled in-box app unexpectedly reappearing after reboot.
  • Appx commandlets should now work with PowerShell 7.0+ printui.dll

More information is available in the Windows blog post for Build 22458.

What’s still to come?

Many of the features announced at the Windows 11 launch event have already made their way into these preview builds. We’re still waiting for the redesigned Microsoft Store, complete with Android apps via the Amazon Appstore, but that won't be available until after Windows 11 is released on 5 October. A handful of other stock apps are also still awaiting a refresh for Windows 11, but the final version isn't expected to be too dissimilar.

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