Microsoft Splits Windows 11 Test Build into Two

Microsoft on Monday announced that it has created two distinct testing paths for its next preview versions of Windows 11, available to Windows Insider Beta users.

The goal of pushing out multiple versions is to selectively test new features in the latest OS preview, according to Microsoft.

"This approach will help us validate our ability to release updates with features turned off by default," said Amanda Langowski, Windows Insider Program lead, and Brandon LeBlanc, senior program manager on the Windows Insider Program team, in a joint blog post. "It will also allow us to have greater insight into the impact of enabling new features."

The two went on to say that being able to monitor the two distinct testing paths will help validate which features are ready to roll out to more testers and which need to go back for more tweaking.

Monday's beta releases include Build, which will have select new features turned on by default, and Build, which will have those same features turned off by default. Microsoft said that the majority of those who have opted in to the Windows Insider Beta channel will receive the feature-active build. Those with the latter build can force their way into the features-on version by downloading additional data through Windows Update.

Langowski and LeBlanc emphasized that this split approach is only for Windows Insider Beta users and there are no plans to continue the split paths when the final builds are universally rolled out. "As a reminder, features we try out with Windows Insiders will ship when they are ready and not every feature that we try out in the Beta Channel will ship to general customers," said the pair.

What's New in Build
This week's release (for those with the feature-active build) includes new features and fixes to improve the Windows 11 experience.

The first major feature includes increased "suggested actions" capabilities. For example, when a user enters a date, time or phone number, Windows 11 will recommend related actions, like calendar reminders or automatic phone dialing, based on the information provided.

Next, Microsoft is bringing OneDrive storage alerts in line with what it recently rolled out to Microsoft 365 subscribers. Per Langowski and LeBlanc:

Starting with today’s build, we have begun enabling OneDrive Standalone 100GB subscriptions in the Accounts page within Settings, similar to the Microsoft 365 subscriptions. This will allow you to view your recurring billing, payment method, and OneDrive storage usage within Windows 11. Additionally, if you are close to or above your OneDrive storage limit, you will be informed on the same page.

Finally, Microsoft will be rolling out a laundry list of OS fixes and tweaks, which include allowing File Explorer folders to open in a new tab using the middle mouse button, fixing a scaling issue with some File Explorer tabs, and adding support for Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.3 in Windows client and server Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) implementations, just to name a few.

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.


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