Windows 11 update applies a bunch of fixes for a Start menu glitch, video chat bug and more

Windows 11 just received a new update which comes with a whole load of bug fixes for versions 23H2 and 22H2, including the resolution of an issue affecting video chats, and a problem with the Start menu.

Patch KB5034204 just became available, but it’s worth noting upfront that this is a preview update, so it’s still in beta effectively.

As mentioned, one of the more important fixes here is the smoothing over of a bug relating to video calls – now this one has been squashed, these calls should be more reliable. (So if you were having problems with video chat stability in one way or another, hopefully that’ll no longer be the case after this update).

If you own a pair of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Audio earbuds, you may have experienced the sound dropping out when streaming music – that has also been resolved with KB5034204. Also, a problem with Bluetooth phone calls – where the audio fails to route through your PC, when you answer the call on the computer – has similarly been stamped out.

Another bug Microsoft has cured is search functionality failing to work on the Start menu.

Microsoft has also addressed a problem where troubleshooters fail – not very useful given that you only run a troubleshooter when you’re already trying to solve an issue with your Windows 11 system. That bug happens when using the Get Help app, we’re told.

There are a whole host of other fixes, too, including one for Gallery in File Explorer that means you can’t close a tooltip (a small flaw, but an annoying one). For the full list of fixes implemented, check out Microsoft’s support document.

Analysis: Take a chance – or not?

Should you download a preview update? This is a topic we’ve discussed before, and the short answer is probably not – unless you really need one of the fixes provided.

As mentioned, by its very nature, a preview update is not yet finished – that’s why these are marked as optional, and aren’t automatically piped through to your PC (you have to manually download them from Windows Update). In short, there’s more chance of things going wrong with a preview update.

However, if you’re one of the Windows 11 users who are experiencing a more aggravating issue, like video calls or your streaming music playback being ruined, then you might decide installing the update is likely worth the risk (which should be a limited risk, after all – these updates are nearly done at this stage).

That’s the other point to bear in mind, though – as they’re nearly done, you won’t have to wait long for the fully finished cumulative update to arrive next month. In this case, this preview will become the February update for Windows 11 released on February 13, so that’s only a few weeks away now.

Generally speaking, it’s probably worth holding out unless there’s something that’s really bugging you (pardon the pun) in Windows 11 right now, and it’s one of those listed fixes.

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Windows 11 gets a bunch of small but useful changes – including something nifty for Notepad

Microsoft has pushed out a new preview build for Windows 11, and made some useful changes in the earliest development channel – plus the company has applied some nifty tweaks for default apps in testing, too.

Let’s start with the freshly deployed preview build 25941 in the Canary channel, which introduces a toggle to turn on dynamic refresh rate (in Advanced Display settings). This allows Windows 11 to adjust the refresh rate of the screen on-the-fly, so when you don’t need to be running at the display’s maximum refresh, it can be toned down, thus saving a bit of power with your high refresh rate display.

Another related tweak is that when choosing a refresh rate, Windows 11 will now mark rates (with an asterisk) that can’t currently be selected due to the resolution you’re running at (but could be used at a different resolution).

Build 25941 also has a raft of bug fixes as detailed in Microsoft’s blog post introducing this new preview version.

Elsewhere in testing, Microsoft has rolled out updates for the Snipping Tool and Notepad apps in Windows 11 (for Canary and also Dev channel testers).

With the Snipping Tool, users now get the benefit of a ‘combined capture bar,’ a panel that easily allows you to switch between capturing screenshots and video clips. And with those videos, screen recording has been bolstered so you can record the PC audio and a voiceover using a microphone should you wish.

As for Notepad, this is getting an auto-save feature. Anything you write will be saved, and sessions will be saved when you close Notepad, coming back up when you next start the app.

Analysis: Small tweaks with bigger results

Dynamic refresh rate is a neat feature to see arrive in Canary (it was previously in Dev channel, too), and hopefully this will be inbound for beta builds before too long, and shuffling its way through to the release version of Windows 11.

It’s going to be of considerable benefit to laptop owners, as the energy savings to be made by lowering the refresh rate (where possible – such as when you have a screenful of text you’re reading, which really doesn’t require any smoothness) will add up to longer battery life when out and about.

As for the beefed-up Snipping Tool, that’s a more streamlined experience, and the support for voiceovers will doubtless be welcomed by those knocking up, say, a quick help video on how to do something on the Windows 11 desktop.

It’s certainly useful to give Notepad auto-save – it’s a favorite app for some folks – for obvious reasons (and there’s the ability to switch it off, if you don’t want it). What’s also cool about this is that you don’t have to engage with any dialog boxes (such as confirming ‘Do you want to save?’). Notepad just keeps the content saved without prompting you when you close the app, bringing the text back when it’s reopened.

Via Neowin

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Windows 11 has a bunch of little changes underway to make your life easier

Windows 11 has got a new preview build (yes, another one – they’re coming fast these days across all the different testing channels) which makes some interesting changes to Windows Spotlight, notifications, and the Start menu (with a caveat in the latter case).

All this, and a good deal more, comes packaged in the new build 23511 for the Dev channel.

First up, you may recall Microsoft has been experimenting with different ways of implementing Windows Spotlight (images for the lock screen background, which can also be used on the Windows 11 desktop if you wish). The company has decided on the way forward, picking a single Spotlight experience out of those tested.

Microsoft tells us the new Spotlight (shown in the below image) includes “previewing images at full screen, multiple opportunities to learn more about each image and a minimized experience.”

Windows Spotlight in Dev channel test build

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Elsewhere, there’s a change for the system tray in the taskbar whereby notifications have been switched to a bell icon. That bell will be just an outline if there are no notifications pending, and when there are, it will be filled in (with a color based on your system accent color). Microsoft has also done away with the number that shows the tally of notifications queued up for you to peruse.

Turning to the Start menu, we see the appearance of something that was previously discovered hidden in the background of Windows 11 – a rich preview pane that pops up when you hover the cursor over files in the ‘Recommended’ section. This furnishes extra details such as the file's location, when it was last edited, and a thumbnail image preview in the case of a photo.

The catch with these Start menu file previews is that they’re only available to business users right now (those signed into Azure Active Directory or AAD, running Windows 11 Pro or Enterprise).

There’s quite a lot going on with build 23511, and some of the other highlights include Microsoft reenabling suggestions for Snap Layouts. These had previously been rolling out but were turned off due to bugs that caused crashes. Those glitches have been fixed, so the rollout is once again happening (not everyone will see this yet, as a result).

Another interesting tweak is for webcams, with pop-ups now warning you if you’ve accidentally got your privacy shutter closed, or if there are other streaming issues with the camera such as it failing to work.

A final one to mention: when deleting a large collection of files and packing them off to the recycle bin, the ‘calculating’ process that happens has been made speedier, so you won’t have to wait as long overall for the files to be binned.

Microsoft’s blog post on build 23511 has the full and rather exhaustive details on the tweaks and additions going on with this preview.

Analysis: Moving in the right direction with the interface

There are a lot of useful refinements here, and it’s good to see suggestions with Snap Layouts are progressing again. This is a nifty area of the UI that is underused, and Microsoft is looking to make it a more tempting proposition by providing suggested layouts (templates) for snapping to in a jiffy, and showing icons to indicate which windows will contain what apps in the snapped layout. Neat.

The Start menu change is also an interesting one. Previously this was hidden in the background, as noted, but Microsoft now has the functionality live, which is great – albeit only for business users. This is a hint that the feature is very much on its way, though, and we don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t come to consumers on Windows 11 eventually. As we’ve said in the past, it’s going to be particularly handy for image files, as you can use the preview to check you’re opening the right pic.

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