Windows 11 hidden feature hints that Microsoft might be messing with the Start menu

Windows 11 just got a new preview build in the Beta channel that brings a bunch of changes with it, some of which are hidden.

As flagged up by @PhantomOfEarth on Twitter, beta build 2262x.1465 introduces a new name for the ‘Recommended’ section at the bottom of the Start menu panel, where recently used apps and files that you might want to quickly access again are flagged up.

It’s called the ‘For you’ section in the beta, but note that this remains hidden in testing, and the leaker only found it by hunting around with a Windows configuration tool (ViVeTool).

See more

Elsewhere in the beta build, Microsoft has made the new Voice Access commands help page fully accurate and functional, and it now works properly when in Dark Mode. Also hidden away in this preview build are presence sensing privacy settings (to automatically turn your PC off or on when you leave it or come back).

Other bits have been tacked on to File Explorer, too, and @PhantomOfEarth believes these might pertain to the depth effects we’ve recently heard about, using AI to give the desktop background a ‘3D’ kind of effect. That could be pretty cool to see (despite our misgivings about letting AI loose on the desktop in general).

With this fresh beta release, Windows 11 has also got live captions in many more languages, updated touch keyboard settings, and a VPN status icon for the system tray (which will allow you to tell if you’re connected to your VPN at a glance, a nifty touch).

Analysis: More than meets the eye?

It’s interesting to see the ‘For you’ name change is apparently inbound, moving forward to beta testing – albeit still hidden. Given that the new name hints at further personalization for the Start menu, might we see more targeted bits and pieces appear here?

Well, Microsoft has experimented with this idea in previous test builds, showing recommended websites at one point, but that feature was ditched. (Likely in part due to fears against the obvious potential misuse here in terms of this effectively being advertising – for example, recommending the new Bing would surely be a shoo-in, something that’s already happened in the search box on the taskbar).

It doesn’t appear that this will be anything but a name change, at least not for now, although we still get the feeling it’s a sign that more tailored suggestions might be coming down the line. With AI inevitably being brought more into the mix with Windows 11, this will surely be an avenue for future exploration…

What’s also interesting to note is that only a beta build came out this week, with Microsoft not providing Dev or Canary releases. The hope, then, is that some decent changes could be in the pipeline for these earlier test builds when the next preview release rolls around (perhaps next week).

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

This Google Sheets update should stop you messing up formulas at last

Google Sheets is looking to help spreadsheet users everywhere with the launch of a new tool that will let you write formulas faster and better.

The company has launched “intelligent corrections” for formulas in Google Sheets, context-aware fixes that it says help you improve and troubleshoot many different kinds of formulas.

“Now, you can write formulas faster and with higher confidence with formula corrections,” the company wrote in a Google Workspace blog post announcing the news.

Google Sheets formulas

Going forward, when writing a formula into Sheets, the new feature will analyze it and see if any improvements could be made. If so, a suggestion box will appear with details on a new version that can replace the current formula, including the ability to accept or reject it.

Google says the new addition can help with a number of common formula issues, including VLOOKUP errors, missing cells in range input, and locking ranges when applying formulas across cells.

The new feature is rolling out now, and will be enabled by default for all Google Workspace customers, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers, and users with personal Google Accounts. It can be disabled if it proves too much of a hindrance, by going to Tools > Enable formula corrections or from the three-dot menu of the suggestion dialog box.

The announcement follows a similar update in August 2021 which saw Google Sheets introduce intelligent formula suggestions, with the program able to offer ideas based on the data in question and the user’s initial input.

Google said that the new formula suggestions will make it easier to write new formulas accurately and help make data analysis quicker and easier.

The company also recently revealed that it was increasing the cell limit in Google Sheets from up to five million cells to up to ten million cells.

The new limit isn't just for newly-created files either, but also existing and imported files, meaning you can expand to your heart's content. 

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Windows 11 bug is messing with colors on some HDR monitors

Windows 11 suffers from a bug which is causing colors to be rendered incorrectly – with the most common error cropping up being white showing as yellow – at least with some HDR monitors when running certain image editors.

As Tom’s Hardware spotted, this is something Microsoft is actively investigating, and the software giant has flagged it up in the support document which lists the current known issues with Windows 11.

Microsoft observes: “After installing Windows 11, some image editing programs might not render colors correctly on certain HDR displays. This is frequently observed with white colors, which could display in bright yellow or other colors.

“This issue occurs when certain color-rendering Win32 APIs return unexpected information or errors under specific conditions. Not all color profile management programs are affected, and color profile options available in the Windows 11 Settings page, including Microsoft Color Control Panel, are expected to function correctly.”

The color glitch affects those running Windows 11 version 21H2, and Microsoft says it is working on a fix right now, with the expected timeframe for delivery being late January.

Analysis: Not so mellow yellow, but at least that fix is coming swiftly

The expected arrival date of late in January could mean we see this fix bundled in the cumulative update in preview (testing) for that month, which will see a full release come Patch Tuesday in February. So, if this bug is one which is plaguing you at times – and we imagine seeing white as ‘bright’ yellow (not even just a faint yellow) would be pretty jarring – at least you won’t have to suffer with this for much longer (assuming the cure arrives as planned and is successful, naturally).

While annoying, at least this particular bug is confined to a fairly limited subset of Windows 11 users in terms of it just affecting some image editors, and only with certain HDR monitors.

It’s a fairly niche problem, then, but more widespread Windows 11 bugs are an ongoing theme for Microsoft, and as we recently pointed out, it’s disappointing to see quite a lot of glitches popping up. Particularly ones which pertain to fundamental parts of the interface like File Explorer, as these contribute to the general impression of the new operating system being released before it was fully ready. Before it came out, we felt Windows 11 was a good opportunity to change the perception of Windows 10 being bug-ridden, but thus far, that hasn’t panned out.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More