A faster, more productive Windows 11 is coming and Microsoft has given Insider members a preview

It looks like Windows 11 could finally get a fix to improve the performance of its File Explorer app, but at the moment this is only available to people who have signed up for the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft’s official community for trying out new Windows features currently being considered for future updates. 

The preview (named Windows 11 build 23545) is available in the Insider Program’s Dev Channel, one of the program’s four preview channels. Microsoft has described the update as including fixes for performance issues, addressing crashes, a new dark theme, and more. Taskbar search is also changing. 

Microsoft provides a full rundown of the updates coming to Windows 11 in a changelog in this blog post. 

File Explorer is the feature seeing the most changes. Many of them are addressing issues that would cause File Explorer to get stuck or crash. There are also a number of other fixes like those to File Explorer’s launch performance, including a leak that could worsen performance as time went on. 

This update to File Explorer comes not long after Neowin and MSPoweruser reported on tricks that you can do in Windows 11 to make it run better and faster, including File Explorer by exploiting certain bugs. It seems like Microsoft is aware that users are willing to try homebrewed fixes (within reason, of course) to speed up Windows 11’s performance, and wants to offer an official fix. 

Loading and processing speeds in Windows 11 have been a topic of discussion ever since its release, often being compared to its predecessors like Windows 10 and Windows 7, and a significant chunk of this new build looks like it’s specifically aimed at reducing crashes and loading times. It will be interesting to see if this build passes testing and if any of it ends up in a future Windows 11 update. 

A Microsoft Copilot page on a blue background

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Testing out Microsoft Copilot

Microsoft is also pushing forward with the development and testing of its new AI voice assistant, Windows Copilot. It was released earlier this year and is currently only available for business Microsoft 365 subscribers and Windows Insider Program members as a preview feature. 

In the blog post about Windows 11 Build 23545, Microsoft states that it’s actively listening to feedback about Copilot, and making changes based on that feedback. For example, Microsoft will restore availability of Copilot in certain regions where it was temporarily unavailable.

Other improvements in the works include Microsoft experimenting with different Taskbar experiences, added utilities to Windows Share (Microsoft’s new feature to share material to and from your device), and fixes for input issues.

Hopefully, this is evidence that Microsoft is still committed to improving Windows 11’s usability – which in my opinion is a good move, as Windows 11 is supposed to be Microsoft’s flagship product, but it’s far from perfect. If you’d like to get involved in trying out and giving your own feedback on any of these future Windows 11 features, you can sign up for the Windows Insider Program and upgrade your Windows 11 to Build 23545.


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Zoom update delivers a quick hack for more productive meetings

Zoom has announced a number of new updates and features for its video conferencing software that will help organizations be more productive and get the most out of their meetings.

According to a new blog post, hosts will now be able to schedule a meeting with Focus Mode set to start automatically. While this feature was originally designed with online learning in mind, it can also help large businesses with many employees stay on task during their meetings.

For those unfamiliar, Zoom's Focus Mode places meeting participants in a view where they can only see themselves, the host and or co-hosts and the content being shared. However, hosts and co-hosts can also choose to view participants in Gallery View which enables them to see everyone at once.

Speaking of Gallery View, Zoom has also added the ability to save a custom Gallery View order. Meeting hosts can now save a customized gallery order to each unique meeting ID which allows them to load the saved customized order before a meeting as opposed to having to manually change the order each time they're in a video call.

Video Mail

In addition to helping users have more productive meetings, Zoom has also announced a new update for its cloud phone system that will make it easier for colleagues to keep in touch.

While voicemail used to be the only option to leave someone a message when they didn't answer their phone, nowadays most people don't even check their voicemail. For this reason, Zoom has decided to provide its users with a more personable alternative to standard voicemail.

Zoom Phone users can now greet their colleagues with video greetings which allow them to leave video messages right from their voicemail inbox. You can check out this support document from Zoom to get started leaving video greetings or videomail for your colleagues.

While some users have returned to the office full time, other organizations have introduced hybrid work policies where some people are at the office and others are at home. With Zoom's new tools though, employees can stay connected with their teams regardless of whether they're working from home or are out in the field. 

Looking to improve your video calls? Check out our roundups of the best video conferencing softwarebest business webcams and best headsets for conference calls

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