Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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Windows 11 beta fixes a major problem with the taskbar, and removes old File Explorer settings


The new Insider Preview for Windows 11 released this week brings some useful and much-requested new features, including the ability to type in any text field using Windows Ink and reintroducing Windows 7 to the “don’t collect stickers” era of 10. Never set app icons to the taskbar.

But Windows 11 gives and Windows 11 takes away. The new preview also strips many powerful user-oriented settings away from the File Explorer Folder Options menu, most of which have been around for decades. These are the settings Microsoft removed:

  • Conflict hiding merge folders
  • Always show icons, never thumbnails
  • Show file icon on thumbnails
  • Show file type information in folder tips
  • Hide protected operating system files
  • Display drive letters
  • Show a popup description of the folder and desktop items
  • Color shows NTFS encrypted or compressed files
  • Use the Share Wizard
Folder Options menu, one of many Windows 95-style menus beneath Windows 11's glossy surface.

Folder Options menu, one of many Windows 95-style menus beneath Windows 11’s glossy surface.

Andrew Cunningham

Microsoft says all settings will continue to exist but will only be accessible via registry keys. In a default Windows installation, some of these options are on by default and others are disabled by default; Microsoft did not say that any of these default settings will change.

The other major change in this version is the removal of the default chat button by default, a personal use version of Microsoft Teams that was separate from the version used by schools and businesses and that could only be disabled via settings, not uninstalled completely. The app is replaced with an icon for Microsoft Teams — a free service that can be installed and uninstalled like any other taskbar app without requiring a separate trip to the Settings app to get rid of it.

These are just a few of the changes that Microsoft is planning for future Windows 11 releases. The company also plans to add support for compressing and decompressing more types of file archives, built-in controls for certain types of RGB extensions, Bluetooth Low Energy support for audio, new features for MS Paint, and a new “Copilot” feature that further integrates AI powered by ChatGPT into OS. Any of these features could arrive in public versions of Windows at any time, though Microsoft will likely bundle some or all of them and release them in one big batch sometime this summer or fall.

We’re also still waiting to learn more about the 23H2 update for Windows 11, which should be released sometime in the fall. As of this writing, all Windows Insider builds are still using the Windows 11 22H2 numbering.



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