Microsoft Brings Windows 11 22H2 To Beta Channel With Preview Build 22581

You can now upgrade your Windows 11 operating system to Insider Preview Build 22581 on both the Beta and Dev channels. This flight brings the features likely to be released with Windows 11 22H2 later this year to all Insiders on the mentioned channels.

Furthermore, since both these channels are receiving the same builds, Microsoft has opened up a small window for users on the Dev channel to shift to the Beta channel and make their OS updates less frequent. More details regarding this are discussed below.

Other fixes and improvements have also been introduced with this flight. Let us see what those are and whether it is worth upgrading considering the known issues.

  • New in Windows 11 Build 22581

    • Drop Down to Beta Channel

      The Beta channel receives relatively stable builds than the Dev channel, but the frequency of these flights is also significantly less. Not only that, this is the first time Windows 11 22H2 has been released on this channel.

      Users of the Beta channel can now take advantage of new features like Live Captions, Start Menu folders, redesigned Task Manager, tablet-optimized taskbar, Microsoft Family app, Clipchamp, Search highlights, and many others.

      If you are on the Dev channel and would like to switch to the Beta channel, this is your chance. Follow these steps to switch now:

      1. Navigate to the following:

        Settings app >> Windows Update >> Windows Insider Program
      2. Click “Choose your Insider settings” to expand it, and then select the Beta channel.

        beta channel
        Switch to Beta channel

        Now the next time you receive an update, it will be from the Beta channel.

        You will no longer be able to make this switch once the Dev channel receives a higher build update. If you are subscribed to the Dev channel and receive a build greater than the current one in the Beta channel, you will need to complete a clean Windows 11 installation to subscribe/switch to the Beta channel.

    • Tablet-Optimized Taskbar

      The tablet-optimized taskbar, which was initially introduced with Insider Build 22563 is now available to everyone on the Dev and Beta channels with this flight. This feature only works on devices that can be used as a tablet, and not on laptops and desktop PCs.

      taskbar
      Tablet-optimized taskbar in its 2 states. Source: Microsoft
    • Other New Features

      • [Taskbar]

        • Several fixes have been made to the taskbar, such as the top border line now extending across the entire taskbar will be seen by everyone regardless of their device type.

        • Keyboard focus and mouse hovers for Win32 system tray icons and the “Show hidden icons” flyout have been updated to match the rest of the visual style of the taskbar.

        • An optional setting to hide the “show hidden icons” button completely, supporting users who want a simpler taskbar.

          hidden icon
          Show or hide “Hidden icon menu”
      • [Settings]

        • New links in the Settings app were introduced in Build 22557 to assist users to recycle their PCs. These have been removed in flight 22581 but will be restored in a future release.

    • Other Improvements and Fixes

      Other changes and fixes have also been made with this flight:

      1. [Taskbar]

        • Made a fix for another issue causing taskbar previews to use the wrong fonts for the window title in languages other than English.

        • Drag and drop to taskbar should now work with auto-hidden taskbar – the feature is disabled for now.

        • When dragging something to pin to the taskbar, the message on the dragged item (for example, displaying an X if it’s not supported) will now have rounded corners.

        • An issue where swiping to collapse the tablet-optimized taskbar might unexpectedly invoke the widgets board has been mitigated.

      2. [Start menu]

        • An issue that was sometimes causing the search box at the top of the Start Menu to flicker has been addressed.

        • An underlying issue where if you swiped to open the All apps list, sometimes it would think that you’d tapped one of the letter headers in the All apps list, has been addressed.

        • Updated the context menu when right-clicking a pinned app to say “Move to front” rather than “Move to top”, so it’s clearer what will happen.

      3. [Focus]

        • A Clock app update (version 11.2202.24.0 and higher) has rolled out that fixes the issue where the Clock app was unable to update the Windows Focus state when configuring focus sessions in the Clock app.

      4. [File Explorer]

        • A few cases where icons were missing next to entries in the context menu and command bar (for example, for the Next Desktop Background entry in the context menu if you right-click the desktop while using a background slideshow) have been fixed.

        • Some small adjustments have been made to some of the icons used in the context menu and command bar, including the copy icon.

        • Folders whose only content is other folders will now show an icon with a slip of paper to indicate there is some content inside the folder instead of an empty folder icon.

        • An underlying issue that could cause File Explorer to crash when using the “Group By” option.

      5. [Input]

        • An issue where the conversion option in the Korean IME context menu wasn’t working has been addressed.

        • An issue where the IME toolbar wasn’t showing/hiding correctly if you’d chosen to use the previous version of the Japanese IME has been fixed.

        • Improved reliability of showing the touch keyboard on the login screen after tapping the PIN or password field after rebooting or upgrading.

        • An issue where some of the text in the touch keyboard was difficult to read when using the “Black and White” text input theme has been addressed.

        • Another fix has been made for the “size and theme” link at the following location:

          Settings app >> Time & Language >> Typing >> Touch Keyboard not working
        • An issue where the touch keyboard was still showing the previous text candidates when you switched to voice typing has been fixed.

        • The “Press Enter” and “Press Tab” commands should be working when using voice typing for Chinese (Traditional) now.

        • An issue where the 3 or 4 finger touchpad gesture for adjusting your audio volume level wasn’t working with certain paired Bluetooth audio devices has been addressed.

      6. [Settings]

        • Changes in Sounds to Program Events (for example, turning certain system sounds off) should persist on upgrade going forward.

        • Improved visibility of the battery icon in the Bluetooth section of Quick Settings when a contrast mode was enabled.

      7. [Windowing]

        • If you set keyboard focus to Desktops in Task View, the border shown around the thumbnails will now have rounded corners.

        • An issue where hovering over the Task View icon on secondary monitors wouldn’t bring up the Desktops flyout when using the Arabic or Hebrew display language has been taken care of.

        • An issue where if you selected one of the Microsoft Edge tabs displayed in snap assist, the window would animate in from the wrong place, has been fixed.

        • Snap layouts should now minimize properly if you drag a window through the corner of snap layouts.

        • An issue where snap layouts would unexpectedly immediately display while dragging a window instead of just showing a hint for Insiders with an Arabic or Hebrew display language has been addressed.

        • An issue where rotating your tablet before the previous screen rotation animation had finished would cause the rotation animation to abruptly cut out has been fixed.

        • An issue where using the 3-finger touch gesture to minimize all apps quickly could result in windows getting stuck in a shrunken state has been addressed.

        • Reduced the size of the area above a notification where clicks weren’t being passed through to the underlying window so it’s the same sized area as the side of the notification.

        • An issue leading to issues dragging the title bar of a maximized window with touch has been mitigated.

        • An issue where if the Open or Save dialog was open in an app, and you used ALT + Tab shortcut keys to switch away from the app and then back, keyboard focus might get lost, has been addressed

      8. [Voice access]

        • An issue that was causing voice access to crash when using commands to capitalize text in Office apps has been mitigated.

      9. [Narrator]

        • Narrator will now correctly tell you if there is an image in table cells in Office apps.

        • When Narrator is reading with scan mode in Microsoft Edge, it will no longer stop reading when getting to some embedded links and buttons in the middle of text, like on nytimes.com.

      10. [Task Manager]

        • An issue where tooltips did not accurately display the preferred visual setting when Task Manager is configured for dark mode has been addressed.

        • An issue where the Task Manager wasn’t populating the details of the Status column in the Startup Apps page has been fixed.

      11. [Other]

        • An issue that was causing the volume flyout that appears from using your hardware keys to be stuck on screen has been fixed.

        • An issue that could result in explorer.exe getting stuck and not fully initialized during the first login has been addressed.

        • Fixed a few more issues impacting explorer.exe reliability.

        With these new features, improvements, and fixes, there are also several new known issues we think you should know about before upgrading to it.

  • Known Issues

    • [General]

      • This flight, as well as future flights, will not be offered to Windows Insiders in China on Lenovo PCs in the Beta Channel for the time being.

      • Windows Insiders running Windows 10 who join Dev or Beta Channels to get the latest builds may encounter a download error code 0xc8000402 while trying to download the latest build. As a workaround, Microsoft suggests subscribing to the Release Preview channel first, installing Windows 11 from there, and then switching back to the Dev or Beta Channel to receive the latest Insider Preview build. This issue is understood and will be addressed in an upcoming build.

    • [Taskbar]

      • The taskbar doesn’t always automatically collapse after launching an app or tapping outside of the expanded taskbar on 2-in-1 devices.

      • Some areas of the OS are not yet tracking the height of the expanded taskbar on 2-in-1 devices so you may see overlapping components, such as widgets overlapping with the taskbar.

    • [File Explorer]

      • Opening the suggested results shown while entering search terms in File Explorer’s search box may not work.

      • Microsoft is working on fixing issues regarding icon sizing, visual bugs, and text clippings in the flyout showing OneDrive storage.

    • [Widgets]

      • Sometimes when pinning from the Feed, the pinned widget is placed at the top instead of below other pinned widgets. If this happens this will autocorrect within 30 minutes, moving the recently pinned widget to the expected default location. Or you can sign out of your widgets board and immediately sign back in should correct the problem.

      • After rearranging widgets in the widgets board, some users experience problems with widgets in the pinned section rendering incorrectly. If this happens, signing out of your widgets board and immediately signing back in should correct the problem.

      • The Widgets panel may not load as expected when using the swipe from the left edge of the screen touch motion. You may launch by clicking the Widgets icon or using the Win + W key combination.

    • [Narrator]

      • Natural voices are breaking up sporadically in the latest build. Restart the Narrator to resolve the issue.

    • [Live captions]

      • Certain apps on full screen (e.g., video players) prevent live captions from being visible.

      • Certain apps positioned near the top of the screen and closed before live captions are run will re-launch behind the live captions window positioned at the top. Use the system menu (ALT + Spacebar) while the app has focus to move the app’s window further down.

      • The very top of maximized apps (e.g., title bar window management buttons) can’t be reached with touch while live captions are positioned at the top.

How to Install Windows 11 Build 22581

To install this update, you need to be running Windows 11 and subscribed to the Dev and Beta channel. If you have enabled Windows updates, you will automatically get a “New features are ready to install” prompt.

If not, follow these steps to upgrade to Preview Build 22581:

  1. Navigate to the Settings app and then click Windows Update on the left.

  2. Here, click Check for update on the right side of the window.

    check for updates Windows 11
    Check for updates
  3. You will then see the following updates available under Updates available to download:

    Windows 11 Insider Preview 22581.1 (ni_release)

    Click Download & install in front of it.

    download and install 2
    Click “Download and install”
  4. The update will now begin to download and then install. Once complete, click Restart Now.

    restart now 4
    Restart PC to finalize installation

Once the computer restarts, you can verify that the OS has been updated by typing in winver in the Run Command box.

updated 5
Windows successfully updated to build 22581

Rollback/Remove Windows 11 Insider Preview Update

If you do not wish to keep the installed preview update for some reason, you can always roll back to the previous build of the OS. However, this can only be performed within the next 10 days after installing the new update.

To roll back after 10 days, you will need to apply this trick.

Cleanup After Installing Windows Updates

If you want to save space after installing Windows updates, you can run the following commands one after the other in Command Prompt with administrative privileges:

DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /AnalyzeComponentStore
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-Image /StartComponentCleanup
dism cleanup
DISM cleanup

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