Microsoft has released its first Windows 11 preview build (build 22000.51). Those in the Windows Insider program can download the Windows 11 preview immediately, which incorporates access to the new Start menu, multitasking features, and overhauled Microsoft Store.
Unlike the previous Windows 11 leak, this official preview also features an updated File Explorer that replaces the ribbon with a command bar to simplify file management a bit more.
The new Start menu with its centered launcher-like interface is an element of this build, alongside rounded corners throughout the OS and enhancements to the notification center, volume flyouts, and more. If your PC has an accelerometer, the Windows 11 lock screen also will include a parallax motion effect.
Windows 11’s new themes and dark/light mode improvements are among this preview, alongside the new Widgets feature. All of the new themes — Glow, Captured Motion, Sunrise, and Flow — are designed with the centered taskbar in mind, and Microsoft has coupled them with new sounds in Windows 11 as you utilize the OS.
If you’re curious about testing the Windows 11 preview build, you have to register for the Windows Insiders program then navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program on a Windows 10 device to enable the Dev Channel and acquire Windows 11 builds.
You’ll need a compatible PC, although Microsoft is trying to waive its new hardware requirements during this preview period for those that are testing Windows builds before June 24th. Otherwise, you’ll have to use Microsoft’s PC checkup app to check if your system is compatible.
We recommend installing these preview builds on a virtual machine or PC you don’t use frequently use because there are bugs and unfinished features. Microsoft is still working on Windows 11 and we’ll learn more about the OS in the coming months.