It has only been a few weeks since Microsoft took the wraps off Windows 11, and you can already download a beta. The latest version of the upcoming OS, build 22000.100 has moved from the dev channel to beta — the first Windows 11 build to earn such a distinction. You can check it out today (assuming you have compatible hardware) in the Windows Insider Program.
Microsoft runs its Insider program similar to Chromium-based browsers. There are “channels” for developers, beta, and release. Until now, all the Windows 11 builds were exclusively in the dev channel. In fact, that’s where build 22000.100 started out on July 22nd. Apparently, Microsoft feels that this version of Windows 11 has proven itself good enough to get a promotion to beta.
However, don’t expect this beta to be ready for prime time. For one, it won’t have the recently added Microsoft Teams integration. That will continue to exist in the dev channel, and Microsoft is looking for ways to integrate it into upcoming betas. However, the feature might need to mature a bit before it is deemed suitable for a beta build. There are also still some visual glitches, and Windows Hello is reportedly broken on many devices.
Despite the name, the Windows Insider Program is not an exclusive club. You can head over to the official Microsoft landing page and join in a few clicks. That will give you access to Insider builds and the community through which you can report bugs. Before now, Insiders interested in Windows 11 could only run dev builds of the OS. The addition of a beta could attract more testers who don’t want to see what’s next without running the unstable dev builds.
Windows 11 will include a plethora of interface changes, including a completely redesigned start menu and the death of live tiles. You can also expect new, more modern icons, better control over split-screen functionality, and a more open Microsoft Store. Windows 11 should arrive for new machines late this year. Upgrades for existing Windows 10 computers will be ready in early 2022. However, Microsoft says you can continue running WIndows 10, which will have update support through late 2025.
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