Like many other Dev channel releases, Windows 11 Build 25309 includes several features that you can enable. Some of them Microsoft rolls out gradually, so you can force enable them without waiting. Others are a work-in-progress and weren't announced. Let's review them in detail.
To enable the features, you traditionally need ViVeTool. If you don't have this freeware open-source app on your computer, it is the right moment to get it right now.
Hidden features in Windows 11 Build 25309
- Navigate to the following GitHub page, and download the most recent version ViVeTool.
- Extract the ZIP archive with its file to the c:\vivetool folder.
- Now, right-click the Start button in the taskbar, the one with the Windows logo, and select Terminal(Admin) from the menu.
- Ensure that Terminal is open to the PowerShell or Command Prompt tab.
That's good enough to proceed. You have to enter the commands for the features reviewed below in the elevated Terminal you just have opened.
Also, to undo any of the changes, substitute
/disable in each in the commands, run the modified command, and restart the OS.
New Volume Mixer
The official announcement of Windows 11 Build 25309 finally reveals the new volume mixer that allows easily switching the output device and change sound level for individual apps. It also has a dedicated hotkey, Ctrl + Win + V to open it.
Actually, it exists as a hidden feature in the Dev channel since Windows 11 Build 25281, but it Microsoft officially announced it only today. Also, the company is rolling out it gradually, so there is a great chance that you won't have it.
To activate the new Volume Mixer, execute the following command in the Terminal:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:42106010
After restarting Windows 11 you will have the new mixer.
You can disable it at any moment if the opposite command:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /disable /id:42106010
New File Explorer
As you may remember, Microsoft is working on a new File Explorer which is based on Windows App SDK/WinUI 3. In Windows 11 Build 25309 it is now easier to enable it, as it no longer requires tweaking the Registry. Also, it is more stable in use.
Feature-wise, it doesn't differ much from the default File Explorer app, and looks the same. All the changes are under the hood.
To enable it, run these commands, one by one.
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:40729001
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:40731912
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:41969252
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:42922424
Restart the OS to access the new File Explorer. You will see a new Pizza icon in its toolbar that indicates that you have enabled the new app.
File Explorer Gallery
Microsoft continues to improve the built-in Gallery feature of File Explorer. It looks a bit more polished in build 25309.
If you don't have the Gallery entry after enabling the new File Explorer, then additionally run this command:
C:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:41040327
Start menu badges and actions
You may remember that Microsoft is working on Start menu badges and direct actions for the user profile icon. The new features should attract user's attention and remind him to finish important tasks like set up backup, OneDrive, and so on.
With build 25309, Microsoft continues to test new variants of the Start menu badges. All of them are in A/B testing, but you can enable them with the following commands.
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:36435151 /variant:1 /variantpayloadkind:1 /variantpayload:737
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:36435151 /variant:1 /variantpayloadkind:1 /variantpayload:993
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:36435151 /variant:1 /variantpayloadkind:1 /variantpayload:1121
Start menu recommendations to show tips, shortcuts, new apps and more
Unlike the previous addition to the Start menu, this one wasn't announced, and is not rolling out to anyone. There is a new option for the Start menu to show extra recommendations that looks as follows.
You can enable it by executing this ViVeTool command:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:42916428.
Auto Color Management
Auto Color Management is a hardware accelerated system level color management on select qualifying and specially provisioned SDR displays. On supported hardware, ACM can now be enabled with a new option in the Settings app. It will allow you to have all colors across all Windows apps, whether or not they are color-managed, appear accurately and consistently on every supported display.
To turn ACM on, go to Settings > Display > Advanced display, select correct display and turn on Automatically manage color for apps. However, you may not see the new option there, as Microsoft is rolling out it gradually. To access it right away, run the following ViVeTool command:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:36371531
Don't forget to restart the operating system to apply the change.
The undo command is
c:\vivetool\vivetool /disable /id:36371531.
New Show the touch keyboard option
The option that defines when to show the touch keyboard can be enabled in the Settings app. If you don't see it after upgrading to the new build, a single ViVeTool command will unblock it for you.
To enable the new new Show the touch keyboard option, run this line:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:37007953
Once you restart the OS, you will find the new option under Settings > Time & language > Typing > Touch keyboard.
Default position of the Spotlight desktop icon
While Microsoft didn't mention this change, the company is experimenting with the default position of the Spotlight icon on the Desktop. It appears at bottom right, bottom middle, bottom left, etc for different users.
With help of ViVeTool you can try all these defaults. The commands are as follows.
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:41861575
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:41861575 /variant:2
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:41861575 /variant:3
Ability to create ReFS developer volumes
One more hidden feature you can enable is the ability to create ReFS developer volumes. It was first introduced in build 25290. For this very feature, you don't need to restart the operating system after activating it with ViVeTool. Thanks to @XenoPanther for the clarification.
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:40347509 command, restart the OS, and dive into PowerShell or command prompt.
You will be able to turn a partition to the ReFS dev volume with the following command:
format <drive letter:> /fs:refs /devvol
Hidden Add Bluetooth device button for devices that don't support Bluetooth
Microsoft is also testing a Settings change for devices that have no Bluetooth module installed. If the OS can't detect the required hardware, it hides the "Add device" button on the Bluetooth page in Settings.
This is a work in progress, so by default the new behavior is disabled. The following command activates it:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:41734715
Thanks to @PhantomOfEarth for everything.
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