Windows 11 Build 25281 (Dev) greatly improves Windows Spotlight

Microsoft today released Windows 11 Build 25281 to Insiders in the Dev channel. It brings with it different variations of the look and feel of Windows Spotlight, improved Graphics and Bluetooth options, and many fixes.


What's new in Windows 11 Build 25281

Windows Spotlight improvements

With this build, Microsoft is starting to test different variations of the look and feel of Windows Spotlight. All options will continue to use the existing core Windows Spotlight features such as hovering over a desktop icon, right-clicking a desktop icon, and double-clicking a desktop icon. The Spotlight experience will be enhanced with a richer user interface that allows you to display the title and description, as well as learn more about the image displayed on the desktop using Spotlight. In addition, new ways to switch to other images will be tested with the ability to preview, full screen and minimize.

Windows 11 Build 25281 Spotlight Full Screen Treatment 1024x576

Select groups of Insiders on the Dev channel will see different UI variants on their PCs. The new feature is only available in English.


Tabs in Notepad have begun rolling out to Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel. You will be able to create, manage, and organize multiple files in a single Notepad window! You can also continue to work with files across multiple windows by dragging a tab out into its own window, and a new app setting lets you customize whether files open in new tabs or a new window by default.

Windows 11 Build 25281 Notepad With Tabs

Changes and improvements

  • Following the new Windows 11 design standards, the graphics settings page has been redesigned under Options > Display > Graphics . In particular, access to such settings as “GPU preference” and “Auto HDR” has been simplified. All functionality of these settings is unchanged from previous versions of Windows.Windows 11 Build 25281 Settings Graphics 1024x735
  • Deleting a paired Bluetooth device from Settings -> Bluetooth & Devices will no longer display a prompt for confirmation.


  • Taskbar and system tray:
    • Updated the printer icon on the taskbar to better fit into the modern system design.
    • When navigating the taskbar with WIN + T and arrow keys, the position of the application icon should now be announced by Narrator. For example, for "Explorer" the phrase "first of fifteen" will be announced if the icon is in the first place on the taskbar, and the total number of icons is 15.
  • File Explorer:
    • Updated the error dialog that appears when Network Neighborhood is disabled on the system to indicate the correct setting to enable the feature.
    • Fixed an explorer.exe crash that could occur when closing File Explorer.
  • Settings:
    • Fixed an issue resulting in the SSID not populating on the Wi-Fi property page under Network & Internet.
    • In the event that a UAC dialog appears when switching between a private and public network, it should now appear in the foreground instead of hiding behind other windows.
    • Fixed an issue where the Quick Actions menu could not be re-opened after going to the Wi-Fi section and closing the pop-up window.
  • Window management:
    • Right-clicking an anchor group in Task View and selecting "Show this group on all desktops" no longer crashes explorer.exe.
  • Other:
    • Fixed an issue resulting in Narrator not narrating when the @ mention box appeared in Outlook.
    • Resolved a bug that could cause the uninstall process of some apps to hang or fail in previous builds.
    • Fixed an issue where the Windows print spooler window would sometimes crash in previous builds.
    • Fixed an issue that could cause a crash when launching SQL Server Management Studio.

Note. Some of the fixes listed above may be included in cumulative updates for release versions of Windows 11.

You will find more on this release, including the list of known issues, in the official announcement.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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