Yesterday Microsoft released cumulative updates for Windows 11, part of Patch Tuesday. Besides the announced fixes, the patches include a hidden new design for the search in the Start menu and in the taskbar. While both have been announced earlier, the Start menu search looks different from Microsoft's latest announcements.
Both UI changes are live in the latest stable Windows 11 version 22H2, build 22621.1105. You can quickly find what build and OS version you have installed by running winver from the Run dialog (Win + R).
The hidden taskbar search in didn't change its look since its official announcement in the Beta channel for the Windows Insiders. It is an interactive search box that allows you type terms directly in the taskbar, and mixes local results with online content. The user can disable web search in the Registry or Group Policy. Its behavior is pretty similar to what Windows 10 has by default. It also restores the familiar options in the Settings app.
The Start menu search option is an updated input area with rounder corners. You may recall that earlier Microsoft has announced such a change for Beta channel insiders with build 22623.1095. However, the stable 22H2 didn't receive it. What it has is a different, older implementation and style. It comes from Beta build 22623.1037, so the latest version of the UI was not merged yet with the production code, or may be cancelled after brief testing. Microsoft is yet to announce their decision regarding this feature.
Both novelties can be enabled with help of ViveTool app. Here is how.
Enable new search in Windows 11 version 22H2, build 22621.1105
- Download ViveTool from GitHub, and put its files to the c:\vivetool folder.
- Right-click the Start button and select Terminal(admin).
- To enable the new search in the taskbar, type the following command and press Enter:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:40887771.
- To enable the new search box in the Start menu, run the following command:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /enable /id:38937525.
- Finally, restart Windows 11.
Next time you start the operating system, you will have the updated user interface.
If you aren't satisfied with the new appearance, or the new features negatively affects the stability or performance of Windows 11, you can easily disable them. The undo commands are as follows.
The undo commands
- For the taskbar:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /disable /id:40887771
- For the Start menu:
c:\vivetool\vivetool /disable /id:38937525
So you need to substitute /enable with /disable in the original command(s). Don't forget to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
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