Microsoft Unveils Additional Windows 11 Dev Channel Features for Canary Insiders

After commencing the Windows Insider August 2023 bug bash yesterday, Microsoft is concluding this week with Windows 11 preview build 25921 for Insiders on the Canary channel. This latest build includes features that were recently introduced to the Dev Channel, such as HDR background support and improved thumbnail previews for cloud files in the Start Menu.

Contrary to popular belief, the Canary Channel has not been receiving new Windows 11 features before the Dev Channel in recent months. Major features like the Windows Copilot Preview were actually rolled out to the Dev Channel first, for reasons known only to Microsoft.

In today’s build 26921 for Canary Channel testers, the following new features are included:

1. HDR background support: Windows Insiders with HDR displays can now set up .jxr images as their desktop background and have them rendered in HDR.

2. Rich thumbnail previews (tooltips) for cloud files on Start: The Recommended section of the Start Menu now displays more detailed thumbnail previews when hovering over files. However, these enhanced previews are currently only available to users logged in to Windows 11 with an Azure AD account. Users logged in with local or MSA accounts will see updated tooltips when hovering over files without a rich thumbnail preview.

3. Microsoft Teams Free replaces Chat: The default pinned Chat app in the taskbar is being replaced with the free consumer version of Microsoft Teams. Clicking the app will still open a mini pop-up window showing recent chats and more.

4. Desktop labels in Task View: Labels will now appear when switching between desktops in Task View.

Furthermore, in this build, the Cortana app can now be uninstalled. Microsoft released an update for the Cortana app this week that rendered it non-functional. The company had previously announced that the app would be deprecated later this year.

That sums up this week’s Windows Insider flights. If you wish to participate in the Bug Bash, you can explore the different quests available in the Feedback Hub. Additionally, in case you missed it, Microsoft unintentionally leaked its internal “StagingTool” app for enabling hidden Windows 11 features in some of these quests, and now this tool is circulating among Windows enthusiasts.

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