Windows 11 hidden feature hints that Microsoft might be messing with the Start menu
Windows 11 just got a new preview build in the Beta channel that brings a bunch of changes with it, some of which are hidden.
As flagged up by @PhantomOfEarth on Twitter, beta build 2262x.1465 introduces a new name for the ‘Recommended’ section at the bottom of the Start menu panel, where recently used apps and files that you might want to quickly access again are flagged up.
It’s called the ‘For you’ section in the beta, but note that this remains hidden in testing, and the leaker only found it by hunting around with a Windows configuration tool (ViVeTool).
Elsewhere in the beta build, Microsoft has made the new Voice Access commands help page fully accurate and functional, and it now works properly when in Dark Mode. Also hidden away in this preview build are presence sensing privacy settings (to automatically turn your PC off or on when you leave it or come back).
Other bits have been tacked on to File Explorer, too, and @PhantomOfEarth believes these might pertain to the depth effects we’ve recently heard about, using AI to give the desktop background a ‘3D’ kind of effect. That could be pretty cool to see (despite our misgivings about letting AI loose on the desktop in general).
With this fresh beta release, Windows 11 has also got live captions in many more languages, updated touch keyboard settings, and a VPN status icon for the system tray (which will allow you to tell if you’re connected to your VPN at a glance, a nifty touch).
Analysis: More than meets the eye?
It’s interesting to see the ‘For you’ name change is apparently inbound, moving forward to beta testing – albeit still hidden. Given that the new name hints at further personalization for the Start menu, might we see more targeted bits and pieces appear here?
Well, Microsoft has experimented with this idea in previous test builds, showing recommended websites at one point, but that feature was ditched. (Likely in part due to fears against the obvious potential misuse here in terms of this effectively being advertising – for example, recommending the new Bing would surely be a shoo-in, something that’s already happened in the search box on the taskbar).
It doesn’t appear that this will be anything but a name change, at least not for now, although we still get the feeling it’s a sign that more tailored suggestions might be coming down the line. With AI inevitably being brought more into the mix with Windows 11, this will surely be an avenue for future exploration...
What’s also interesting to note is that only a beta build came out this week, with Microsoft not providing Dev or Canary releases. The hope, then, is that some decent changes could be in the pipeline for these earlier test builds when the next preview release rolls around (perhaps next week).