Today’s the day that Microsoft splits its Windows 11 test builds for the Dev and Beta channels, signifying it is starting to finalize the Windows 11 22H2 feature update and to start testing new features that are on a different track. The Windows team is releasing Windows 11 preview build 25115 to the Dev Channel and Windows 11 preview build 22621 to the Beta Channel on May 11.
The Beta channel release – for which Microsoft is making ISOs available for download – just includes a bunch of fixes and known issues. The Dev Channel build, which is not available on ARM64 PCs at this point, has one new feature called Suggested Actions, plus several fixes. Microsoft also is releasing a preview of the new Sound Recorder, which replaces Voice Recorder, for Windows 11 testers in the Dev Channel.
Suggested Actions is a feature that provides users with prompts for the next steps they might want to take, based on the type of task they are doing. For example, if users copyh a date, they may get a suggestion to create a calendar item. If users copy a phone number, they will get a prompt that suggests calling that number. These prompts pop up an “inline, easily dismissible UI” that suggests completing a task with installed apps, such as Outlook, Teams, etc.
Microsoft itemizes the fixes, known issues, and updates in its blog posts for Windows 11 25115 and Windows 11 22621.
Just a reminder: By splitting Windows 11 test releases today into two separate tracks, Microsoft has closed the windows during which users can switch from the Dev Channel to the Beta Channel. Anyone who accidentally installs 25115 but wants to stay on the more stable Beta release will have 10 days to roll back to the Beta channel. Those who do not do this in time will need to do a clean install of the released version of Windows 11 to switch to the Beta channel.
The Dev Channel is where Microsoft tests features that may or may not ever make it into a generally available version of Windows 11. The Dev Channel is less stable and more experimental than the Beta or Release Preview Channels. The Beta Channel is where Microsoft tests features that are more likely, though not guaranteed, to be included in the generally available / mainstream version of Windows 11.
This fall, possibly in or around October, Microsoft is slated to release its only “major” feature update for Windows 11, designated Windows 11 22H2. However, the Windows team is likely to continue to release new features to mainstream users outside the feature update between now and then in the form of cumulative updates.