Windows 11 build 25281 is available, what's new?  -Ginj Fo

Windows 11 build 25281 is available, what’s new? -Ginj Fo

For the past few days, Microsoft has offered a new preview of Windows 11, build 25281. It is available to PCs registered in the DEV channel of the Windows Insider program.

This release is the start of new improvements to “Spotlight” along with a visual update to the graphics settings page. We also have several bug fixes, while a big evolution touches on notepad with tab support.

Windows 11, notepad supports tabs
Windows 11, notepad supports tabs

Windows 11 build 25281 highlights.

One of the advances in this new build concerns Windows Spotlight. Testing is done around different appearances. In either case, all basic functionality is retained, such as hovering and right-clicking on the desktop icon and double-clicking.

Windows Featured
Windows Featured

The goal is to offer a richer interface around the title and description display to have more information about the image displayed on the desktop. Microsoft is also testing different ways to switch to other images with previews, a full screen experience, and a minimized experience. Several approaches targeting different groups of computers are implemented.

Settings - New Chart Page
Settings – New Chart Page

Microsoft continues its work on the desktop interface through a redesigned graphics settings page. The goal is always the same. The giant wants a more streamlined visual appearance to make it easier to access certain options like “GPU Preference” and “Auto HDR.”

Regarding bug fixes, they target the taskbar and system tray, file explorer, settings, windows, the Narrator feature, and various little things here and there, including a crash when starting SQL Server Management Studio.

Attention we are in the DEV channel so the operating system is not recommended on a production PC. As such, it comes with known issues. You will find all the details at the end of the article. They affect the system in general, the taskbars and system trays, the search in the taskbar and the Task Manager.

Windows 11 Build 25281 Release Note


[Taskbar & System Tray]

  • Updated the printer icon in the system tray when printing something to better align with other modern icons.
  • When navigating the taskbar with WIN + T and the arrow keys, Narrator should now indicate the position of the app icon (for example, File Explorer might say “one of fifteen”, if it’s in the first position and there are 15 application icons on the taskbar).

[File Explorer]

  • Updated the error dialog when network discovery is disabled to point to the correct location to enable it.
  • Fixed an explorer.exe crash that could occur when closing File Explorer.


  • Fixed an issue where the SSID was not populated on your Wi-Fi’s properties page in Network & Internet Settings.
  • In the scenario where you are prompted for the UAC dialog when switching a network between private and public, that UAC dialog should now come to the fore instead of behind other windows.
  • Fixed an issue where Quick Settings could not be reopened after going to the Wi-Fi section and closing the flyout.


  • Right-clicking on an instant pool in task view and selecting “show this pool on all desktops” should no longer crash explorer.exe.


  • [ADDED 1/20] Fixed an issue where Braille displays would incorrectly say there was no display in the latest version of Braille.


  • Fixed an issue where Narrator wouldn’t announce when the @mentions window appeared in Outlook.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause some app uninstalls to get stuck and fail to uninstall on the latest builds.
  • Fixed an issue that caused the Windows print spooler window to sometimes crash on recent builds.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause SQL Server Management Studio to fail to start.

NOTE: Some fixes listed here in Dev Channel Insider Preview builds may make it to service updates for the released version of Windows 11.

Known issues


  • Using Windows Hello to sign in with facial recognition may not work on Arm64 PCs. A workaround for this is to use the Hello PIN path.
  • Some users experience longer than expected update times when installing recent builds. We are actively investigating this issue.
  • We are investigating reports that some Insiders are experiencing crashes when using the browser and other apps after the previous Dev Channel flight.
  • [ADDED 1/23] Some Arm64 devices may fail to resume from sleep/hibernation when running build 25281, experiencing a crash at the OS boot logo. To avoid this error, use Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) to revert your device to the previous version. Instructions can be found here:

[Taskbar & System Tray]

  • The taskbar is sometimes cropped in half when using the tablet-optimized taskbar. You may also see this problem on secondary monitors.

[Search on the Taskbar]

The following known issues only apply to Windows Insiders who have received one of the different treatments for how search looks on the taskbar that began rolling out to Insiders with build 25252:

  • There is an issue where you will not be able to change the taskbar search box to show as icon only through the taskbar settings in some cases. To fix this issue, first switch to a different option, and then you should be able to choose to show as icon only.

[Task Manager]

  • Some dialogs may not display with the correct theme when applied from the Settings page of Task Manager.
  • The data content area of ​​the Processes page may flash once when theme changes are applied in the Settings page of Task Manager.

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