Hands-on with Windows 11 build 22518 (video): Voice access, weather button, desktop Spotlight, and new Notepad

Windows 11 Weather Widget Button
Windows 11 Weather Widget Button (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft recently released Windows 11 build 22518 to Insiders in the Dev Channel.
  • The build has several changes, including the return of the weather widget button and voice access.
  • Our hands-on video looks at the changes in build 22518 as well as the recently updated Notepad app.

Microsoft recently rolled out Windows 11 build 22518 to Insiders in the Dev Channel. The build includes several new features, including the return of the weather widget button and the ability to control your PC with speech. Our senior editor Zac Bowden runs through all of the new features in our latest hands-on video.

Bowden also takes a look at the new Notepad app, which was recently updated for Insiders.

Here's what's new in Windows 11 build 22518:

  • Keep your desktop fresh and inspiring with Spotlight collection. You will get beautiful new desktop pictures from around the world every day and fun facts about each picture.
  • We are trying out showing the Widgets entry point on the left side of your taskbar with live weather content. You can also open the Widgets board by simply hovering over the entry point.
  • Voice access is a new experience that enables everyone, including people with mobility disabilities, to control their PC and author text using their voice. For example, voice access supports scenarios like opening and switching between apps, browsing the web, and reading and authoring mail. Voice access leverages modern, on-device speech recognition to accurately recognize speech and is supported without an internet connection. Voice access supports English-U.S. language only, so the Windows display language should be set to English-U.S., otherwise voice access may not work as expected.
  • Starting with today's build we're rolling out an underlying platform change to improve the overall performance and reliability of the input switcher for Insiders using multiple keyboard languages and layouts. In addition to this, we're updating the input switcher to now have an acrylic background.
  • Updated the context menu in File Explorer to make "Install," "Install certificate," "Map network drive," and "Disconnect" top level options.

You can read about the build's known issues in our post covering its initial launch.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Nothing that i would use, the Widget thing would be annoying if I had it on my taskbar and to be honest I would find little use for it. Do it still require a MS account for it to work?
    I am back on Windows 10 and the Widget thing vanished when I moved my taskbar to the top of the screen and that is what puts me off going back to windows 11, not being able to move the taskbar and also the taskbar changes. Spotlight, again nothing I would use, I can see where some people may like it, but I prefer either my photos or a black desktop, after all unless I am using file explorer, I don't see the desktop. Voice I can certainly see where that could be useful, if a little slow, but for people with not much mobility in their arms then yes. But for people who have working limbs, then no, not so useful, just a gimmick.
  • They'll fix all things in Windows 12. This OS has failed.
  • By what metric are you determining "failed" beside your own opinion?
  • Odd. I am in the Dev Build ring and have that build. But, I don't see the widget or speech options on my PC.
  • Yeah, I don't either. All I got was the Spotlight wallpaper add.
  • That's due to A/B testing.
  • So I finally clicked the download Windows 11 button that has been in my system tray for weeks now. It took me to the update page where I clicked, "download and install" the download progress started, and I went back to work. When I came back to the page an hour or so later, the page changed and said, "Good news! Your computer qualifies for Windows 11, we'll let you know when it's available to download." Um, okay, I guess I'm not upgrading to Windows 11. Not interested in using the media creation tool. So I'm stuck waiting for it to become available again. I'm not too hurt about it though. It was a nervous attempt in the first place.
  • I think this new placement of Widget button makes more sense since the Widget pane slides from the left, so having button on the left requires only with fewer mouse and finger movement. Showing current weather status is near, similar to ones with Windows 10. Still it would be better if user can choose which information will always show for Widget button, or even cycle to Widgets info that user selected. Something like Calendar, Stocks, Traffic, etc, or even once 3rd-party support came in. Widgets in Windows 11 still for me is far too basic and too "web based" that it feels more of MSN Web wrapper than a proper native Widgets, especially when comparing to Android, iOS/iPadOS, and even to old Windows Gadgets from Vista/7. Even Live Tiles feels more polished and better despite not having extra functions as widgets. I still reckon this is rather a bad approach, and should have gone to Live Tiles turning into Widgets, which we will keep existing Live Tiles from existing apps and still keeping as native, thus far lesser system overhead for extra process like running that "Web browser" in the background that somehow consumers more memory despite its current limitation.