Microsoft finally addresses outdated volume UI on Windows 11

Windows 11 Update Windowsupdate Estimate New Light
Windows 11 Update Windowsupdate Estimate New Light (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Hw Vol Flyout

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • A new Insider Preview build is out for Windows 11 Dev Channel members.
  • It features a new volume UI control!
  • There's also some fixes, but there's a new volume UI control!

It's frankly shocking that Microsoft allowed Windows 11 to ship with an outdated on-screen volume control to begin with, but we can finally put that behind us today as this week's Windows 11 Dev Channel build includes a brand new, modern volume control that fits right in alongside the rest of the Windows 11 UI.

Today's build is 22533, and while there are some other minor changes, I think it's vital that we spend more time on this new volume UI, and how important it is on PCs with dedicated volume controls. If you hit a physical key to control your volume, the on-screen UI that pops up must be consistent with the rest of the OS. If it isn't, that can cause user productivity to drop immensely.

Case in point, the shipping build of Windows 11 still uses the old volume UI, which was introduced all the way back in Windows 8. So, not only was it out of place, but it was old as well. So whenever I changed my volume using the dedicated keys, I'd see this old interface, be reminded of the horror that was Windows 8, and become 100% less productive as a result. I'd then need to get up and make a tea, so no work is being done now, and that's all thanks to Microsoft not updating this volume control.

But now, we can put this issue to rest, as Microsoft has finally decided to get around to updating it, likely increasing productivity by 1000% whenever someone controls their volume using a physical button on their device. Unfortunately, unless Microsoft decides to backport this new UI to the shipping build of Windows 11, most normal people will have to continue being unproductive for another nine or so months until the next major Windows 11 update begins shipping.

Here's the rest of the changelog:

  • We are resetting the rollout of the updated entry point for Widgets with weather on the taskbar first introduced with Build 22518. As a result, some Insiders who had this enabled may find it has reverted to the original experience as seen in released version of Windows 11. However, our intention is to quickly expand the rollout to the majority of Insiders in the Dev Channel.
  • This build includes a good set of fixes and improvements but as always, be sure to check the known issues too.
  • We're rolling out a new Calls experience for the Your Phone app – details below.
  • We are providing ISOs for this build which can be downloaded here.
  • We have updated the flyout design for the hardware indicators for brightness, volume, camera privacy, camera on/off and airplane mode, to align with Windows 11 design principles. These new flyouts will appear when you press the volume or brightness keys on your laptop and will honor light/dark mode to give you a more coherent Windows experience. Brightness and volume indicators continue to be interactive with the update.
  • You can now search for voice access from the taskbar and pin voice access to your taskbar or Start like other apps as well as turn it on/ off.
  • We're expanding the rollout of extending the 13 touch keyboard themes to IMEs, the emoji panel, and voice typing (first introduced with Build 22504) to all Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel.
  • When you press WIN + X or right click the Start icon it will now say "Installed apps" in the menu instead of "Apps & Features".
  • It is now possible to uninstall the Clock app if you want.

Here's the fixes:

  • Fixed an issue where Insiders may have seen error 0x8007012a during a driver or firmware update.
  • Addressed an issue causing Insiders to be unable to sign-in to certain apps sometimes, such as Feedback Hub.
  • Fixed the text in the exploit protection description in the Windows Security app so it just refers to Windows and not Windows 10.
  • Fixed an issue resulting in not being able to import photos from certain cameras and mobile phones into the Photos app (it would just loop forever saying 0 items found so far).
  • Launching Windows Sandbox, closing it, and then launch it again, should no longer lead to having two Windows Sandbox icons in the Taskbar (one of which is non-functional).
  • The Wi-Fi icon should appear more reliably in the Taskbar now.
  • If you have multiple monitors connected to your PC and right-click on the date and time on the taskbar on your primary monitor, explorer.exe will no longer crash.
  • Holding CTRL and hovering your mouse over the Task View icon in the taskbar should no longer make explorer.exe crash.
  • Mitigated an underlying issue related to the use of mica in Settings which was impacting overall reliability of the Settings app in recent flights.
  • Fixed an issue impacting some Insiders which was resulting in Settings crashing when trying to access the Installed Apps, Startup Apps, and Default Apps pages.
  • Mitigated an issue that was making the Wheel page in Settings crash when adding an action for an app.
  • You should no longer hear a crackle if playing audio and repeatedly clicking the volume slider in Quick Settings to change the volume.
  • If you hover your mouse over a truncated window title in ALT + Tab or Task View a tooltip showing the full window name will now appear.

As always, check out the Windows Blog for the complete changelog, including a list of known issues.

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.

  • Lol...zac is genuinely happy today
  • lol somebody will have a good sleep tonigh.
  • Are we going to have to wait until October 2022 to get Android apps in RTM? Anyone have any extra tea?
  • Zac can finally use Windows 11 happily lol!
    But seriously, it was actually quite ridiculous that Win 11 shipped with the old volume control UI.
  • smb networking not working anymore
  • I'm not on an Insider build, but I can confirm, using the official release.
  • Finally, they addressed it, which was unchanged like since Windows 8. Though I wish it was more like the 3rd-party Modern Flyouts which still looks and functionally better. I guess still better than never.
  • OMG OMG OMG a new volume control. Now I can change the volume without having to avert my eyes.
  • We need a full video of the showing this great new feature. Make sure that it is made appearant how much this will increase productivity of the user.
  • Should have placed it right above the system tray rather than just copying Mac OS / Linux in every aspect.
  • As someone who is slightly OCD, it really bothers me that the new volume control on the task bar, and this new pop-up control, do not show the number.
  • Yes, that volume percentage is helpful. Not to mention aesthetically, it gives the volume slider a symmetry. Now only left has icons and the rest is just a slider that is not centered. The new Volume Slider is a needed change, but rather a bad one. It even lacks media controls now.
  • I agree. Having no percentage displayed is a deal breaker for me as I often use it to precisely change volume levels.
    This is becoming classic windows 11 behavior: take something that works and replace it with something inferior. Why didn’t they simply apply rounded corners to the volume popup? This is basically what the new windows 11 is: rounded corners, a theme pack.
    They should rename windows 11 to Windows Rounded (down) ;).
    I also really miss a bluetooth quick connect device listing popup instead of having to go to settings. Had hoped this would have been changed along with the volume ui change. I’ll keep waiting for MS to implement features of win10 in win11…
  • MS broke Start11 for volume control, reminding me how bad native 11's start menu remains. Two steps back, one forward.
  • A Beta release of Start11 fixes it; quick reaction on their part.