Hands-on with Windows 11 build 25281's new Spotlight UI and Notepad tabs

We're back with another Windows 11 preview build video walkthrough, and in today's episode we're taking a look at build 25281, which hit the Insider Dev Channel just a few days ago. This build include a handful of new changes, as well as a bunch of hidden stuff we thought was interesting enough to include.

Officially new in this build is a brand new Spotlight UI experiment, which now includes a more detail information panel when right clicking the "learn more about this picture" icon on the desktop when the Spotlight theme is selected. You can see other wallpapers, a brief description of the current selected wallpaper, and suggested search terms.

Additionally, Microsoft has updated the graphics settings page in the Windows Settings app, which now makes configuring Auto HDR and GPU preferences per app easier. Lastly, Notepad now has tabs, which are available to try out in this build. They work as intended, and are actually more functional than the tabs found in the File Explorer.

Hidden in this build is an early version of a new details pane for the File Explorer, which is part of a larger effort to modernize other elements of the app. There's also a work-in-progress update to the sound settings in the Quick Settings panel, which adds the ability to adjust audio levels for individual apps.

We take a look at all of this in our hands-on video, which you can watch above. Many of these new features will ship officially over the course of the year, in one of Microsoft's planned feature drop "Moment" updates scheduled for March, May, and later in the year.

For now, build 25281 is available to download now in the Windows Insider Dev Channel. You can read the official changelog on the official Microsoft Windows Insider Preview blog page, which includes 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 and Threads