After finally receiving the first pre-release build of Windows 11 last month, the month of July was a busy month for subsequent releases in the #DevChannel for Windows 11. However, towards the end of the month, the #BetaChannel got into the Windows 11 mix with its first pre-release build for Windows 11.

As for the #ReleasePreviewChannel – it was a steady month on the Windows 10 update front with a few cumulative updates pushed into that channel for preview testing.

Let’s run through all the updates for July 2021.

#DevChannel (Windows 11)

There was no build released in the last week of July for the #DevChannel because the first #BetaChannel build was released instead. Plus, this break provided Windows Insiders an opportunity to switch out of Dev t0 Beta for future builds.

This is what has often been referred to as the Magic Window. Microsoft is about to shift #DevChannel builds to their future release focus – that means new features and enhancements will be tested but not targeted for a specific Windows 11 release. This will also make the #DevChannel less stable and another consideration for whether to stay put in this channel or move to Beta which will be much more stable moving forward.

Note: Except for once physical device and one virtual machine, I moved the other six physical Windows 11 devices I am using/testing into the #BetaChannel. This will provide good stability but also a direct upgrade path to the final release of Windows 11 when it arrives later this year. Plus, the #BetaChannel is where all the development is happening for the initial release of Windows 11 – that makes this a good spot to watch and test.

Some of the changes/enhancements made in these three builds for testers included:

  • Search box added to top of Start Menu
  • Taskbar shows across multiple monitors
  • Updated system alert dialog boxes
  • Power Mode option added to Power & Battery settings page
  • Refresh option added to main Right-Click Context Menu on desktop
  • Adjusted Snap Layouts to account for smaller screen sizes and potential layout options
  • New Entertainment widget
  • Updated Context Menu’s use acrylic material look
  • Taskbar preview updated to use new Windows 11 visual design
  • Microsoft Teams (Personal) rolled out
  • Overflow System Tray icon area updated with Windows 11 visuals

Of course, each build also saw fixes for reported/documented issues across the operating system.

#BetaChannel (Windows 11)

The first Windows 11 roll out to the Windows Insider Program #BetaChannel started with the last build released in July for the #DevChannel.

This build arrived late in the month, and we will have to wait to get an idea on what the release cadence might look like as we move into August.

The #DevChannel releases in July have been very stable – so stable that I am even running Windows 11 Build 22000.100 on my main desktop.

It has been solid.

#BetaChannel (Windows 10)

There was just one release in this channel for July as it waited for its Windows 11 debut. This cumulative update was an out-of-and security update to address print spooler issues.

Now that Windows 11 is in #BetaChannel for testing, I suspect this will be the last release in the channel for Windows 10 as focus shifts to preparing Windows 11 for its release later this year.

#ReleasePreview Channel (Windows 10)

Unlike past months, only the first build of July was the same in the Windows 10 Beta and Release Preview channels.

As is the norm with #ReleasePreviewChannel updates, these cumulative updates address performance, security, and bug fixes.

This channel is where I believe continued testing of patches for Windows 10 will be made available moving forward. With the push towards Windows 11, I just believe that Windows 10 will retain its status quo feature wise and drop into a maintenance mode to keep it secure and running well during the remainder of its official lifecycle support which ends in October 2025.

That may not be what Windows 10 users want to hear right now but it just seems to make sense to focus development work on Windows 11.

What’s Next?

We should see #DevChannel focused on testing up and coming features for a future version of Windows while #BetaChannel will see the development work to ready Windows 11 for release. Normally, updates in the #BetaChannel do not get a lot of big new features but at a minimum the Android apps integration should ship in an upcoming build for testing ahead of the OS update release this fall.

As for Windows 10, everything is likely to just be in the #ReleasePreviewChannel from here on out.

I have begun musing about Windows 11 and you can find my first two installments here at the site:

In addition, I put together collections of the new wallpapers in Windows 11 that can be used on any device of your choosing.

Enjoy and Happy Testing!

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