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

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

This release is the start of new enhancements to “Spotlight” along with a visual update to the graphics settings page. We also have several bug fixes while a major evolution touches the notepad with the support of tabs.

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

Windows 11 build 25281, highlights.

One of the advances of this new construction concerns Windows Spotlight. Tests are conducted around different appearances. In any case, all the basic functionalities are retained, such as hovering and right-clicking on the icon on the desktop and double-clicking.

Windows Spotlight
Windows Spotlight

The goal is to offer a richer interface around the display of the title and the description in order 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 are deployed targeting different groups of computers.

Settings - New Chart Page
Settings – New Chart Page

Microsoft is continuing its work on the desktop interface through a redesigned graphics settings page. The objective is always the same. The giant wants a more streamlined visual appearance in order to facilitate access to certain options such as “GPU Preference” and “Auto HDR”.

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

Attention we are on the DEV channel so that 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, so it better aligns with other modern icons.
  • When navigating the taskbar using WIN + T and arrow keys, the position of the app icon should now be called out by Narrator (for example, File Explorer might say “one out of fifteen”, if it’s in the first position and there are 15 app icons on your taskbar).

[File Explorer]

  • Updated the error dialog when network discovery is off so that it points to the correct location to enable it.
  • Fixed an explorer.exe crash which could happen when closing File Explorer.


  • Fixed an issue where SSID wasn’t being populated on the properties page for your Wi-Fi in Network & Internet Settings.
  • In the scenario where you are prompted with the UAC dialog when switching a network between private and public, that UAC dialog should now come to the foreground rather than being behind other windows.
  • Fixed an issue where Quick Settings might not be able to re-open after going to the Wi-Fi section and closing the flyout.


  • Right clicking a snap group in Task View and selecting “show this group on all desktops” shouldn’t crash explorer.exe anymore.


  • [ADDED 1/20] Fixed an issue where Braille devices were incorrectly saying there was no screen on the latest version of Braille.


  • Fixed an issue where Narrator wasn’t announcing when the @ mentions window popped up in Outlook.
  • Fixed an issue that could cause some app uninstalls to get stuck and fail the uninstall in the last few builds.
  • Fixed an issue which was causing the Windows print queue window to crash sometimes in recent builds.
  • Fixed an issue which could cause SQL Server Management Studio to fail to launch.

NOTE: Some fixes noted here in Insider Preview builds from the Dev Channel may make their way into the servicing 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 are experiencing longer than expected update times installing recent builds. We are actively investigating this issue.
  • We’re investigating reports that some Insiders are experiencing freezes when using the browser and certain other apps after the previous Dev Channel flight.
  • [ADDED 1/23] Some Arm64 devices may fail to resume from sleep/hibernate when running Build 25281, experiencing a hang at the OS boot logo. To bypass this bug, please use the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) to roll your device back to the previous build. 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 issue on secondary monitors.
[Search on the Taskbar]

The following issues known only apply for Windows Insiders who 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 be unable to change taskbar search box to show as icon only via taskbar settings in some cases. To work around this issue, first change to a different option and then after, you should be able to choose to show as icon only.

[Task Manager]

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