Microsoft Releases Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 With Spotlight Functionality

Windows 11

Microsoft has released Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 to Dev Channel Windows Insiders. Microsoft has added several features like Spotlight collection backgrounds, an updated entry point for Widgets with weather and voice access. The build will not be offered to ARM64 PCs due to an issue that causes these devices to rollback when attempting to update to this build. The update enables users to install WSL easily from the Microsoft Store. The build also includes general changes including updates to the input switcher in addition to bug fixes.

Spotlight Collections

The Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 includes Spotlight collection using which you can keep your desktop fresh. You will have access to new desktop wallpapers from around the world every day with fun facts about each picture. To work with Spotlight, you need to right click on your desktop and choose Personalize. You should select Background from the Personalization settings page and select Spotlight collection located under the Personalize your background dropdown box.

You will view an inspiring picture from Whitehaven Beach in Australia on your desktop including a Spotlight icon after enabling Spotlight collection. The Whitehaven Beach will be replaced by up to five background pictures from around the world, which will take up to 24 hours. You will know more information about each picture if you hover over the Spotlight icon. If you right click on the Spotlight icon on the desktop, you will be able to switch to a different background picture.

You can also provide feedback about the picture quality and much more. Moreover, if you double click on the Spotlight icon, you will be able to learn more about the Spotlight collection pictures. According to Microsoft, the Spotlight collection experience is currently available in English and will be localized in an upcoming update. The Spotlight collection update is available to Windows Insiders in Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, Spain, Sweden, UK and US.

The Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 includes an updated entry point for Widgets on your Taskbar. The Widgets entry point will be shown 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. The Widgets entry point will be located on the right side of the Taskview icon for users who choose to align their Taskbar. The Group policies and the ability to show/hide the Widgets button from the Taskbar remains unchanged.

Voice Access

The Windows 11 Insider Preview 22518 includes voice access functionality, which brings new experience for people with mobility disabilities. They will be able to manage their PC and author text via their voice. With the help of Voice Access, you can open and switch between apps, browse the web including reading and authoring mail. The new feature leverages modern and on-device speech recognition to accurately recognize speech and doesn’t require any active Internet connection. As of this writing, the Voice Access provides support for English-US language. You can locate Voice Access in Settings | Accessibility | Speech.

The system will prompt you to download a speech model for the on-device speech recognition when you activate voice access for the first time. You can choose a microphone you would like to use with voice access and start using your voice to manage your PC. It’s also possible to auto start voice access the next time you sign-in to your PC in settings. You can also make use of voice commands or keyboard shortcuts to manage voice access listening status. The Voice Access includes an interactive guide that explains the steps required to complete common tasks using voice. You can access a complete list of commands by asking “What can I say?” when voice access is listening. Moreover, the Voice access gives real-time feedback of what voice access heard so that you know which word was not recognized correctly.

You can navigate and interact with Windows including the ability to open and switch applications using your voice. You can also emulate standard inputs like keyboard and mouse via voice. It’s also possible to dictate and edit text with voice access. You should work in an environment with minimal ambient background noise and should make use of headphones/earbuds.

Windows Subsystem from Linux (WSL) Availability on Microsoft Store

You can now install Windows Subsystem from Linux aka WSL from the Microsoft Store easily. The advantage of WSL installation via Microsoft Store is that you will receive updates automatically without any need to download any executable file. You will be able to fetch complete list of commands by running wsl -help after WSL installation.

The Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 has rolled out a platform change to enhance the overall performance and reliability of the input switcher for Windows Insiders using multiple keyboard languages and layouts. The input switcher has been updated with an acrylic background. The latest build has updated the context menu in File Explorer with several options top level based on feedback. This includes Install when right clicking on font files and .inf files.

The ability for customized emoji combinations based on face and skin tones of family members, couples, kissing and folding hands is now made available to all Windows Insiders in the Dev Channel. The update displays clock and date on the taskbars of the secondary monitor, which was made available with Build 22509 to select Windows Insiders. Microsoft has added an extra-large candidate height option for Simplified Chinse IME users and can be accessed under Personalization | Text Input in settings.

Anand Narayanaswamy is the editor-in-chief of Netans. He was recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 9 years (2002 to 2011) and again as a Microsoft MVP in Surface under Windows and Devices in January 2024. He worked as a Chief Technical Editor with ASPAlliance and was part of ASPInsider program. Anand has published several articles and reviews related to various software and hardware products for various software and technology related websites. He is also active on social media and also participates as an Influencer for various brands. Anand can be reached at admin@netans.com