Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26020 Adds Extended Voice Access Support

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26020

Microsoft has announced the release of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26020 to the Canary Channel. The flight provides support for extended languages and multi-displays including custom commands for voice access. The Build 26020 has extended voice access to provide support for French (France), French (Canada), German, Spanish (Spain) and Spanish (Mexico) languages. You will be prompted to download a relevant speech model when voice access is activated initially. This will enable on-device recognition of voice data. You can migrate to a different language by navigating to Settings | Language on the voice access bar.

Multiple Displays Voice Access Support

After the installation of the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26020, you wll be able to make use of all voice access features on multiple displays. This includes number and grid overlays that were made available only on the primary monitor previously. The grid overlay enables you to interact with the current screen. You can also switch to another display including the ability to drag and drop files, apps, and documents from one display to another.

You can quickly shift to focus to another display after invoking the grid overlay. You can either make use of the alphabet or NATO phonetic in your command. The mouse grid command can be used to quickly move your mouse to a specific point on a specific display. This flight has introduced voice shortcuts or custom commands, which enable users to create their own command. However, this feature will be available only if the voice access language is English.

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Quick command creation

You can now create commands for opening a URL quickly after the installation of the update. You can create a command either via voice or any other input modality. The list of all the voice shortcuts can be viewed from the command help page or “show voice shortcuts” command.

Addition of Narrator Natural Voices Previews

The Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26020 has added Natural Voices Previews in Narrator. The previews are now available for natural voices of 10 new locales that were launched in September 2023. The languages include Chinese, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Mexico), English (UK), Japanese, French, English (India), Portuguese, Korean and German. You can listen to the natural voices before downloading the voice model. Even though Natural Narrator voices will work without an active Internet connection, listening to preview requires a stable Internet connectivity.

WordPad Deprecated

The WordPad and People apps will no longer be installed after a clean installation. You should note that WordPad is a deprecated Windows feature and will be removed on the upgrade. You will not be able to reinstall WordPad. Going forward, Microsoft will not provide any updates to Steps Recorder, and is scheduled for removal in a future Windows release. The Steps Recorder will display a banner notification with alternative options. You can make use of alternatives like Snipping Tool, Xbox Game Bar, and Microsoft Clipchamp.

Save Energy

If you are using a desktop PC without a battery, a new energy saver icon will be displayed in the system tray. This indicates that energy saver is activated. You will view the leaf icon overlayed on top of the battery icon in the system tray for devices with batteries. You should note that battery saver is renamed as energy saver with extended functionalities starting Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26002. The performance of the Task Manager process grouping has been enhanced.

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Printing Enhancements

The Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 26020 provides the ability to pause and resume print jobs in print queue. You can pause printing in case if you need maintenance such as the replacement of the printer cartridge or removal of jammed paper. The existing jobs are held by the spooler until the print queue is un-paused by clicking resume in Settings.

WhatsApp sharing

The Windows share window will only display show apps under Share using that are tied with either Microsoft account or Microsoft Entra ID. The Windows share window will also provide support for WhatsApp sharing. Windows will prompt you to install WhatsApp from Windows share window directly in case you don’t have WhatsApp installed. You can provide friendly name via Nearby Sharing via Settings | System | Nearby sharing.

Bug Fixes

Microsoft resolved issues pertaining to Settings crash, File Explorer details pane problem, uncombined taskbar icons, Steps Recorder, and Copilot. Microsoft is working to resolve an issue related to print queue with the message that Windows can’t locate the app when opened. Alternatively, you can launch the print queue via Run dialog and provide the below command

explorer.exe shell:appsFolder\Microsoft.Windows.PrintQueueActionCenter_cw5n1h2txyewy!App

If you are unable to open Settings after the installation of Build 26010 and higher, then the product team is working on the issue.

Microsoft Store Improvements

Microsoft Store has been updated for Windows Insiders in the Canary and Dev Channels running 22312.xxxx.x version. The Instant Arcade enables you play games without the need to download them. You can launch the games directly while browsing or via search results. You simply need to hover over the instant arcade game and select the Play Now button. You will receive a notification when your app is ready to use after the completion of the download. You will notice performance improvements when installing from search or while browsing with smooth animations.

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The builds released to the Canary Channel are hot off the presses. Microsoft provides documentation only when there are any significant features and impactful known issues.

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

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