Windows 11 might get a new piece of functionality for the Start menu that could be a very useful addition to this part of the interface.
As highlighted by PhantomOfEarth on Twitter, recent preview builds of Windows 11 (in the Dev channel) have introduced file previews for the Recommended section of the Start menu (the bottom panel).
Looks like details about a file when hovering over it in the Start menu's Recommended section have been updated with a new look and thumbnails in recent Dev builds. (thanks to @callmemasfer and @a_donglee for pointing this out) pic.twitter.com/QAi1kZAHAPJuly 22, 2023
This is pretty nifty, as it means that when you hover over any recommended file – one Windows thinks you might want to use – a preview panel pops up showing relevant details.
As Windows Latest, which also spotted this change in testing, reports, in the case of an image file, to take an example, this will produce a small thumbnail of the photo being hovered over. That way, you can see if it’s the image you want before actually going to the trouble of opening it (and getting annoyed if it’s not the one you thought it was, wasting time as it fires up in your image editor).
Other details imparted with a quick hover include the file’s location on your drive, and the last time it was edited (with Microsoft set to add more info, no doubt).
Analysis: Still early days
Remember that this is just a rough version of the feature in Windows 11 right now. Microsoft hasn’t announced it, and these file previews are actually hidden in the OS currently. They’re not fully finished yet, and were only enabled by these leakers using a Windows configuration tool to dig around in the background of the operating system.
In short, it’s still very early days for this functionality, and as ever with features in testing, we may not ever see this in the release version of Windows 11. That said, this seems a likely pick for something Microsoft will push to fruition, given that it’s a pretty neat extra to have for the Start menu (or at least we think so).
Another change to the Start menu recently spotted in testing is Microsoft labeling its default Windows 11 apps, so the user can clearly see which are the applications that come preinstalled with the OS (such as Calculator, the Settings app, and so on).
Again, this is a move we reckon is almost certainly inbound for the final release version of Windows 11, as it’s a further useful addition into the mix for the Start menu (and not a difficult one to implement, of course).
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).