Microsoft hides cool experimental audio control tool in Windows 11 preview build

Windows 11
(Image credit: 123RF)

Microsoft is currently experimenting with a new audio control feature on Windows 11 that allows users to control the volume of multiple apps from Quick Settings.

Volume Mixer, as it’s known, is currently available in Preview Build 25281 from the Dev Channel on the Windows 11 Insider Program. It’s being compared to software like Discord and EarTrumpet due to similar capabilities of adjusting volume levels for different audio sources. For example, you can keep the volume on a Skype call loud while quieting music playing on Spotify and having WhatsApp somewhere in between for notifications. It’s a level of management not currently seen as Windows 11 only currently offers universal adjustments. Users typically use third-party apps, like EarTrumpet, to gain this level of control. 

What’s most interesting, though, is Microsoft made no mention of Volume Mixer in the Preview Build announcement. It was only discovered after users dug around the build’s files and found the hidden feature. Hopefully, the tool becomes a reality, because being able to individually adjust the volume on each app would be fantastic. Windows 11 is in need of a better audio tool.

We say "hopefully" because this is an experimental feature and there’s no guarantee it’ll ever be released. As stated in a Windows Insider Program post from 2022, some “concepts will never ship…” It’s possible Microsoft will take Volume Mixer back to the drawing board to improve upon it, but at this point, who knows?

New features and a redesign

As for what actually got revealed in Preview Build 25281, Windows Spotlight is getting a small redesign. The interface will display more detailed information about an image like the name of the subject and a brief description. The developers are also experimenting with different methods of switching pictures; such as whether or not it should be a “full-screen experience.” Adjusting graphical settings will be easier to do, according to Microsoft. Certain configurations like GPU Preference will now be displayed front and center in the Graphics section of the Settings menu. 

Additionally, the Notepad app now supports multiple tabs so users can manage multiple files on one window. Similar to browsers, you can drag one of the tabs out to be its own instance. And there’s a new Notepad setting allowing users to decide “whether files open in new tabs or a new window by default.”

Other new Notepad features include additional keyboard shortcuts and the ability for the app to automatically create file/tab names based on the content present. The Notepad update appears to be separate from Preview Build 25281, so you’ll have to download both.

Microsoft is hard at work paving the way for Windows 11 to eventually take over as the company’s one and only supported operating system. In addition to sunsetting Windows 7 and 8.1, the company has recently announced it will no longer sell Windows 10 Home or Pro licenses on its website starting January 31.

Be secure to check out TechRadar's guide on how to upgrade to Windows 11, if you're thinking of finally taking the plunge.

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.