The big Windows 11 Beta update adds a modernized File Explorer and RGB controls

Key points

  • Windows Insiders in the Beta channel can now enjoy new features in build 22631.2050, including modernized File Explorer, Dynamic Lighting for RGB accessories, and Windows Ink improvements.
  • The modernized File Explorer introduces recommended files, an updated address bar, and a modernized details pane, making file management and collaboration easier.
  • Other changes in this build include a new volume mixer, improvements to Windows Spotlight and passwordless sign-in, copy-and-paste warnings for passwords, local file sharing improvements, and new natural voices for Narrator.

The working week ends with a surprise for Windows Insiders who have Windows 11 PCs subscribed to the Beta channel. Microsoft just rolled out build 22631.2050 for those with new features turned on and build 22621.2050 for those with new features turned off by default. Build 22631.2050 is one of the biggest Beta channel releases in quite some time. It is porting many of the features that have been tested with the Dev channel of the Windows Insider Program. It introduces the modernized File Explorer, dynamic lighting, Windows Ink enhancements and much more.

What’s new in Windows 11 build 22631.2050

The modernized File Explorer


The first feature you’ll notice in this build is the modernized File Explorer. This File Explorer has been tested for a while with Dev Channel Insiders and offers some new features. You’ll see that the recommended files for users logged into Windows with an Azure Active Directory (AAD) account will appear as a carousel. There’s also an updated address bar and search box in File Explorer. This new address bar recognizes local and cloud folders and has an integrated status pane. OneDrive users should note that the address bar also contains OneDrive sync status and space quotas. Finally, there’s the modernized Details Pane in File Explorer designed to help you easily access related content, stay up to date on file activity, and collaborate without even opening a file.

Dynamic lighting

Screenshot of Windows 11 dynamic lighting settings

For Windows Insider users who have an RGB accessory, a new dynamic lighting area is available in the Windows Settings app. It is for accessories that use the HID LampArray standard. For now, only a few accessories work with this settings page, including those from Razer, but it makes it easier to tweak RGB lighting effects without using a third-party app.

Windows ink


Another feature you can expect is some Windows Ink tweaks. Now you can write directly on edit fields with stylus or pen. You can even scratch words to remove them. This will be found below Settings > Bluetooth and devices > Pen and Windows Ink Under Shell writing.

Other changes


There’s a whole host of other changes in this build. There’s a new volume mixer in Quick Settings, an improved Windows Spotlight experience, password-free improvements, copy-and-paste warnings for passwords, local file sharing improvements, new emojis, and more. We have collected them for you below.

Phew! It’s pretty much all this week. We hit the new features above, but there are just a few other fixes that Microsoft has tweaked. Microsoft fixed an issue that caused the context menu (in File Explorer or on the desktop) to draw in the wrong place. They also fixed an issue where right-clicking empty space on the Task Manager Details page will no longer show the option to create live kernel memory dumps.

There are only two known issues, one where the safely remove hardware icon does not appear when expected in the system tray. In the other, you may see that some of the strings are not localized in the selected language. Now that so many features from the Dev Channel are moving to the Beta channel, it definitely looks like Microsoft is getting closer to completing the Windows 11 version 23H2 update.

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