New leaks show some big changes coming to Windows 11

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Fresh evidence of some significant changes to the Windows 11 interface have been aired, hinting at new features for widgets and a photo gallery feature for File Explorer.

The latter image gallery remains hidden, but in test build 23419, PhantomOfEarth has done some further digging. After enabling the capability (using a Windows configuration tool), the leaker found that an important change has been applied to the feature – File Explorer now immediately shows tweaks made to any given image.

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As you can see in the video clip in the above tweet, the leaker rotates an image using the quick edit options in the top bar, and it gets turned through 90-degrees in the folder, in real-time – which is pretty cool. Whatever edits you make, you’ll see the effects instantly in the folder window inside File Explorer.

For those of you who are thinking – what, File Explorer has a photo gallery? Yes it does, at least hidden in test builds, and this is something that was spotted back in February 2023.

The other Windows 11-related leak which caught our attention this morning comes from that renowned source of Microsoft gossip, Zac Bowden. In a new podcast for our sister site Windows Central, Bowden mentioned that it might be possible to move widgets to the desktop (as highlighted by XenoPanther on Twitter).

Analysis: There’s a fair chance we’ll see these features in release

Widgets on the desktop? Currently, these are stowed away in the widgets panel, which Microsoft is busy working hard on right now, having recently increased the size of said widgets board. Furthermore, animated icons for widgets are also being experimented with.

It’d make sense to have widgets transferrable to the desktop purely as an option for those who might want to customize their Windows 11 installation in different ways, and also going by historical precedents for Windows. Recall the ability to place widgets on the desktop with Windows 7 (back then, mind you, they were called gadgets, but they’re the same thing).

It’s also good to see the photo gallery for File Explorer is continuing to get attention behind the scenes, and we can take that as a positive sign that this is something we’ll see fully arrive in testing later this year. It seems a safe bet for eventual inclusion in Windows 11 as a smart and useful touch for the core part of the operating system’s interface, though as ever with features in testing, you can never be fully sure if they’ll make the cut for release.

As for other big potential changes for Windows in the pipeline that we’ve recently seen, there’s also been further leakage around the ‘Cloud PC’ concept – although that could be a feature reserved for the next incarnation of Microsoft’s OS (Windows 12, perhaps).

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