Windows 11 update finally axes ugly volume UI

The Windows 11 logo seen through a digital magnifying glass
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

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Windows 11 appears more visually eye-pleasing than previous Microsoft operating systems but there are still some holdovers from the past lingering around. One of these is the flyout volume bar, which is finally getting a new look that better conforms to Windows 11’s visual design.

Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22533 introduces a visually redesigned flyout volume bar. Brightness, camera on/off, camera privacy and airplane mode are also receiving visual updates. The new flyouts will appear when you press the volume or brightness keys and will adapt to match whether you're in light/dark mode to provide a “more coherent Windows experience,” according to Microsoft Windows Insider chief, Amanda Langowski. She also states that brightness and volume indicators will continue to be interactive with the update.

Windows 11 volume slider update

The newly-updated Windows 11 volume slider hovers over the centered Start button and increases left to right, instead of down to up (Image credit: Future)

As you can see, instead of being vertical like the old volume indicator, the newly-designed flyout is horizontal. It also does away with the numeral sound indicator. As with Windows 11’s rounded windows, the new volume bar bears a striking resemblance to what you’d find on macOS. The volume bar is also more in-line with the volume indicator on the Windows 11 taskbar.

In addition to the new flyout volume bar, Build 22533 introduces minor updates and fixes. For example, when you press WIN + X or right-click the Start icon, it will now say “Installed apps” instead of “Apps and Features.” You can now also search for voice access from the taskbar and pin voice access to your taskbar or Start like other apps as well as turn it on/off.

This update is only available to Windows 11 users participating in the Windows Insider Preview program. Because of that, we aren’t sure when the update will be available for all Windows 11 users. Hopefully, it won't be too long.

Microsoft will no doubt continue refining and updating the overall look of Windows 11 as time passes. Again, though the operating system already features a number of visual overhauls, there are still many aspects that look and feel downright archaic. The flyout volume bar is itself a relic of the Windows 8 era. That alone warrants a visual overhaul.

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Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.