Windows 11 Speech settings screen
Microsoft

Microsoft is constantly rolling out new updates to Windows Insiders. Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22518 for the Dev channel is one of the more exciting ones in recent memory, as it adds voice access to the operating system.

“Voice access is a new experience that enables everyone, including people with mobility disabilities, to control their PC and author text using their voice,” said Microsoft in a blog post.

With the new feature, you can control almost every aspect of your PC without ever touching a mouse or keyboard as long as you speak English-U.S. language, as that’s the only one supported right now.

You can turn on voice access by going to Settings, clicking Accessibility, and finally, Speech. Once there, turn on Voice Access, and you’ll be able to navigate around your computer with your voice. You can also set it to turn in each time your PC turns on, which is essential if you need the feature due to a disability that prevents you from enabling the option on your own.

Microsoft’s blog post has a full breakdown of everything you can do with the new voice access feature, and it’s quite impressive. Everything from waking up the feature to opening an application to left and right-clicking can be done with just your voice.

The update also brings live weather to the taskbar as a quick way to open widgets. This makes it easy to see the weather at any given time, but it also opens up the features offered by widgets more quickly.

“We are trying out showing the Widgets entry point on the left side of your taskbar with live weather content. You can also open the Widgets board by simply hovering over the entry point,” explained Microsoft.

Finally, Microsoft is introducing a Spotlight collection of wallpapers for your computer. This will provide you with “beautiful new desktop pictures from around the world every day and fun facts about each picture.”

As these features are in the Dev channel for Windows 11, it’ll take some time before they make their way to the release builds of Microsoft’s OS. Of course, if you want to try them out now, you can sign up to be a Windows Insider in the Dev channel. Just keep in mind that doing so will introduce some instability to your computer.

RELATED: How to Switch Between Dev and Beta Channels on Windows 11

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Dave LeClair was the News Editor for How-To Geek. He started writing about technology more than 10 years ago. He's written articles for publications like MakeUseOf, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and plenty of others. He's also appeared in and edited videos for various YouTube channels around the web.
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