Skip to main content

Windows 11 update resolves a big pain point with managing video calls

Microsoft is testing a new Windows 11 feature that could make handling video calls a lot easier. The company is adding a video mute/unmute software toggle directly in the taskbar on the new operating system that would allow users to turn the microphone on or off during a video call with ease.

The feature will be limited — at least initially — to Windows fans who are part of Microsoft’s Windows Insiders program for testing features before they are deployed to everyone. It is now available as part of the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22494, according to TechRadar.

The Surface Pro 8 with its kickstand pulled out.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

“We are beginning to roll this experience out to a subset of Windows Insiders with Microsoft Teams for work or school installed and ramp it up over time,” Microsoft said of the feature. “This means not everyone will see this right away with their Teams calls.”

As soon as a video call is joined, the microphone mute toggle will appear in the taskbar on the bottom right corner of the screen next to the wireless and volume switches.

It appears that the microphone mute toggle will initially only work with Microsoft’s Teams collaboration app. Developers of rival video-calling and collaboration services that want to give Windows users access to the quick microphone toggle in the taskbar will have to support the necessary code. Microsoft is hoping to expand the feature in the future to software outside of Teams.

The feature also has a privacy component that will help the privacy conscious, especially as more office workers are either working remotely from home or switching to a hybrid work model that has redefined the modern office. The company stated that along with the ability to mute or unmute the microphone, users will also be able to quickly identify which apps are accessing the microphone and users will be able to see their call status. This is not unlike some of the camera and microphone statuses that are built into mobile platforms like Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS for added privacy and security.

And for those who prefer not to use a mouse — or their fingertips on a touchscreen-enabled PC — to access the microphone mute toggle, the latest Insider Preview also allows Windows 11 to control their microphones with a keyboard shortcut. Pressing the Win + Alt + K will also toggle the microphone.

The feature likely will be more useful to Windows 11 users working from a consumer desktop or laptop. Most enterprise or business-class PCs already come with a microphone mute toggle that’s built into one of the Function row keys on the keyboard. However, enterprise-class laptops and desktops come with more muted styling that may not appeal to all users, and they may be too expensive for the budgets of smaller businesses.

Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
A massive Windows 11 AI feature may launch next week despite privacy concerns
Privacy settings in Windows 11.

Windows 11 continues to build a large toolset of AI features, but the one rumored to soon launch may be the biggest change yet -- especially when it comes to your PC's privacy. Windows Latest reports that in Build 26212, the Windows 11 AI integration is named Recall and can be found on the Privacy & Security page in settings (via Albacore on X).

The concern is due to its privacy toggle. According to the latest build, you can record everything on your screen to help you better find something you were working on or searching for. The positive side is that it can help you find the report you edited when you can't remember where you saved it by accessing the timeline interface. It will also help users with their browsing history. For example, if you searched for how to use WhatsApp Web, but can't remember which browser you used or what site the information was on, AI Explorer (or Recall, as it may be named) can find the information for you.

Read more
What is Gemini Advanced? Here’s how to use Google’s premium AI
Google Gemini on smartphone.

Google's Gemini is already revolutionizing the way we interact with AI, but there is so much more it can do with a $20/month subscription. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about Gemini Advanced, from what sets it apart from other AI subscriptions to the simple steps for signing up and getting started.

You'll learn how to craft effective prompts that yield impressive results and stunning images with Gemini's built-in generative capabilities. Whether you're a seasoned AI enthusiast or a curious beginner, this post will equip you with the knowledge and techniques to harness the power of Gemini Advanced and take your AI-generated content to the next level.
What is Google Gemini Advanced?

Read more
AMD Zen 5: everything we know about AMD’s next-gen CPUs
A hand holding AMD's Ryzen 9 9950X.

AMD Zen 5 is the next-generation Ryzen CPU architecture for Team Red. And after a major showing at Computex 2024, it's ready for a July launch. AMD promises major performance advantages for the new architecture that will give it a big leap in performance in gaming and productivity tasks, and the company also claims it will have major leads over Intel's top 14th-generation alternatives, allowing it to compete among the best processors.

We'll need to wait for the release to know for sure how these chips perform, but here's what we know about Zen 5 so far.
Zen 5 release date, availability, and price
AMD confirmed that the Ryzen 9000 desktop processors will launch on July 31, 2024, which marks two weeks after the launch date of the Ryzen AI 300. The initial lineup includes the Ryzen 9 9950X, the Ryzen 9 9900X, the Ryzen 7 9700X, and the Ryzen 5 9600X.

Read more