The latest Windows 11 Insider Preview Dev Channel build introduces some updates to the address bar and home page for File Explorer and the rollout of Unicode Emoji 15 (with new symbols for wireless networking, a flute, maracas, goose, jellyfish, and ginger, among other things).

It also introduces a new Dynamic Lighting feature, allowing users to control RGB lighting on compatible keyboards, mice, and other accessories.

We first heard that Microsoft was planning to add support for RBG lighting controls to Windows earlier this year, but now it looks like it’s ready for testing. The feature will most likely roll out to stable builds of Windows later this year.

So far Microsoft has announced support for 18 keyboards and 5 mice from Razer, with support for one Asus ROG mouse and one Asus ROG keyboard listed as “coming soon.” But the company says it’s partnered with “several device manufacturers including Acer, Asus, HP, HyperX, Logitech, Razer, and Twinkly,” so we can expect that list to grow over time.

And the company is using the open HID LampArray standard, which should make it easy for other peripheral makers to ensure compatibility in the future. We could eventually see support for game controllers, chassis lighting, headsets, and other accessories.

Microsoft says Dynamic Lighting includes APIs that allow “Windows apps to control devices from the background and foreground, as well as a page in Windows Settings for users to customize how their devices behave.”

Of course, there are already tools that let you control the RGB lights on mice, keyboards and other devices. It’s just that most of these are developed by the companies that make those devices. And that means if you have a Razer keyboard and an Asus ROG mouse, you may end up installing two different programs to customize them both.

Or you could use a third-party application like OpenRGB. But it’d be nice to have the option of having things just work out of the box with native support built into the operating system, which is what Microsoft seems to be promising.

Right now Dynamic Lighting is very much a work in progress though. Not only is the number of supported devices rather limited, but Microsoft notes that there are “several issues with wireless devices” at the moment, so the company encourages Windows Insiders who want to test Dynamic Lighting to use wired connections for now.

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  1. Sometimes I think I must be the only person on earth who actually likes a limited amount of the RGB lighting, with everyone else either hating all of it, ascribing certain characteristics that they hate to all RGB, or just buying stuff with it and not caring.
    I’ll admit that it can be kind of hard to get the look right.

    1. I’ve got a Razer BlackWidow Tenkeyless mechanical keyboard with RGB lighting. I don’t use the lights for much, but did set up a profile so that the light glows green when I’m using Pro Tools for audio editing and glows light blue for everything else. It’s kind of a nice reminder that in one mode the Fn keys act as Fn keys, while in the other they act as media control keys.

  2. The personal computer has been reduced to tiktok, social media, and emoji and video games. No longer a “personal computer”, it’s all about social media these days. Sad really.

    But what’s even more sad is that all that Microsoft can come up with these days are emoji and anything xbox related. I stand by my statement I’ve made before that the height of computing was really in the 90’s and early 2000’s. The internet is a cesspool of crap and there is no new innovation in personal computing. It’s sad what computers have become. The joy of computing is gone. I’m quickly losing interest in them to be honest. I’m probably going to end up being one of those grumpy old people that hates technology and would rather sit quietly with a book than be on a computer.

  3. It is sad to see the emoji cancer slowly killing off unicode.