Sep 27, 2023

Windows 11's lackluster volume mixer is getting a serious upgrade

Sound controls in Windows have always left something to be desired, often forcing you to dive into sub-menus to change audio output devices or adjust volume for specific programs. According to the Windows Insider Blog, that's going to change soon. The latest Windows 11 Insider Build includes a completely redesigned volume panel, with a variety of complex tools available in a single click.

The new version of the tool allows you to click the volume icon in the notification area, then instantly bring up a mini-menu. This includes sections for the output device (great for quickly swapping between speakers and a headset), different options for Spatial Audio, and individual volume sliders to both the master volume control and individual Windows apps. The specific volume panel is also available via a new keyboard shortcut, Win + Ctrl + V.

At the moment Windows 11 requires three clicks to change an output device, and you have to dive into the full Sound Settings portion of the main menu and click the Volume Mixer to adjust individual apps. The updated interface is a huge improvement — something I’ve been wanting for years, and doing myself with third-party apps like SoundSwitch (one of the 5 free Windows power user tools we can't live without). The changes are visible in Windows Preview Build 25309, and should hopefully hit the Windows 11 general release sometime later this year.

Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.