Windows 11 insiders are getting a neat new feature called the Xbox controller bar. Eventually this will come to all Windows 11 users, but right now it’s available to preview for those on experimental builds. To gain access to the Xbox controller bar, you’ll need to be using either the dev channel or the beta channel. On top of that you need to be running the most recent Windows 11 build in either of those channels.
Microsoft announced the new preview yesterday on its official Windows Insider blog. The feature is meant to allow for quick access to games and game launchers. Of course, you’ll need to be using some form of an Xbox controller. Either the official one from Microsoft or a third-party controller from someone like SCUF.
It doesn’t need to be a wireless connection though. And should work with any Xbox controller that you plug in to the PC as well.
Launch the Windows 11 Xbox controller bar with a single button press
It might already be quick enough for you to launch your favorite games. But the controller bar seems to undoubtedly make that process even quicker. The controller bar will automatically launch whenever you connect an Xbox controller to your PC.
If it’s already connected, you can launch it with a single press of the Xbox button on the controller. However, this will only pop up if you’re not already in a game. Should that be the case, the controller bar shows the games and game launchers you have most recently played or opened.
If you’re already in a game, then pressing the Xbox button brings up the Xbox Game Bar as it always has.
This isn’t necessarily faster than clicking a desktop shortcut with the mouse. But then again this is geared towards people who mainly use an Xbox controller to play games. If you’re eager to check this out for yourself, make sure you’re on the latest dev channel or beta channel build, then download the Xbox Insider Hub and sign in. From there, join the Windows Gaming Preview located in the Previews section.