Microsoft accidentally leaks Internal tools to test Hidden Windows Features
Microsoft conducts several tests to improve Windows through the Windows Insider Preview with the public in Windows 11. Other products, such as Office, Xbox Insider, and others, are also given early access in Preview, and the process for all of these is usually quite simple, either through a forum or an option available in the app to join Early Preview.
Nevertheless, did you know that many features and programs are hidden for some reason, either because they are in an early phase or because the company is still determining whether to roll out this feature yet? Normally, we use ViveTool to enable hidden features to enable Windows 11’s hidden features.
What is Microsoft’s Internal Tool to test Window’s Hidden features?
The features developed by a company can reach the customer without reaching the customer. Normally, features ready for consumer use are tested using Microsoft’s PowerToy app, but many features are still hidden. To test these hidden features, use ViveTool, which provides you with an ID to enable specific features. Similarly, the company has its internal tool to test hidden features.
Microsoft’s internal tool that enables hidden features in Windows is called the Staging Tool. With its help, Microsoft employees can enable hidden or experimental functionalities in their Windows Insider program. This allows employees to test and polish the features before they are rolled out. However, it is more direct and easy than ViveTool. Microsoft employees receive a QR code, link, or code for activation, and after verification, they can enable hidden features in Windows. This tool analyses all the hidden features and then provides a feature ID that can be used to turn the feature on or off.
The Staging Tool is a development tool developed to turn selective features on or off in Windows 11. The company goes through various A/B tests of new features. However, during the Bug Bash event, some potential features that may have bugs are highlighted. During this event, the Staging Tool surfaces, which has a configuration manager used to analyze the list of features that can be used to turn hidden features on or off in Windows 11.
The appearance of the tagging tool was accidental, as Microsoft’s hidden tool, Feedback Centre, was mistakenly included. ViveTool is risky and difficult, as it can break your Windows functionality. Like ViveTool, it is not recommended for general users due to its potential to break the OS. Beta features usually have many stability, performance, or security issues.
If Microsoft finds out the app is being misused, they may block it. As a reminder, Microsoft closely monitors the developers and vendors who release apps during testing. Microsoft did not comment on this leak; after reports surfaced, the tagging tool was removed. In this case, nothing much happened; there was no data leak or impact on Microsoft, as the tool was not made public. Apart from this, Windows Moments, which is yet to be made public, was reportedly spotted during the August Bug Bash. To check and enable Windows 11’s hidden features, you can use ViveTool and Mach2. However, the Microsoft Staging Tool is an official tool and has yet to be public for its reasons.
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