Microsoft accidentally leaked its internal tool called “StagingTool” which allows users to enable hidden and unannounced features in Windows 11 preview builds.
Microsoft’s new StagingTool uses a command-line tool to enable or disable certain features in Windows 11 preview builds
Microsoft accidentally leaked its internal tool that enables secret Windows 11 features via a tool known as StagingTool and since then, the link to the tool has gone viral on the internet.
The slip was spotted in a “bug bash” quest in the Feedback Hub which was only intended for internal testers.
Some quests include a valid link to a staging tool that appears to be like vivetool pic.twitter.com/MUXPzQlbsy
— Xeno (@XenoPanther) August 2, 2023
The StagingTool is a command-line tool that uses “feature IDs” to enable and disable features. Many feature IDs can be found on GitHub, so users can use StagingTool to enable features that Microsoft hasn’t yet rolled out to all testers. This can be useful for testing experimental features or for getting access to features that are only available in certain regions.
While the leak of StagingTool is not a major security risk, as it does not provide access to any sensitive data, it does allow users to enable features that Microsoft has not yet officially released, which could potentially lead to instability or compatibility issues.
It is still too early to say what the long-term impact of the leak will be. However, it is clear that Microsoft needs to take steps to improve the security of the Windows Insider Program. Users must know that it is not completely safe to install an unstable tool still in development.
Potential risks of using StagingTool:
- Enabling a hidden feature could lead to instability or compatibility issues.
- The tool could be used to enable features that are not yet ready for public use.
- The tool could be used to bypass security features in Windows 11.
Microsoft has since removed the link to StagingTool from the Feedback Hub, and it is not clear if the tool will be made available to the public in the future. Luckily for the company, the accidental leak has highlighted users growing interest in Windows 11’s hidden features so it is likely that Microsoft develops other tools to enable hidden features in the future.