Windows 11 is bringing the ability to banish the clutter from the widgets panel to all users, you’ll doubtless be pleased to hear – maybe opening up this part of the interface to being used by a lot more folks.
Previously, we heard about the option to remove the news feed and adverts from the widgets panel – so it purely plays host to widgets, and nothing else – was going to be part of a package of measures for Windows 11 users in the European Economic Area (EEA).
However, it seems this is a change rolling out to all Windows 11 users, as Microsoft advised in a blog post for the new preview build in the Beta channel (22635.2841), as part of some fresh introductions to settings for the widget board.
Microsoft tells us: “One of the new settings enables you to just show widgets on your widgets board,” adding that: “The new settings experience is not limited by region.”
Note that this is in the process of being rolled out, so not all testers in the Beta channel will have it yet. Of course, it’ll take further time to be pushed to the Release Preview channel, and then onto the finished version of Windows 11 (hopefully).
Other tweaks to widget settings include the ability to change the Microsoft account used to pipe through the news feed (if you want it), so you don’t have to be stuck with the account that’s signed into Windows 11.
There are also some tweaks for Copilot, including the AI now appearing in the Alt-Tab menu (for quickly switching between apps in Windows 11), and the ability to use Copilot across multiple screens.
For the full lowdown on all the bits and pieces Microsoft is working on with this preview version, check out the blog post.
Analysis: A hopeful sign?
It seems like Microsoft is listening to feedback, because while widgets can be a useful little extra for Windows 11, there are certainly users who have shied away from the widgets panel due to its pollution with news content pulled from MSN (and ads to make matters worse).
It’s interesting to see this happen just after the negative reaction to the changes being brought in for the EEA, and not other Windows 11 users, who would very much like these choices. So, maybe more of these options will be widely rolled out, after all. We remain unconvinced about that – as the motivation behind them is to comply with regulations in Europe – but who knows.
These are some very useful features, like being able to rid the Windows 11 search box of Bing (and its web results), or the choice to be able to uninstall Microsoft’s Edge browser. Time will tell, but the testing channels are worth watching closely going forward.
In terms of widgets themselves, another useful change rumored in the past is the ability to move them off their panel and pin them to the desktop.
Via Windows Central