Microsoft is still hard at work improving this unloved Windows 11 feature

We’ve caught a glimpse of how a part of the Windows 11 interface could work in the future, thanks to digging in a new preview build.

PhantomOfEarth, one of the regular sources of Microsoft leaks on Twitter, used ViVeTool to uncover how smart snap suggestions should pan out in Windows 11.

See more

You can see the results (this is in preview build 23493 in the Dev channel) in the video clip provided in the tweet above.

As noted by the leaker, the snapping process and tooltips are now working properly, so Microsoft is making progress with this part of the interface.

For the uninitiated – those who don’t use snap layouts – it’s a part of the interface that allows you to easily ‘snap’ multiple apps together in different layouts, with the suggestions providing predefined templates of how you might want those apps to sit on the screen.

Microsoft is also adding icons to the snap flyout carrying the suggested layouts, so you can see which windows will carry which apps (as the icon of the application is present in its relevant window).

We’re seeing Microsoft do a lot of work in build 23493, and it makes a big move in terms of the introduction of Windows Copilot (although the AI is very barebones to begin with), plus there’s some interesting work on the Settings app (yes, it’s an app, and yes, it just got improved in a major way).

Analysis: Heading for a multitasker’s paradise?

On top of all that other work on the UI (there’s a new volume mixer in 23493, to boot), this is a promising glimpse of how snap suggestions is coming along. It looks pretty slick even in this still early stage of the game, as remember, the feature isn’t even functional yet. (Not without using the aforementioned Windows configuration tool, ViVeTool, to turn it on).

As ever, features in testing may change, and as PhantomOfEarth points out, Microsoft is currently testing two variants of snap suggestions with the available layouts arranged somewhat differently, trying to work out which is optimal no doubt.

There’s even a chance that features in testing won’t make it to release at all – especially hidden functionality like this – but in the case of snap suggestions, we’re thinking this is a pretty safe bet for eventual inclusion in Windows 11. Particularly as snap layouts is an area Microsoft has been tinkering with a fair bit in recent times.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Microsoft is fixing this unloved Windows 11 feature

If you’re using Windows 11, you may have briefly checked out the Widgets panel – before promptly forgetting all about it – but it looks like Microsoft is finally going to make it more useful.

The Widgets panel is a new feature introduced in Windows 11 that can give you details about the weather, news, traffic and more via ‘widgets’ – essentially small apps that give you at-a-glance information. You can bring up the Widgets panel by either swiping from the left-hand side of the screen, or pressing Windows + W on your keyboard.

While this might sound useful, the problem is that there aren’t many widgets available, and most of them are tied to Microsoft services (such as Outlook or OneDrive), making them pretty much useless if you don’t use those services. The fact that the Widgets panel is hidden away doesn’t help either, and it’s led to the feature being all to easy to ignore and forget about.

Microsoft needs to act to make sure the Widgets panel doesn’t go the way of other unloved Windows features, such as the notorious ‘Metro’ Start screen of Windows 8. The good news is that Microsoft appears to be looking at ways to improve Widgets.

Third party support

As Windows Central reports, a developer has posted on Twitter claiming that Microsoft will soon announce that it will allow third party Widgets in Windows 11. This should allow for a much more diverse, and potentially useful, selection of Widgets.

According to the developer, FireCube, Microsoft is talking to third parties, explaining that they will soon be able to submit widgets through the Microsoft Store – in the same way Windows apps are submitted.

See more

Hopefully this means we should see an influx of new, more useful Widgets coming to Windows 11. With the documentation apparently being shared with developers, it looks like Microsoft could be getting ready to officially announce third party widgets soon.

Will it be too late for Windows 11 widgets? Perhaps – some people will have already made their minds up about the feature. However, if Microsoft can convince some big names to make widgets for Windows 11, then perhaps users can be convinced to give them another chance.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More