What you need to know
- Windows 11 has a new Widgets panel that slides out from the left.
- It contains the same News & Interests content as on Windows 10.
- Unfortunately, it’s not very customizable. At least not yet.
Microsoft’s new Windows 11 operating system has a brand new “Widgets” panel pinned to the Taskbar by default. This Widgets panel is basically just the Windows 10 “News & Interests” taskbar, but housed in a slightly different user interface. It connects to the same MSN service and provides the same news, weather, sports and financial updates.
The Widget panel can be accessed via the dedicated Widget button on the Taskbar, via swiping from the left side of the screen, or via the Win+W keyboard shortcut. The panel is on the left side and cannot be moved around or resized. Along the top of the panel is the current time, along with a drop-down menu to customize what types of topics and preferences show up inside the panel.
Below that is your interest grid, which ranges from the latest news to sports rankings. All of this information can be customized and tailored to your liking through the MSN website. Frustratingly, there are no boxes that can be moved or rearranged, and clicking on anything will open in Microsoft Edge, even if your default browser isn’t the Edge browser.
Since this is still pre-release software, we will not be evaluating its quality or feature set. That said, opening everything in a web browser and now directly inside the Widgets panel is incredibly annoying and I hope Microsoft can improve this so clicking on things like “view full forecast” will expand the widget so I can see more, instead of taking me out of the dashboard entirely.
Unfortunately, the most useful part of the old News & Interests feature on Windows 10 is gone on Windows 11. The ability to see the current Weather directly on the Taskbar is great, but the display stands out. that has been replaced with a dynamic Widget logo that doesn’t show any Weather information at all. Too bad.
Looks like this Widgets panel is also not accessible to developers, which means it’s only for Microsoft’s MSN service and not for third-party developers building their own Widgets surname. Finally, the weird thing is that it requires you to sign in with a Microsoft Account for any of them to work. Otherwise you will just get an error asking to login. I also find it interesting that in this error the Widgets panel calls itself “Windows Control Panel”.
Microsoft really needs to build on this feature more if they want people to use it properly, as it’s a glorified MSN.com viewer right now and I don’t think there’s much of a market for that. What do you think of the new Widgets panel? Let us know in the comments section.