While Windows 11 is all about making improvements based on WinUI, the latest update also brings back something that was once familiar to many people. The widgets that were a feature in both Windows Vista and 7 are back, although they can no longer be pinned to the desktop, and only appear in a widgets board instead of appearing as individual apps on your PC.
The widgets board flies out when you click the icon in the taskbar, use the keyboard shortcut (Windows key + W), or swipe in from the left edge on touch screen devices. It contains your widgets, plus a news feed powered by Microsoft Start. The news feed encompasses a variety of topics, including weather, traffic, stocks, sports, entertainment, and tasks from your Microsoft To Do app.
To change the language used in the widgets, open the Microsoft app or service that generates the content. For example, the weather widget gets its information from the Weather app, so updating that will automatically update the widget. You can also tailor your interests by clicking the profile picture in the top left corner, then selecting Manage interests at the bottom of the page.
If you’d rather not see the news feed, or you find the selections aren’t relevant to you, the widgets can be disabled in the Settings menu. You can disable the widgets entirely, or you can choose to just hide the panel. The widgets will still remain on the computer, however, and they can be enabled at any time if you want them back.
Another way to disable the widgets is to modify a registry value. According to Windows Latest, this is a fairly simple step, but it’s not advisable for anyone who doesn’t know what they are doing. First, make sure the ‘Microsoft’ folder is selected in the right-side panel of the Registry Editor. Then, create a new DWORD key called AllowNewsAndInterests by right-clicking an empty area and selecting ‘New’ followed by ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value’. Double-click the new value and set it to 0 and then close the Registry Editor.
If you decide to enable the widgets again in the future, it’s recommended that you backup the Registry before modifying it. This will ensure that you can revert the changes if necessary. If you do decide to disable them again, you’ll need to repeat the steps outlined above. Alternatively, you can also change the ‘TaskbarDa’ value in the same way.