Windows 11 widgets

Do you remember the desktop gadgets that came with Windows 7 and Vista? If you enjoy having the news, weather, clock and other third-party gadgets on the desktop, we’ve good news for you: Windows 11 will enable support for third-party gadgets in future, possibly in 2022.

Gadgets were introduced with Windows Vista and dropped in 2012 because of multiple reasons. With Windows 8, Microsoft introduced live tiles on the Start screen and desktop gadgets support was completely removed from the desktop in favour of a clean experience and better security.

With Windows 11, Microsoft wants to give up on live tiles completely and the company is planning to bring back gadgets support with “Windows widgets”. The build that got leaked to the web enables support for a new feature called “Widgets”, which are similar to Windows Vista gadget.

In Windows 11, the “widgets” icon will nestle in the taskbar next to the Start Menu and Windows Search icon by default. If you click on the widget, it will display the current weather for your area and in-depth breakdown news stories, and the latest on traffic conditions, stocks and more.

Windows widgets

Currently, Windows widgets in the leaked build is a redesigned version of “News and Interests”, which was launched for Windows 10 with June 2021 cumulative updates.

However, Microsoft is considering support for third-party widgets that will allow users to customize their desktop with their own widgets.

Initially, Windows 11 APIs will be limited to first-party widgets only, but support for third-party gadgets will be added later this year or next year.

The broader idea is that when you install your own widgets/gadgets, you can quickly access that feature/tool without having to open apps manually.

In theory, this seems like a good idea and an addition that some folks will find useful, especially if you wanted to see live tiles on your desktop. Although if you feel that it’ll clutter your desktop or taskbar, Windows 11 lets you turn off the widget support by right-clicking on the icon.

In addition to widgets support, Windows 11 is also rumoured to ship with a redesigned volume flyout, improved multi-monitor features, new controls for touchscreen gestures and more.