New Windows 11 Insider Build Adds Tablet-optimized Taskbar And Widgets Improvements

Posted on February 24, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Windows 11 with 12 Comments

Microsoft has just released the Windows Insider build 22563 for Dev Channel testers, which introduces a tablet-optimized taskbar experience alongside other improvements for File Explorer and the Widgets Menu. The list of changes isn’t as long as last week’s build 22557, but Microsoft continues to introduce new features at a steady pace.

The main new feature in today’s build is the tablet-optimized taskbar, which now has an expanded state with bigger touch targets and a collapsed state giving users more screen space. “You can easily switch between the two states by swiping up and down on the bottom of your device,” the Windows Insider team explained.

Microsoft is also updating the Widgets menu in this build to make content more “dynamic,” and the result is that widgets are now being mixed with news stories from Microsoft news. “With a dynamic feed there’s less of a burden on you to curate the canvas on your own, but you’ll still be able to pin your favorite Widgets to the top if you want,” the team said.

Other notable changes include Snap Assist improvements, with recent Microsoft Edge tabs now showing up as suggestions when a window is snapped. In File Explorer, search from Quick Access has also been upgraded to include content from OneDrive, the Downloads folder, and any indexed location.

Please note that the new tablet-optimized taskbar and Widgets menu will only roll out to a subset of Insiders for now, as the Windows Insider team wants to monitor feedback first. Today’s build also includes a new group policy for managing Windows Update notifications, 37 new emojis, as well as various bug fixes. If last week’s build 22563 wasn’t available for ARM64 PCs, today’s build also changes that.

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Comments (12)

12 responses to “New Windows 11 Insider Build Adds Tablet-optimized Taskbar And Widgets Improvements”

  1. stephencwll

    Let's move the news closer so you can't ignore it.

  2. jdawgnoonan

    I wonder how many people actually use widget bars to begin with? I would rather have the left swipe on my Surface still switch apps than reveal widgets that I don't want. If I wanted widgets, I would want to choose persistent widget that I placed on my desktop.

    • hrlngrv

      Sorry, gotta wallow in cynicism.

      UWP apps crashed & burned, with the MSFT Store at best circling the drain, so there was insufficient monetization for MSFT from live tiles in Windows 8.x and 10. Instead in Windows 11 we get a bundled MSN app named Widgets. In order to maximize MSFT's revenues from Widgets, you can forget displaying only persistent widgets. Dynamic is necessary for MSFT to be able to inflict upon users Widgets from sources which pay MSFT to inflict their content on Windows 11 users.

      • jdawgnoonan

        I agree with you. I find it very hard to believe that any third party developers are going to rush out to make widgets for the stupid widget pane. Instead, Microsoft wants to use it to push MSN services at people. What I question is whether or not that actually gets enough users to pay for Microsoft to develop the damned thing. I mean, the usability that they have taken from the Surface by making the left swipe option away could cost sufficient Windows Tablet sales to make whatever money they make off of the MSN stuff not matter. Stuff like left swipe for app switching turning into a useless widget action is the kind of thing that cumulatively makes the Windows Tablet experience suck compared to iOS and Android.

        • jdawgnoonan

          I mean, why would a tablet platform ever take off when there are no apps that really are good for tablet use and the platform itself is inconvenient for users?

  3. behindmyscreen

    I haven't used Windows 11 in a couple months since I got my new MBP M1 Pro...Not a fan of the new context menu.

  4. hrlngrv

    | Microsoft is also updating the Widgets menu in this build to make content more “dynamic,”

    | and the result is that widgets are now being mixed with news stories from Microsoft news.

    Why do I think that means even less ability to PREVENT ever more stories about 50+ celebrities in bikinis?

    OTOH, good that Weather takes up less space.

    To be serious for a change, if News could be just from MY choice of whitelisted sites, great. However, that's almost certainly not going to maximize MSFT's revenues, so ain't gonna happen in this lifetime. Putting this another way, the LAST thing I want is yet another MSN vector spewing People magazine content or worse.

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