Windows 11 reintroduced widgets, which can now be accessed with a dedicated button on the taskbar. They’re not that useful right now, but Microsoft has some improvements in the works, including a change to the appearance of the widget panel.
Microsoft is now rolling out Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25201 for PCs to the Windows Insiders program development channel. The main change is that the widget panel can be expanded to fill most of your computer screen, rather than the fixed side panel available on most PCs at the moment.
There is a new button in the top right corner of the widget dashboard, which toggles the dashboard between a side panel and full screen mode. Microsoft also said that “the size of your dashboard is remembered, so if you prefer your widget dashboard to always show you more content and leave it expanded, that’s the way it will be the next time you open it.”
Microsoft revealed in May that support for third-party widgets is being developed, which would allow widgets for many more apps and services, more akin to widgets on Android, iPhone, and iPad. That, combined with an optional larger panel, could make widgets in Windows 11 much more useful. It wouldn’t be too far from the full-screen Start menu with Live Tiles in Windows 8 and 8.1, but without app shortcuts.
The new extended panel is still in early testing and could change (or be removed entirely) before it’s rolled out to all Windows 11 PCs. It probably won’t arrive in the Windows 11 22H2 update, especially since that update could appear the next week. Microsoft is also testing a search widget for the desktop.
Source: Windows Insider Blog