Windows 11 widgets will finally become usable, thanks to an upcoming update

 Windows 11 Widgets panel.
Windows 11 Widgets panel.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft will soon let you disable the news feed within the widgets board on Windows 11.

  • The change is in testing among Windows Insiders, though it is rolling out gradually.

  • Despite initial concerns of the option being limited to Europe, Microsoft confirmed that "the new settings experience is not limited by region."

A Windows 11 update made its way to Insiders in the Beta Channel yesterday. The build is relatively minor, but it has a welcome change that I can't wait to see make its way to all users. Starting with Windows 11 Build 22635.2841, you can turn off the news feed in the Windows 11 widgets board.

Microsoft didn't herald the new option as the welcome addition that it is. Instead, the company briefly mentioned it in a note about the new widgets board settings page.

"We’ve updated the widget settings experience, providing more ways for users to customize their widgets board experience.  One of the new settings enables you to just show widgets on your widgets board and another makes it easier for you to discover how to personalize your feed content," Microsoft explained (emphasis added).

Windows 11 widgets board settings
Windows 11 widgets board settings

Later in its blog post, Microsoft clarified that "the new settings experience is not limited by region." There was some concern that the ability to turn off the news feed in the Windows 11 widgets board would be limited to EU countries because European legislation is what caused the change.

Further inspection of Microsoft's image of the widgets settings page shows a section to "Show or hide feeds." That section isn't expanded, so it's unclear how granular options will be.

I have the latest Beta build on my PC but do not see the option yet. I'll update this post with a screenshot once the option rolls out to my system.

Just a widgets board

The widgets board has always been a bit of a strange thing on Windows 11. When Microsoft first announced the feature, many got excited. Widgets are useful on Android and iOS. They used to be on Windows back in the day as well. But things quickly turned sour when it was clear Microsoft planned to use the widgets board as another way to force content on users.

I'm not sure how Microsoft missed the mark by so much. It's called the widgets board, not the widgets and news feed board. A widget for MSN News would have fit in as an optional widget to enable or disable but an entire news feed that you couldn't hide never made sense.

Microsoft appears to have listened to feedback and relented on its push to put MSN content everywhere on your PC and browser.