Monday, April 22, 2024

Microsoft finally listens to feedback and improves taskbar Widgets and Explorer in Windows 11

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New Widget position

It is easy to complain about Windows 11; oh, so very, very easy. But while there are many reasons for feeling frustrated at the operating system, there is also cause for hope — not least of which is that Microsoft appears to be paying heed to feedback from users.

This is evident in the latest beta build of Windows 11 released to Windows Insiders where the company has made important changes to Explorer and Widgets in the taskbar. Explorer improvements sees the return of drag-and-drop functionality to breadcrumbs.

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The changes can be found in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22635.3420, and the new position for the Widgets entry-point on left-aligned taskbars is the first thing that Microsoft shouts about in the release notes. It is a tweak that will be welcomed by many users of Widgets.

Microsoft says:

We’re beginning to roll out a new position for the Widgets entry-point on left-aligned taskbars. The taskbar entry-point will move to the left of the systems tray and will be wider so you can see richer content from Widgets on your taskbar. When you launch the Widgets board, it will fly out from the right side instead of the left side.

But while the new positioning will please many, there are numerous known issues at this stage:

  • Swipe invocation for Widgets may not work if taskbar is center-aligned instead of left-aligned.
  • Unpinning Widgets from the taskbar may not work if taskbar is center-aligned instead of left-aligned.
  • The Widgets board is incorrectly positioned when Copilot is in side-by-side mode.
  • Turning on/off Widgets in taskbar settings may refresh the taskbar.

It is some time since Microsoft decided — for reasons that were never made entirely clear — to remove the ability to use drag-and-drop to move files in Explorer. This has now been restored, as the company explains:

In response to feedback from Windows Insiders, drag-and-drop files with your mouse functionality between breadcrumbs is now available in the File Explorer Address Bar.

Both of these changes are rolling out gradually, so not all Insiders signed up for the Beta channel will see them immediately.

More details about this release are available here.

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