Windows 11 may get support for third-party desktop widgets

Several days ago, somebody at Microsoft spilled the beans by leaking a pre-release build of the upcoming Windows 11, aka "the next generation of Windows." The leaked build 21996 revealed some curious UI and feature changes coming to Windows, for example, a centered taskbar and a brand-new Start menu. Besides, there is a new mysterious Widgets button.

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Some users think the new button means the return of ill-fated Windows Gadgets - small widgets that you could place on the desktop back in the days of Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Unfortunately, in its current form, the Widget button in Windows 11 does not offer much. It is a simple restyling of News and Interests, currently available in all supported Windows 10 versions. In other words, there is no third-party widgets integration.

Windows 11 Widgets On Desktop Dark Theme

Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael), the developer of the popular EarTrumpet app, discovered that the leaked build offers no APIs for third-party widgets. It seems that, initially, at least, Widgets in Windows 11 will serve as a simple MSN feed with news, sports results, weather, finances, etc. Also, it will keep ignoring your default browser settings, prompting you to open any link in Microsoft Edge.

Still, there is a hope to get third-party widgets in Windows 11. According to WalingCat (@_h0x0d_), a well-respected Microsoft leaker, "the next generation of Windows" will receive third-party widgets support somewhere in the future.

Although we do not have official confirmation from Microsoft (even Windows 11 is not official yet,) renaming News and Interests to Widgets clearly implies that the company wants to expand its capabilities with third-party offerings. Also, you can open Windows 11 widgets using a dedicated button on the taskbar and a swipe from the left edge of the screen. If you have already installed Windows 11 (we strongly recommend not doing that,) you can learn how to add or remove the Widgets button in Windows 11.

While we can only guess now, Microsoft will reveal all the details about Windows 11 on June 24, 2021. Also, the company hosts an additional event for developers on the same day. You can expect Windows 11 to become available in the Windows Insider program shortly.

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Author: Taras Buria

Taras is here to cover stories about Microsoft and everything around, although sometimes he prefers Apple. You can stay in touch with him on Twitter.

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