Windows 11 is getting useful widget tweaks, but not the change we really want – Microsoft should learn from macOS

Windows 11 is getting useful widget tweaks, but not the change we really want – Microsoft should learn from macOS
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Windows 11 has a new preview build and it applies some useful changes to widgets on the lock screen – although not the addition to the mix that we really want – and other tweaks besides.

This is preview build 26252 in the Canary channel (the earliest test versions of Windows 11) and the work on widgets is just rolling out at this point – so not every tester will see this yet.

In the usual blog post, Microsoft lets us know that it’s improving the lock screen weather and other widgets (including stocks, traffic, and sports) with a better card design.

In other words, the small cards that display all the widget info now benefit from an acrylic blur effect, as well as an optimized font, with tweaks to the card size and spacing also implemented to give everything a more pleasing look. Or that’s the idea anyway – we’re sure Windows 11 testers will let Microsoft know if that isn’t the case.

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There are a couple of other notable tweaks with build 26252. Firstly, Microsoft has made it so you can drag and drop an app from the pinned section of the Start menu, straight onto the taskbar where it will also be pinned. Yes, a minor move, but another useful touch.

Secondly, Microsoft informs us: “We are beginning to roll out a new energy recommendation for turning off HDR to conserve energy on PCs with HDR displays under Settings > Power & battery > Energy recommendations.”

Windows 11 Lock Screen Widgets

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Analysis: Unfulfilled promise

We don’t want to sound ungrateful – these widget changes in the new preview are welcome – but they’re more skirting around the edges of what really needs to be done with widgets on the lock screen.

Namely, we want a choice of which widgets are displayed, and more customization in general – Apple nails this side of the equation better in macOS, with Sonoma having advanced significantly in terms of selecting and tailoring the widgets you want to see. Whereas right now, with Windows 11’s lock screen widgets, you must have them all, or none. (Even if you don’t want, say, the finance widget, as stocks and shares bore the pants off you – you’re stuck with it).

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Microsoft has already promised this change to be able to pick and choose lock screen widgets, but that was a while back now, and we’re getting a little impatient as to why it’s taking so long. It is, after all, a pretty basic piece of functionality – isn’t it?

That aside, it’s good to see the ability to drag pinned apps from the Start menu to the taskbar directly – more of this please, Microsoft. However, you should be able to drag and drop what you want, where you want (within reason) in the OS in our books, but with Windows 11 Microsoft took some strange steps to remove some of these basic abilities. Take, for example, dragging a file out of a folder window to another folder via File Explorer’s address bar – this wasn’t present in Windows 11 until recently, and it’s mystifying as to why.

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At least Microsoft is generally headed in the right direction with all these changes, we’d just like some things to move a bit faster.

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