Hands on with Windows 11’s first desktop widget: Not the gadgets you used to love

Windows 11 desktop widgets hands on

Microsoft has already confirmed powerful widgets are coming to
Windows 11 via the app store, but contrary to what many people
want, Microsoft is still silent on its plans to turn widgets
into an evolved version of the classic gadgets that were part
of Windows Vista and 7-era.

Windows 7’s desktop gadgets allowed users to read stock updates
and get weather forecasts directly on the desktop with a quick
glance at pinned gadgets. Gadgets were later dropped from the
operating system and they never made a comeback, despite many
users hoping that a similar feature would be added to Windows.

Windows 11’s widgets approach is completely different and it’s
based on the news and interests experience. Additionally, only
web-based widgets using Microsoft’s Adaptive Cards are
supported, so overall, the new widgets feed in the OS is just
revamped news and interests that you can already use on the

However, Microsoft is now exploring support for desktop-based
widgets with a feature called ‘search bar’.

Search bar

As you can see in the above screenshot, Microsoft is adding a
‘search bar’ directly to the desktop. Unlike the classic
gadgets, the search bar doesn’t offer options to customize its
appearance or functionality. Likewise, we cannot move the bar
to any side of the desktop.

Web search widget

The good news is that this could be the beginning of some sort
of desktop integration of widgets and there’s a chance widgets
feature will evolve into classic gadgets from the Windows

The static search bar appears right on the desktop to quickly
search the web.

“To begin assessing this general idea and interaction model,
the first exploration in this area adds a search box displayed
on the desktop that enables you to search the web,” Microsoft
said in the official announcement.

Windows 11 search gadget

However, there’s a catch – the search bar doesn’t respect the
configured default browser. In other words, if your default
browser is Chrome, the search bar won’t respect your choice and
direct the search queries to Microsoft Edge.

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