Microsoft is starting to roll out its biggest change to the Windows taskbar in years. A new weather and news taskbar widget will be available in Windows 10 starting today, offering weather information directly in the Windows taskbar. The widget also expands to include a feed of news, stocks, sports, and weather information.
The mini-feed of content only appears when you activate the widget, and it can be fully personalized with the latest sports news, headlines, and weather information. Microsoft is using its Microsoft News network to surface news and content from more than 4,500 sources, and the company will use AI to learn what news is relevant to you when you dismiss or like stories in the feed.
If you don’t care about this new widget, then it’s easy to disable, or you can simply keep the weather information appearing in the taskbar. This new widget will start rolling out today to those who opt into the April 2021 cumulative update preview for Windows 10, and broader availability will happen over the next few weeks as the May Windows security update starts rolling out.
If you don’t see the taskbar widget straight away, you’ll need to wait until the optional cumulative update preview is available for the version of Windows 10 you’re running. The latest version (20H2) doesn’t have the necessary patch available yet, so the vast majority of Windows 10 users won’t see the new widget yet. But the taskbar widget is currently available on an older version of Windows 10 (1909, released in November 2019) if you install the KB5001396 preview. It’s a little confusing, but we’ll publish a method to enable the taskbar widget early if it’s possible to do so in the coming days.
Microsoft has been testing this taskbar widget since January, and it’s surprising to see it appear early ahead of the company’s planned 21H1 and 21H2 updates to Windows 10 this year. Microsoft is in the final stages of testing for the 21H1 update, which is expected to launch next month, but this new taskbar widget will be available to Windows 10 users running on version 1909 or above.
Update, April 23rd 8:35AM ET: Article updated with additional details on which versions of Windows 10 can get the taskbar widget this week.