Windows 11 Start Menu is Getting a Floating Widgets Sidebar of Its Own

windows 11 start menu companions
Image Courtesy: Albacore (@thebookisclosed / X)
In Short
  • Microsoft is testing a new feature for the Windows 11 Start Menu called Companions.
  • It looks like a replacement for the Live Tiles feature.
  • The support has been spotted on the latest Windows 11 Insider Beta build.

With the release of Windows 11, Microsoft removed live tiles from the Start menu completely. Users who loved the glance-and-go experience on Windows 10 dislike the new Start menu on Windows 11. There is a third-party app to get a somewhat similar experience of live tiles on Windows 11, but it doesn’t cut it. Thankfully, Microsoft seems to be working on a new feature called “Start Menu Companions” that brings adaptive cards to the Start menu.

Albacore (@thebookisclosed) found support for Start Menu Companions on the Windows 11 Insider Beta build (26212). The user managed to run a demo using widgets on a floating island, next to the Start menu. You can dock the island to the left or right of the Start menu.

You can also configure Companions from Windows Settings -> Personalization -> Start. Here, you can enable or disable the feature and manage various Companions for customization. Albacore notes that the UI is very web-centric just like widgets on Windows 11. Keep in mind, the Companions must be supported by developers.

Apart from that, the X user also found Copilot integration into the Windows Settings search bar. If you are on the Beta build, you can enable it through ViveTool. You just have to enable the feature ID 49445394 via ViveTool.

Over the past few years, Windows users have been criticizing Microsoft for removing helpful features from the Start menu. It’s a good change that Microsoft is hearing feedback and incorporating meaningful features to the Start menu and Windows 11. The company is also reported to bring the Show Desktop button back to the right corner of the Taskbar.

So what do you think about the new Start Menu Companions feature? Let us know in the comments below.

VIA The Verge
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