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May 13, 2024

Microsoft Testing Floating Start Menu Widgets for Windows 11: A Sneak Peek into Start Menu Companions

Microsoft’s Exploration of Floating Start Menu Widgets on Windows 11

Microsoft is delving into a new feature for Windows 11, as reported by Android Authority. The latest beta version of the operating system, Windows 11 beta build 26212, is said to include a floating widget feature named “Start Menu Companions,” currently being tested by select users.

Start Menu Companions are essentially apps that offer “Adaptive Cards” displayed on a “Floating Island” adjacent to the Start Menu. Users can configure these widgets from the Start option within the Personalization settings. This section will also list installed Companion widgets with toggles to enable or disable the floating feature. Each widget will provide a link to the provider’s website for further customization options.

Similar to existing web-centric Windows 11 widgets, developers will have full control over how these Start Menu Companions appear on users’ desktops. However, this feature is still in its testing phase, available only in early beta builds and limited to select eligible users. Microsoft has yet to announce an official rollout plan, leaving open the possibility that this feature may never reach consumers.

In another recent development, Microsoft unveiled its Xbox mobile store, set to launch independently of closed ecosystem stores’ policies. The store, slated for a July launch, will initially feature smartphone games from Microsoft and its gaming studios. Xbox President Sarah Bond indicated at the Bloomberg Technology Summit that the store will eventually extend to partners. It will operate as a web client and may require side-loading options for games to run natively on devices.

As Microsoft continues to innovate and expand its offerings, these developments mark significant steps forward in both the Windows 11 user experience and the company’s gaming ecosystem. Keep an eye out for further updates on the floating Start Menu widgets and the upcoming Xbox mobile store.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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