Windows 10 was having a news and interest feed widget showing on the taskbar. This has been enhanced as full-fledged Widgets section in Windows 11 with stylish look like Mac widgets. You will also find a widgets app icon added in taskbar beside search and task view icons. For any reasons if you do not want to use widgets, here are the 3 ways you can disable widgets in Windows 11.
Opening Widgets in Windows 11
In our earlier article, we have explained how to manage widgets in Windows 11. You can simply click on the widgets icon on the taskbar to open the widgets that will slide out from the left side of the screen. Click on your user profile picture and enable or disable required widgets you want to view.
Why to Disable Widgets in Windows 11?
You can use widgets to check your To-do list, calendar, weather, news, stock market details, traffic data, etc. Though these things are useful, sometimes they can easily disturb your work. Especially, the feeds can be annoying as you can’t remove them showing from the widgets section.
Another problem is that Microsoft automatically redirects to local country’s feed and use widgets in the language where you have purchased the device. This will be a headache when you wrongly purchased single language Windows version or ordered your laptop online from countries like China.
How to Disable Widgets in Windows 11?
Whatsoever is the reason, the best thing is you can disable and remove the widgets from your computer. You can use one of the following methods to remove widgets either temporarily or permanently based on your need.
1. Remove Widgets Icon from Taskbar
As mentioned, Windows 11 by default includes the widgets icon in the taskbar. However, you can remove this icon from the settings as explained below:
- Right click on the taskbar and select “Taskbar settings” menu.
- This will open “Taskbar” settings under “Personalization” tab in Windows Settings app.
- Under “Taskbar items” section, turn off the “Widgets” option.
- This will remove the widgets icon from your taskbar.
Unfortunately, this is a temporary way as it will only remove the icon and not the widgets function in Windows 11. You can press “Win + W” keyboard shortcuts to open the widgets even though you have disabled the icon from your taskbar.
The permanent solution is to edit group policy or registry entry and completely disable widgets feature in Windows 11.
2. Disable Widgets Using Group Policy Editor
You can change the widgets policy from Group Policy Editor to disable it completely for you and other users on a computer. However, Group policy editor is available in Windows Pro, Education and Enterprise editions and not on Home and other editions. If Group Policy Editor is not available on your Windows version, then move on to option 3.
- Press “Win + R” and open Run dialog box.
- Type gpedit.msc and press “OK” button.
- Make sure you are using administrator account, otherwise you will get a permission error as shown below.
- This will open Group Policy Editor and expand the “Administrative Templates” section. This is available under “Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration” section.
- Again expand “Windows Components” section and click on “Widgets” folder. The folders are arranged in alphabetical order; hence you can scroll down to the bottom and find the “Widgets” folder at “w” area.
- On the right pane, you will see a “Allow widgets” setting which will be in “Not configured” state by default.
- Either double click on the setting or select “Allow widgets” and then click “Edit policy settings” link.
- This will open the policy configuration dialog box and select “Disabled” option.
- Click “Apply” and then “OK” to close the dialog box. Now, you should be seeing the “Allow widgets” policy state is showing as “Disabled”.
- Close Group Policy Editor and all other apps.
- Restart your computer and check the widgets settings in Windows Settings app.
- You will see the option is greyed out and a message will be showing on the top saying “Some of these settings are managed by your organization”.
- Press “Win + W” and you will notice nothing happens as changing policy editor setting completely disabled widgets features in your computer.
3. Disable Widgets with Registry Editor
Using registry editor is another way to permanently disable widgets in Windows 11.
- Press “Win + R” keys to open Run app.
- Type regedit and press “OK” to open Registry Editor app.
- Paste the below path in registry editor address bar and press enter to go to that location.
- Right click on “Microsoft” folder or anywhere on the right pane and select “New > Key” option. It will create a new folder under “Microsoft” folder and rename it as “Dsh”.
- Now, select “Dsh” folder and right click on the right pane. Select “New > DWORD (32-bit) Value” from the context menu. Name your DWORD as “AllowNewsAndInterests”.
- By default, this DWORD will have 0 value and hence you do not need to modify the value. However, you can confirm this by double clicking and checking the “Value data”. Value 0 indicates the widgets are disabled and 1 indicates the widgets are enabled in your computer.
- Restart your computer and check the taskbar settings in Windows Settings app. It will be greyed out and the keyboard shortcut “Win + W” will NOT work to reveal widgets.
Note that you can delete the DWORD and key any time to enable the widgets back. The changes will be applied only after you sign out and sign in or restart the computer.
New features with real value addition are always welcomed by users. However, forcibly throwing news feed from Microsoft without any option to disable it is a sneaky way. At least in Windows 10, you can right click on the widget and turn off from the taskbar. Unfortunately, that does not work in Windows 11 and disabling from settings is also of no use as keyboard shortcut will continue to work. At this point, registry editor is the viable option as it is available in all Windows versions. You can also use group policy editor to manage multiple users when you have appropriate Windows editions.