Windows 11 is a stylish upgrade in many respects but change is hard, and some Windows users did not welcome the removal of the taskbar’s weather indicator. But there’s good news for the meteorologically inclined: The Windows Insider Preview Build reintroduces the live weather indicator in the taskbar.
Windows 10 features a News and Interests menu on the right side of the taskbar with a handy weather indicator. But that all got wrapped up in a new Widget Panel for Windows 11. While this new panel is functionally similar to the old News and Interests pop-up, it does not feature the glanceable weather indicator.
Weather menu in Windows 10
With this latest Windows Insider Preview Build, though, Microsoft adds an “updated entry point for Widgets on your taskbar,” and that entry point is the live weather preview. For users with a middle-aligned taskbar, the weather will appear on the left (pictured above). For users with a left-aligned taskbar, the indicator appears to the right of the Task View button.
How the Widgets icon looks on a left-aligned taskbar with weather in Windows 11. (Image: Microsoft)
Microsoft’s examples of the new look show the weather icon with and without text, but it’s unclear whether that is dependent on the icon’s position and available space. Windows 10 provides the option for the indicator to show an icon and text or just the icon alone.
With the preview, Microsoft is also rolling out voice controls for Windows 11. This tool offers hands-free navigation for accessibility, and users can dictate for text documents. It requires users to download a speech model, and then relies on on-device speech recognition.
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Once set up, users can even control voice access with their voice, turning it on and off with “unmute” and “mute” commands, or disabling the feature entirely by saying, “turn off microphone.” Voice access goes beyond the basics by allowing users to input key combinations, make precise selections in text, and handle finer mouse interactions with inaccessible user interfaces using a special grid overlay.
The Preview Build has a few other new features. It will allow users to get Windows Subsystem for Linux via the Microsoft Store. A personalization option will also allow for a new desktop wallpaper each day from Microsoft’s “Spotlight collection.” And the keyboard language and layout input switcher gets some tweaks.
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