Soon you may be able to doomscroll right from the Windows taskbar. Microsoft is rolling out a new preview build of Windows 10 to members of the Windows Insider program on the dev channel and, among other things, it includes a “news and interests” feature integrated into the taskbar.

You’ll be able to get a glimpse of news headlines, weather forecasts, sports scores, stock prices, or other details tailored to your interests in a window that pops out from the taskbar when you want it and hides away when you don’t.

Microsoft notes that you’ll be able to personalize your feed… and if you don’t want to use the feature at all, you can also turn it off.

At launch Microsoft says the news and interests feature will only be available to Windows Insiders members in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and India who have the Chromium-based version of the Microsoft Edge browser installed.

I suspect that means if you actually click through to read beyond the headline, your link will probably open in Edge as well… although I’d be pleasantly surprised if it turned out that this new feature opens links in your default browser instead.

Other new features in Windows Insider Preview Build 21286 include:

  • Support for creating and managing Storage Spaces from the Settings app
  • Support for new DiskUsage file system command line options
  • Support for using Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to run a specified Linux command when a WSL distribution starts up
  • Tweaks to automatic time zone settings
  • New simplified Windows File Recovery modes (regular and extensive)

You can find more details in Microsoft’s blog post.

 

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19 Comments

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  1. An irritating, distracting excuse to push ads. A feature nobody wants. It too will need to be disabled on first boot.

  2. Windows has become an agony of failed updates, features I do not want, and out and out bloatware — like Candy Crush! Installing and updating Windows is more about turning off, uninstalling, declining, and insisting — Windows now regularly forgets app preferences and offers up its own as alternatives over and over again on a per file extension basis.

  3. “details tailored to your interests” Say bye bye to whatever is left of your privacy while using windows.

  4. “news and interests” = thin and useless
    I’ve seen it, and yes it shows the View in Edge browser come-ons. I’ll be unhappy when Internet Explorer as a browser in Win 10 is blocked forever.
    Get an RSS reader, like Mozilla Thunderbird, and fill it with RSS feeds and make news streams perform as RSS and let the always-on computer do the rest.

  5. I have to agree with everyone else. That is ugly, largely useless or at least redundant, and takes up a bunch of valuable taskbar real estate. I guess it’s not the end of the world if it is easy to disable, but like others have said, it’s just one more hoop you have to jump through to make Windows 10 more usable. Count one more vote as “hate it!”.

    1. It’s more than just another hoop, it’s another slippery slope. “Don’t worry, if you don’t want to log in with an online account, you can create an offline account… until we eliminate them.” Glad you can disable this now, but I wouldn’t hang my hat on that lasting.

      Linux doesn’t look very rosy to me. Every time I check software compatibility of various windows emu options I end up very sad. We need a superhero to machine learn a bullet proof emulation layer for linux and save us from this windows 10 spiral. It really didn’t start out all that bad, but the blows keep coming.

      1. We need a superhero to save us from a lot of things.
        But if one ever actually did show up, he might just get so mad at the world from reading the deliberately maddening news and even more maddening belligerent, nasty reactions of a news audience gone mad,
        that he’d just write off the human race as a lost cause and kill everyone.

  6. I’m going to assume they plan on collecting your data (what your interests are, what you click/don’t click on, etc.) so they or MS’ partners can provide you with ads that you “want to see”.

  7. I doubt any end users asked for this, microsoft probably just got paid to do it by some big media conglomerate.
    They seem to be putting a bunch of stuff the taskbar for some reason, I don’t know why.

  8. I think Windows 10 is growing to the point that Microsoft needs to let users pick between different preconfigured modes with varying levels of features pre-disabled.

    For example, when I install Windows 10, its awfully annoying to need to remember all of the garbage features that I need to kill. Cortana, OneDrive, File sharing updates, “tips about windows” notifications, ads in the start menu, “Getting to know you”, etc.

    I think they should offer different preconfigured modes for Beginners, Average users, and Power users.

      1. doesn’t even have the Windows Store

        Too bad I use the Netflix and Amazon video apps to download videos and watch offline. Otherwise, I’d just be booted into Linux all the time and remove the Windows partition.

        I wonder if there’s a way to download these apps without getting them from a potentially dodgey website.

        1. My brother uses LTSC 2019 on his laptop (mainly because his laptop is one of these horrible things with 2GB of RAM and a 32Gb emmc drive). He uses Netflix, Prime, Disney+ and Apple TV+ without issues on it.
          He says that using LTSC was the best computing decision he’s ever made.

      2. LTSB is too extreme of a solution for what I want. I just want Microsoft to make a master-switch for all of these silly features.

        I install Windows at least every 2 or 3 months on various computers. Its really annoying when they add more crap that I need to add to my routine of crap-disabling.

        It would be nice if standard Windows installs were more modular. LTSB forfeits too much functionality. Give me the ability to omit entire modules, but keep update functionality for the modules that I do want.

        1. LTSB is too extreme of a solution for what I want.

          It seemed the only sensible upgrade path to me from Windows 7 back then, but to each his own.

          1. It’s not a suitable solution for the average person, even most experts and power-users.

            It doesn’t receive updates for newly introduced features in CPUs. For example, LTSB 2016 lacks support for anything Intel has released in the last few generations, including hardware decoding support for newer video codecs like HEVC and VP9, which makes video conferencing very CPU-intensive on platforms like Google Meets.

            No updates for Windows-related APIs, so the software that you’re using might start using newer Windows API features, but you won’t be able to use those features, or the app itself might fail to even run.

            LTSB (or LTSC, as it is now called today), isn’t a solution for someone who wants a “no garbage/bloat” version of Windows. it is a solution for situations where someone deliberately wants no updates whatsoever. It requires that you ensure that all of your software will never change/update.

            You can realistically only use LTSB reliably if you need to use your computer for one specific piece of software that is deliberately designed to continue supporting the exact version of LTSB that you are running. Like if you are an X-ray technician, you might use a specific piece of software that is designed to run on LTSB 2016, and you will be following their upgrade path if they ever need to migrate to a more recent version of LTSB.

          2. @Grant Russel, thanks for letting me know. I tried reading up on LTSB before I upgraded from 7 from multiple sources, but frankly, now it’s the first time I’m hearing about these concerns from you. Let’s say the Windows intended for normal people you complained about has one set of short coming while someone going LTSC having different ones. Given the average person buys a new computer every five years or so (and then many times it’s not a brand new consumer class laptop but a former company lease business laptop in otherwise perfect condition), and a new Windows LTSC (and similarly a new Ubuntu LTS version for that matter, which is the version highlighted on Ubuntu’s websites that this is the one you probably should download) comes out every two years how much new CPU features in the OS affects him/her? Probably not so much. When in the Windows ecosystem I used mostly a few boring open source apps that many people use either on Windows or Linux anyway, a browser, office, media player, that sort of things. But this was all before the pandemic, there wasn’t that much video conferencing back then. Nowadays when I need some Windows, I just fire up something called Wine. 🙂

          3. LTSC receives all the monthly security updates but you are right as far as features are concerned. You get what you get. LTSC2019 is based on 1809 feature wise. There is a simple way around the lack of Windows Store (basically gets the app url and install it directly) but missing features remain missing features until LTSC 2021 comes out. It’s not for everybody, if you install Windows every couple of months on several PCs, it’s definitely not for you. If what you want is something light and stable for a couple of years, then it can be.

  9. Yet one more thing that needs to be disabled before Windows is usable. Linux is looking rosier every day…