This week, Microsoft will begin distributing a taskbar notification system for its Windows 11 widgets. Although the weather widget made a comeback in Windows 11 earlier this year, it has primarily remained a static experience that shows an umbrella icon when it’s raining and a sunny indicator when it’s nice and sunny outdoors. All of that is changing this week as Microsoft updates its taskbar widget with live animations.
The Windows Web Experience Pack, which drives Microsoft’s widgets feature, has been updated, and as a result, all Windows 11 users will begin to see these new widget notifications in the upcoming days and weeks. The taskbar weather widget displays messages as live animations that include ticker alerts for up-and-down stock prices and alerts for thunderstorms.
Microsoft states in a support page that “you may receive an announcement from that widget on your taskbar when something noteworthy happens connected to one of your other widgets.” If you don’t interact with these alerts, the taskbar will resume displaying the weather. They are supposed to be brief and glanceable.
On my Windows 11 computer, I’ve noticed some of these notifications lately, and they can be quite annoying, especially if you have the taskbar centered. The warnings for stocks are much less effective in my experience than the weather ones, which can help you escape thunderstorms and other natural hazards. The taskbar widget will revert to the static weather widget if you choose to ignore the notifications, but if you’re in the middle of a conference or trying to figure out why your Excel VLOOKUP table isn’t working, the animations will undoubtedly attract your attention.
Microsoft doesn’t appear to offer a way to easily disable these notifications, either. I’d like to keep the weather alerts but ditch the stock animations and any other notifications so my taskbar is a little less distracting. Given we can fine tune news content inside the main widgets panel, I’m hoping that a setting to fine tune widget notifications is on the way.
Speaking of future Windows 11 updates, Microsoft is also planning to release its next major OS update on September 20th. Windows 11 22H2 will include new app folders in the Start menu, drag and drop on the taskbar, new touch gestures, and much more.