Full-screen widgets are coming to a future Windows 11 update

Windows 11 widgets
(Image credit: TechRadar)

A better view for your widgets in Windows 11 is finally happening thanks to a recent Insider build that's available to download.

If you're a member of the Windows Insider program on the Dev Channel (which allows you to install Windows 11 updates that are made up of features that are in testing) you can try out a new view of widgets where they cover your desktop in build 25201.

Widgets are in fashion currently, with Google and Apple also implementing them in new and different ways to help us manage important information at a glance. At the moment, the iPhone 14 line showcases them as a headline feature on the Lock Screen, but there's plenty of untapped potential on desktop PCs, something that Apple has yet to do in macOS Ventura.

This is most likely why we're seeing widgets be improved in Windows 11, to not only get there first but to do it in a way that makes sense for the operating system on desktops and laptops.

Widgets are 'in' this year

Widgets on Windows have been around since Windows Vista, when they were called 'Gadgets'. They were slow, locked to the right-hand side, would crash constantly on my laptop, and barely any were useful; Eventually, they were abandoned by Microsoft once Windows 8 arrived.

Fast forward to Windows 11 and the upcoming major update and widgets are making a comeback. It's telling that Microsoft is already working on improving how widgets work and how they look. With macOS Ventura scheduled to launch in October with no improvement to widgets on the Mac, it's an opportunity for Microsoft to set the standard for how widgets can work on a PC.

This expanded view will be a big help to further prove this, especially how the improvements to the Game Pass widget will show you the latest games available to play.

Granted, we may see this feature be delayed for a future update, such as the 'Moment' release, but it's encouraging to already see progress for widgets, and that Microsoft isn't prepared to leave them by the wayside again.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.