Microsoft is rolling out a taskbar notification system to its Windows 11 widgets this week. While the weather widget returned to Windows 11 earlier this year, it’s largely been a static experience that displays a sunny icon when the weather is good and an umbrella icon when it’s raining and sucks to be outside. That’s all changing this week, as Microsoft is now adding live animations to this taskbar widget.
All Windows 11 users will start to see these new widget notifications in the coming days and weeks, thanks to an update to the Windows Web Experience Pack that powers Microsoft’s widgets feature. The notifications appear as live animations on the taskbar weather widget, and include alerts for thunderstorms and even ticker alerts when stocks you’re following go up or down.
“When something important happens related to one of your other widgets, you may see an announcement from that widget on your taskbar,” explains Microsoft in a support article. “These announcements are meant to be quick and glanceable, and if you don’t interact with them, the taskbar will return to showing you the weather.”
I’ve been seeing some of these notifications in recent days on my Windows 11 machine, and they can be rather distracting — especially if you have the taskbar centered. While the weather ones are useful to alert you to thunderstorms and other elements of nature you’d rather avoid, the alerts for stocks are far less so in my experience. You can just ignore the notifications and the taskbar widget will return to the static weather one, but the animations certainly catch your attention if you’re in the middle of a meeting or you’re busy figuring out why your VLOOKUP table isn’t working in Excel.
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.