There is a new feature in Windows 10 that adds the news and weather to the taskbar. Is it useful or just an irritation? Let’s take a look at what this new widget does and how to control it.
Firstly, you must have the latest version of Windows 10. I am using the 21H1 version and if you are not sure whether you have this, press Windows+I to open the Settings app, click System and then click About at the bottom of the sidebar. On the right, under Windows specifications is the version and 21H1 means the first half of 2021. This or anything later is fine.
I am running the beta version of Windows 10, so I might be slightly ahead of the public release. However, unless Microsoft pulls this feature, which is unlikely, sooner or later it will appear on your Windows desktop.
I have two PCs and one has it while the other does not, which is odd. When you get updates and new features tends to be related to how compatible your computer is with Windows. More compatible ones get new features sooner and less compatible ones get them later.
Enable or disable News and interests in the taskbar
- Right click an empty part of the taskbar in Windows 10
- Let the mouse hover over News and interests on the menu that appears
- Choose an option: Show icon and text, Show icon only, or Turn off
If you choose to show the icon, what you see is a small weather icon, such as sun, cloud, rain or the sun partially behind a cloud. If you choose to show the icon and text, a very brief weather summary is displayed, such as a weather icon and “15C Mostly cloudy” or something similar.
The temperature units depend on what is set in Windows, so expect temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit in the US, degrees Celsius in Europe.
Access News and interests in the taskbar
It is pretty hard to avoid accessing News and interests and to be honest, I find it more of an irritation than a useful feature. The problem is that moving the mouse over it triggers it and a window opens showing the latest news and weather forecast.
If I try to access other taskbar icons, such as those grouped in the popup panel, I inevitably accidentally move the mouse over News and interests and trigger the popup. It goes away when the mouse leaves the area, but it is a bit irritating to have to flash up on the screen. I hope it is changed to click-to-activate in the future, rather than mouse hover. Even a one-second delay would solve the problem.
If you want to know the latest news and weather without the bother of opening either the News or Weather apps in Windows, or going to a website in a browser, this taskbar widget is quite useful. In addition to the latest stories and the weather are sports results, traffic information and more.
To see the latest information, click the refresh button in the top right corner of the window. It’s a curved arrow. The window scrollbar is hidden by default, so it appears that what you see is what you get, but there is a lot more. Move the mouse over to the right edge and the scrollbar appears. You can also scroll by sliding two fingers up and down a laptop’s trackpad.
Configure News and interests in the taskbar
To a certain degree, you can choose what appears in this popup window. Open it and click Manage interests in the top right corner. It opens the default web browser that shows news and information categories, such as UK, US or World news, politics, business, science, technology, entertainment, sports, money, health and so on. Click the plus buttons to add the topic to your interests.
You can also search for topics and then add them to your interests. For example, you could add your favorite sports team, companies, businesses, science topics or whatever you are interested in.
After specifying your interests, you may have to wait for them to appear in the News and interests window. It will not exclusively show your selected topics and ignore all others. It works by showing you slightly more stories based on your interests and slightly fewer topics not in your interests. You will still see a certain amount of general news.
There is another way to configure the News and interests window. Each item is displayed on a card. Click the three dots in the top right of the card and a menu appears.
The options depend on the type of card and on the Traffic card for example, you can edit the location it shows traffic reports from, you can hide the traffic card, or go to More settings, which opens a browser to configure news sources and cards. The stock markets card enables you to add companies or markets to see the share prices.
This is an interesting feature in Windows 10, but I do wish it was not so easy to trigger the popup window.