We have good news if you like the widgets board but need a closer look at the widgets in Windows 11. Microsoft is rolling out a new update that enables full screen widgets mode in Windows 11 22H2. A full-screen widget mode is finally available in the production channel, thanks to a recent web update available for download.
For those who don’t know, widgets are similar to the Windows Live tiles or “Widgets on Android” and iOS. Widgets have changed the way you interact with the home screens. Instead of tons of icons on the home screen, you can play around with big and small widgets (boxes) to view specific information without opening the app.
The widgets concept is not new. Windows had support for widgets in the Vista days, but they were called gadgets. While Windows Vista allows users to pin gadgets to the desktop, widget support is limited to the board. This makes widgets less valuable, but Microsoft is exploring new ways for the feature to benefit its users and developers.
On Windows 11, the widget board is accessible from the taskbar. We have a little widget icon next to the Start menu that lets you access the board, which opens on the left side of the screen by default.
If you are using Windows 11 22H2, a new Windows Web Experience Pack (423.2300.0.0) is available from the Microsoft Store. This update adds a new “Expand” button in the top right corner of the widgets board. Clicking the button opens Windows Widgets on the entire desktop.
You can try this new view of widgets on your desktop by checking for updates in the Microsoft Store.
If you’re a member of the Windows Insider Program, you can also try new third-party widgets, including the Facebook widget.
Third-party widgets are coming to Windows 11
According to internal information, widget usage hasn’t skyrocketed since Windows 11 22H2. Most people still prefer to use Windows without interacting with the widgets.
However, Microsoft believes that widgets are currently in trend and does not plan to give up on the idea any time soon. This is probably why widgets will see significant upgrades soon, and third-party widgets could play a big part in Microsoft’s long-term vision for the feature.
The first third-party widget is from Facebook, which lets you view Messenger conversations right on the Widgets board. The Messenger widget is based on the Windows App SDK 1.2 and users can also rely on it to view unread messages.
Support for third-party widgets is currently limited to testers in the Windows Insider program, but a wider rollout is expected later this year.