Microsoft succeeded in making Windows 11 a beautiful, modern operating system. But the first Windows 11 anniversary update may include an unattractive feature from Microsoft’s last “beautiful” operating system—yeah, I’m talking about the Gadgets from Windows Vista.
Update, 5/19/22: Insider Preview Build 25120 brings a search bar to the Windows desktop. Microsoft says that a desktop search bar is the first step toward actual desktop widgets, effectively confirming this months-old leak.
Gadgets were small widgets that pinned directly to your desktop. In other words, they were the opposite of today’s Windows 11 widgets, which hide behind a menu to reduce clutter. Internal sources now tell Windows Latest that Windows 11 will gain desktop widget support in the “Sun Valley 2” anniversary update, version 22H2.
Additionally, Microsoft may unlock third-party widget support for Windows 11, just as it did for Windows Vista’s Gadgets. It’s an interesting decision, given that third-party Gadgets were a major security risk in Vista and Windows 7—you could install Gadgets from random forums and DeviantArt pages, so they made a great vehicle for malware. (Of course, even the Microsoft-made Gadgets were vulnerable to hackers, which is why the feature died.)
Microsoft may only offer “approved” third-party widgets in its Windows 11 app store to mitigate any security risk (although I wouldn’t exactly call the Microsoft Store “secure”). Still, we shouldn’t get too ahead of ourselves. Improved widget support is just a rumor; it hasn’t been confirmed by Microsoft.
We also aren’t sure when the Windows 11 anniversary update will arrive, though it’s rumored to include a ton of improvements, including the option to pin more apps or recommendations to Start. For what it’s worth, Windows 11 turns a year old in July.
Source: Windows Latest