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Microsoft is testing a new Windows 11 Start menu with floating widgets

A screenshot of widgets on the Start menu
Image: Albacore (X)

Microsoft has quietly started testing an intriguing change to the Windows 11 Start menu that could introduce a floating panel full of “companion” widgets. Windows watcher Albacore discovered the new Start menu feature in the latest test versions of Windows 11 that Microsoft has released publicly.

While Microsoft has not yet announced this feature, the “Start menu Companions” appear to be a way to allow developers to extend the Windows 11 Start menu with widget-like functionality that lives inside a floating island that can be docked next to the Start menu. It looks like developers will be able to build apps that provide widget-like information through adaptive cards — a platform-agnostic way of displaying UI blocks of information.

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