Microsoft starts testing web search box on Windows 11 desktop

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(Picture: Microsoft)
We’ve all been there: you’re at your computer and you have to search for something at present. You don’t want to use the web browser that’s already open right in front of you. No, you need a search on the desk. Good news: Microsoft is currently testing this in a preview build of Windows 11. All snark aside, the big news here isn’t so much the search box, but the fact that Microsoft is playing around with desktop widgets again.

The new search box appears in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25120 and lets you search the web right from the desktop. Microsoft doesn’t specify which search engine it uses, but we all know the answer to that question; her own. It also doesn’t say where the results will appear, but like the Start menu search, we can assume it’s in the Edge browser. This will likely happen even if Edge is not your default browser. After all, at the end of last year, Microsoft updated Windows 11 to prevent certain links from opening in non-Edge browsers. Microsoft says if you’re using this preview build and don’t like the search box, you can easily remove it. Simply right-click on the desktop to click “Show more options”, then toggle “Show search”. Also, not all Insiders will see this feature in the release as it is only offered to certain users according to Microsoft.

Widget options in Windows 11 are lacking, to say the least.

Microsoft says the search box is the company experimenting with “lightweight interactive content on the Windows desktop.” This could be a harbinger of more desktop add-ons, which would appeal to a number of people we’d bet. Widgets were a popular feature in Windows 10, but in Windows 11 they are docked to the left side of the screen. They’re also all contained in a block that appears when you click on a taskbar icon and disappears when you click on something else. There are customization options (above), but they are quite limited. Suffice to say that it is a downgrade from the Windows 10 version.

While we’ve never been a fan of having a ton of widgets on our desktop, screens have gotten a lot bigger over the past few years. We now have room for a small calendar, a clock, and maybe even a small weather box. Heck, we might even be tempted to put a calculator on our desk. Or at the very least, we’d like the ability to pin certain things to our desktop, off to the side. Sticky notes are nice, but there’s room for a few more. All of this begs the question: how many widgets does it take to kick someone out of the power user club?

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