What you need to know
- Windows 11 has a Widgets Panel that allows you to interact with content and browse information.
- Until recently, a Microsoft account was required to a use the Widgets Panel.
- That is no longer the case, as it is now possible to use and customize the Widgets Panel without a Microsoft account.
Windows 11 now allows you to use the Widgets Panel without signing into a Microsoft account. Until recently, those using local accounts or not signed in could not use the Widgets Panel at all. Microsoft started testing the option to use the Widgets Panel without a Microsoft account in December 2022 with Windows 11 Insider Build 25262. Now, that functionality is generally available.
The change was spotted by Twitter user @PhantomOfEarth. They noted that to use the Widgets Panel without a Microsoft account, your PC needs to have the most recent version of the Windows Web Experience Pack installed.
Widgets now has another improvement on stable Windows 11: the ability to use the feature without signing in.If you have the latest version of the Windows Web Experience Pack installed (423.3000.10.0), you will have this improvement, no ViVeTool requiredTurn off news when pic.twitter.com/Ncn5FhzCLwFebruary 14, 2023
Following the change, those that are not signed in can see the weather and news through the Widgets Panel. They can also pin widgets from third-party apps, which is more important now that Spotify and Phone Link widgets are available in preview. More third-party widgets are expected to roll out in the future.
Windows Central take
The Widgets Panel in Windows 11 is still relatively new. It has the potential to be a powerful tool for controlling apps and browsing information but at the moment it's quite limited.
In its present form, the Widgets Panel feels more like a form of monetization than a useful feature. It's not possible to remove news from the panel, which is quite frustrating. Additionally, very few third-party widgets are available. The rollout of Spotify could lead to a wave of new widget experiences on Windows 11, but we'll have to see if developers decide to use the feature.
Microsoft appears to be listening to feedback about the Widgets Panel. The option to use the tool without a Microsoft account is a welcome change. Hopefully, the company will continue to improve the feature based on user feedback.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.