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Windows 10's new Taskbar feature 'News and Interests' begins public rollout in a few weeks

News Interests Lead 2021
News Interests Lead 2021 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is announcing the general availability of a new Taskbar feature.
  • The feature will begin rolling out in the next few weeks.
  • Users on version 1909 and up will get the new feature.

Microsoft has today announced that a new Taskbar feature will begin rolling out to Windows 10 users on version 1909, 2004, 20H2, and 21H1 in the next several weeks, making this the first significant feature to be added to a version of Windows that has already shipped.

In the past, new Windows features usually show up as part of a new version of Windows 10, but Microsoft is adding this new feature to versions of Windows that shipped over a year ago. The new feature is called "News and Interests" and places a widget on the Taskbar that gives you at-a-glance weather info, and the latest news from MSN.com.

The goal of this feature is to allow users quick access to the information they'd normally have to manually find. Whether that be the current weather, latest news, or up-to-date sporting leaderboards. The 'News and Interests' feature gives you one-click access to all of that information, right from the Taskbar and powered by Microsoft's MSN website.

Microsoft has been testing these features with Insiders in the Dev Channel for a handful of months, which lead many to believe it was a feature that would roll out as part of the 21H2 update this fall. But instead, Microsoft is backporting the feature to 21H1, which will release next month, 20H2 and 2004, both released throughout 2020, and 1909, released in fall 2019.

Ms Taskbar Newsinterests Gif

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

The company says News and Interests will begin showing up on customer PCs running version 2004 and above over the next several weeks. Users won't have to do anything to enable it, as it will just show up on its own when Microsoft is ready to give it to you.

Are you excited to see Microsoft adding new features to already shipped versions of Windows? Will you use the new News and Interests feature? Let us know in the comments.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

40 Comments
  • All I want to know is how to remove this garbage once I'm forced to get it. I don't want Microsoft to spam my computer with their political propaganda transvestite as "news", spewed by their MSN political arm, thanks.
  • Are you an adult? The time you spent writing this message you could have disabled it 50x on Windows 10. Right-click and turn off like everything else in Windows. Come on, man, you know Windows. You're now just trolling with dumb newbie comments here. Do better. Also, the news is customizable, so you select or hide the news outlets you want, you can only blame yourself here. You can also just disable news and show weather, sports scores, traffic, and/or stocks.
  • That's does all sound like good... *news*. In the News app though, these are not very customizable (it has gotten better in the past year or so), so I do understand the concern for the taskbar. You can now block a source in the app, but can't prioritize or add sources to the main feed. So, for example, maybe I don't want to block Washington Post, because I know they do some really good original reporting work, even if I don't always agree with their political slant, but perhaps I'd rather see stories from the Wall Street Journal or the Economist or some tech or science publications prioritized at the top of the feed. There's nothing I can do to encourage those.
  • " but can't prioritize or add sources to the main feed."
    True, although the devs behind it are encouraging people to submit feedback (thru Win10) to prioritize that feature. In other words, they are open to doing it, but only if enough people want it, etc. I think it'll be good to have it more like an RSS feed too. It's just getting started, so people need to have a little patience and maybe raise their voice a bit.
  • RSS feed would be really good for this. But yeah, at least fixed the localisation and actually shows up the interest. I already customised mine through News app like since Windows 8 days, and this Taskbar widget just shows up news pretty much not relevant to my interest and local news. Only use for me is having a basic glancable weather. Though I hate that it opens on hover. An inconsistent behaviour for flyputs, and I don't know why logic behind it for those who come up with that idea. It behaves like app thumbnail flyout rather that the system tray flyout that you click. This is the problem at times with MS somebody inside making decisions making things inconsistent.
  • Great point, Dan. I'll do that. Thanks!
  • The time you spent writing that you could have used to look up the difference between "disabling" and "removing" in a dictionary to refresh you memory, Dan.
    'cause I said I want it removed from Windows. Expunged. Obliterated from the OS. Also, if it's as customisable as the Microsoft News app, the selection of available news outlets is very limited. However, isn't this powered by MSN? That doesn't sound like me being able to filter anything...
  • Yes, it's all transvestites, all the time. Damn libtards! Trump lost. Gays exist. Get over it.
  • You should really stop doing drugs.
  • I don't think we need your homophobia be known in this tech site. Also there is an option to disable it, if you are keeping up with tech news.
  • 1 - I said remove. Not disable. Learn the difference. 2 - Homophobia? Dude...stop doing drugs. You're definitely tripping.
  • What an immature comment, troll. You know better what you need to do to remove it or adjust the news options.
  • No, you can't remove it. Only "disable it".
    And as per other Microsoft services (like the Microsoft News app), you can't really adjust a lot. You can customise topics but not pick sources. Unless Microsoft decides to show you that outlet, you can't pick it yourself.
    Nice try, simp.
    (Yeah, I can also play the pointless adjectives game)
  • For anyone wondering, the definitive answer is you can't entirely remove it. The taskbar widget is being provided by the Microsoft.Windows.Search package, likely re-using code from previous versions of Search that showed news tidbits every so often in the panel. However, if you disable it from the taskbar, it will correctly stop its agreggator service (which you'll see in Task Manager as "Feeds").
  • I right clicked on the taskbar, selected News and Interests, and Turned Off. So no, I will not be using it. Prefer as little as possible on my taskbar.
  • That's what I would do, but can you keep the weather? I think it's useful in the taskbar.
  • I just keep weather on the Start screen, which I run as full screen. I prefer to have nothing on the task bar or the actual desktop.
  • I kind of like having the weather icon on my taskbar, but I'm going to dump it.
    Trying to "manage interests" seems to have zero effect. Still get who-the-heck-cares celebrity gossip, clickbaity headlines, and zero articles on my stated interests. What they think of as "international news" on my feed is a trio of gossipy stories about British royals, and one about Russian military buildup near Ukraine. Maybe one for four isn't too bad.
  • You can also right-click on any news story you don't want and give it a thumbs-down, hide the source, or tell it you want fewer stories like that. We'll see if it works in the long run but there are a lot of options for hiding/getting rid of things you do not like/want.
  • Okay, I'll experiment with that. Yet the most immediate method of managing news selection, "manage interests," appears to do nothing.
  • That’s too much work. I spend less time just googling the stuff I want to see than endlessly rating articles. And I really don’t want it need anything like this built into my PC OS. Windows 10 privacy settings are already a maze to navigate. Why over complicate things further?
  • I've also had little success tuning my news feed with the regular news app and in Bing. If I can't properly tune the news, and if I can't turn off the news, then I'll just turn off the widget. Also I've been pretty frustrated with the weather app, particularly with syncing with the Android app (which is broken half the time). Hope this improves too.
  • Was exactly my suggestion via the feedback hub. This is perfect functionality as a flyout for News app and Weather app pinned to the taskbar if one wants to see it, when there is no running instance of the apps. It would be a perfect extension to live-tile functionality. they are simply messing this feature up Apple-time.
  • MSN news is totally irrelevant in Asia. They really don't localise anything for the regions. And the news app has more ads than content (just like twitter these days). lets see how long before ads are introduced into this.
  • I'm still a fan of the active desktop and would prefer this as an active tile on my desktop. The taskbar is already loaded...
  • I'm with you on that. I thought that was where Live Tiles would have made the most sense in Windows on PC's (as opposed to phones) for that reason.
  • Or just a live tile. That's one Start key press away.
  • Yep, pretty much. The only advantage this one gives is that you got a glancable weather always visible on the Taskbar. But I can understand this can be a clutter, especially on smaller monitors like on laptops. Live Tiles also provide more information as well as it cycles through. Too bad Microsoft kinda forgot Live Tiles. They could have Live Tiles pin to Desktop as an option.
  • I couldn't agree more. I run two monitors, and I LOVED the fact that Windows 8 let you have the Start screen stay up on all the time on one monitor. You can't do that with Windows 10, and it's really frustrating.
  • Yeah, Live Tiles scpuld have been more useful if we can pin them on the desktop. Also just evolve them to become a widget as well, at least when you pin on the desktop. Live Tiles still more powerful than this. The only advantage of this one is it will be always more visible.
  • Not really. Given the first thing I did when I got a new computer was delete their news and weather apps, I'm not really interested in replacing either of them with a built-in solution. For me, its a case of just something else running in the background.
  • I'll check it out, but it seems weird to dump news, weather, sports, traffic, etc in a single widget. Seems like it would be way more useful if you could break out each of these areas into its own widget. I don't tend to pin programs to the taskbar, preferring to use the start menu for that, so I have plenty of room down there. I'd love to have a widget that cycled through my designated stock portfolio like a super small live tile and separate widget for local weather (or rather, I'd prefer that in the clock area with just temperature and an icon for precipitation). Gnome 2.x on linux used to have a similar widget that was pretty useful. I don't trust the validity of any major news outlet at the moment, so I'm happy I'll be able to disable the propaganda stream for radical right and left wing outlets.
  • 'The goal of this feature is to allow users quick access to the information they'd normally have to manually find' .... by opening Edge to a new tab.
    Still have to click something, though there is a minimal amount of info right on the task bar icon. Think a lot of folks value the real estate on their taskbars, so might not be the best place for it. Windows 7 style gadgets probably aren't a great idea for resurrection as they are typically covered by app windows, or take up a lot of space. I liked them though.
    I almost wish they would do something with the live tiles on Start. The news and weather tiles could be beefed up with better options. A large weather tile could support multiple locations. News especially could get deep linking back (from Win Mobile), so when you click on a displayed article it opens news TO THAT ARTICLE. Still just takes a click to open Start. Would be nice if the Mail 'live' tile didn't display mail I deleted yesterday...and deep linking..
  • It is not something I would use, and I would disable it. I prefer to get my news from my own sources, not from MS sources. As for weather, i only need to look out of the window to see what it is doing. Anyway, if it uses the normal update service to get installed then it will not be installed on my machine for a while, since I have blocked all updates. I feel that this feature will be ignored by many people, even if they don't disable it and eventually MS will abandon it.
  • You can change the type of news you receive.
  • Still not something I would use, you may be able to change the type of news, but it will still come from the same source. Anyway, i can use my browser for news.
  • how can I get this if im in tablet mode ?
  • I'm quite impressed with this, it's not often a cumulative update adds new features
  • it doesn't come through an update. Its a pop-up US only feature
  • Sat here on the Insider build in the UK and its working fine, along with it also working on a VM set to Netherlands locale. So no, its not a US-only feature.