Getting rid of Widgets in Windows 11

Windows 11

It’s becoming a theme: things get added to Windows, IT pros want to know how to remove them. Maybe it would be better to not include them in the first place and provide a simple mechanism to add them, maybe a store or something like that?

Since that doesn’t seem to be the pattern with Windows, we have to figure out how to either hide, turn off, or remove the feature. For Widgets, you might want to do that because it impacts system resources, because you’re tired of trying to get it to display a reasonable set of news (today’s examples included exotic dancer phots, tactical belts for concealed carry guns, and grizzly bears chasing bison), to reduce the number of surfaces where you see this stuff (e.g. new tab pages), or because you don’t want to sign in with an AAD or Microsoft Account:

So, how do you get rid of it? Fortunately, this one has choices. If you want to get rid of it “with prejudice” you can completely remove it from the OS by uninstalling the MicrosoftWindows.Client.WebExperience package, done easily using PowerShell:

If you were logged in at the time, you’ll need to log out and back in again, but then you’ll see the Widgets icon disappear from the task bar. (If you try to click the icon without logging out and back in again, you’ll see the icon animate, but nothing will happen.)

If you just want to disable it (maybe until there are some useful widgets that you can add, and some manageability features that let you do that on behalf of your users), you can do that too via Group Policy, at “Administrative Templates -> Windows Components -> Widgets”:

The same setting can be configured via MDM as well (although it looks like this is an ADMX-backed setting, so it’s just setting the GPO behind the scenes).

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