It is getting crowded on the Windows desktop

Martin Brinkmann
May 28, 2023
Updated • May 28, 2023
Windows 11 News

Widgets, the Edge Bar search field and Microsoft Edge sidebar, and Windows Copilot can all be displayed on the Windows desktop, and that is not even considering other features that Microsoft may be working on.

Only one of these is available currently in stable versions of the Windows 11 operating system, but Microsoft announced all the others recently or has introduced functionality already in developer builds of the operating system.

The Edge bar is a search field that Edge users may display on the desktop of the operating system. Introduced in mid 2022, it is still an experimental feature at the time of writing.  Microsoft has enabled the feature by default, at least for some users.

The search option brings the browser's address bar to the desktop. It returns browsing related items, such as previously visited sites or favorites, and suggests searches as well. All of these are redirected to the Edge browser.

Microsoft is also testing functionality that lets users pin the sidebar of the Edge browser to the desktop. It allows users of the operating system to access the various features that Edge's sidebar supports right on the desktop.

Current stable versions of Edge have several items in the sidebar already, including a search feature, Bing Search, Tools, a shopping feature or an image creator. It does feature options to add websites to the list as well.

Widgets, a unique feature of Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system, may soon be pinned to the desktop. All widgets are limited to the Widgets interface right now, but this is changing in the future. The feature may remind users who used Windows 7 of its gadgets feature, which displayed small applets on the desktop as well.  Third-party widget support is slowly rolling out, which extends the available widgets significantly.

Microsoft showcased Windows Copilot during its Build 2023 developer conference. It is an AI-powered assistant that combines functionality of a support chatbot with options to make changes to the operating system and Bing Chat functionality. Windows Copilot opens as a sidebar on the desktop.

The Windows desktop is getting crowded

All of the features are optional. While Microsoft may enable some by default, lit it has done with the Edge bar, all either require that you activate them for display on the desktop or have options to hide them on the desktop.

Some of the features share functionality; three of them come with options to run searches on Bing or interact with an AI.

Several features are experimental at this stage and not all of them may find their way into stable versions of the Windows operating system. Some may change, but there is no doubt that others, including Windows Copilot, will be introduced in Windows 11.

Windows Copilot could make the biggest impact, if it can really help users when they are facing issues on Windows. Tests will show how accurate Windows Copilot is at becoming a useful assistant that helps users.

Widescreen monitor or multi-monitor users may benefit more from the introduction of these features than others.

Still, it will be interesting to see how popular these new options will become once they land in stable versions of the operating system.

Now You: would you place any of these on your desktop, or use them?

It is getting crowded on the Windows desktop
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It is getting crowded on the Windows desktop
It is getting crowded on the Windows desktop, as Microsoft is working on multiple features that compete for estate on the operating system's desktop.
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  1. Micro$oft said on May 28, 2023 at 9:51 pm

    The way Windows is going has me exhausted. Too many repulsive black patterns and unneeded features. Numerous registry changes and third-party modifications are required for the operating system to function properly like it did in Windows 7. It might be time to stop using Windows and go somewhere else.

  2. Tachy said on May 28, 2023 at 5:16 pm


    [image of grumpy cat]

    If windows went back to being what it was designed for, the “underlying” operating system that supported “programs” designed to do certain tasks instead of micromanaging everything perhaps it wouldn’t exerience so many problems.

  3. ECJ said on May 28, 2023 at 1:17 pm

    Yeah, Windows is ridiculous now. Not many people want Bing/MSN/Edge/Microsoft Advertising and the more hostile Microsoft become at forcing it, the more people are going to resent Microsoft. If even us once-hardcore Microsoft fanboys now despise Microsoft, there’s little hope for them.

    Grifter-in-chief Satya once said “We want to move from people needing Windows, to choosing Windows, to loving Windows”. However, much like everything he says – it’s complete drivel. I’ve been witnessing the complete opposite occurring in the real world, with even long-time Windows users – that have been using Windows since the 90s and early 2000s – moving to MacOS over the last five years.

    Therefore, the inevitable winner of Microsoft’s aggressive strategy and enshittification of Windows is going to be Apple. The more contempt Microsoft continue to show towards their users, the more people will jump ship from Windows to MacOS. And once they move, in my experience it’s very rare that they move back.

    Microsoft will end up with no medium to high-end market at all; the only people who will buy Windows devices will be those who don’t want to spend any money and Enterprises (who also don’t like spending money). Everyone else is going to prefer using a MacOS/iPhone combination, rather than the poor experience that is using Windows/Samsung. And with Cloud gaming services like nVidia GeForce Now almost certain to be the future of gaming, Microsoft won’t even have a stranglehold on gamers any more.

    1. Stuart said on May 28, 2023 at 10:22 pm

      I’m never switching to MacOS. Apple are an incredibly greedy, anti right to repair company with insanely overpriced products and MacOS is nearly useless to me as someone who does a fair bit of gaming. If Windows becomes so bad that even the Enterprise LTSC version becomes terrible, I will seriously consider Linux, tho Linux is quite a dumpster fire too in a lot of ways. Better than MacOS for gaming, but worse than both Windows and MacOS at everything else.

      1. John G. said on May 29, 2023 at 1:51 am

        @Stuart, I disagree, Apple computers worth each cent they cost considering the years they can be used, working all day long. My uncle has an old MacBook Pro since 2009 and it still is working with the original battery, no pixel failure at screen, no single problem for mostly 15 years. Tell me which Windows laptop can reach 15 years of long working with no issues at all.

      2. Stuart said on May 29, 2023 at 2:38 pm

        Got a cheap Acer that’s still being used by my dad, who got it for me in 2012 for about $300. The hard drive failed in 2018 so I got an SSD and it has been working fine since. Not 15 years yet but I don’t see why it wouldn’t make it, considering it only gets light use and never gets dropped. Even with the $50 cost of the SSD, it’s still nowhere near as expensive as a MacBook. You don’t need to spend big money to get a reliable device. I’ve heard this stuff from Apple fanboys a lot but it’s simply not true. I have PC hardware going back to 2006 that still works when I power it on, including an IDE hard drive.

      3. John G. said on May 29, 2023 at 6:08 pm

        @Stuart, the problem with Windows devices was none until Microsoft decided the TPM chip requirement. Now it’s very unsafe to buy any Windows device because Microsoft decides the time you can use it. Or just installing Linux in a still good machine with good hardware enough to run whatever software. Which will be the requirements for W12? Oh, let’s be serious.

    2. John G. said on May 28, 2023 at 9:17 pm

      @ECJ, I still haven’t found an user of MacOS that wants to migrate to Windows. However I myself would migrate to MacOS just today. I am waiting to finish this annual course to buy a MacBook Pro with M2 CPU inside.

    3. Pingu Man said on May 28, 2023 at 1:40 pm


      “We want to move from people needing Windows” he should have stopped there, because that’s what they have been doing since Windows 8. More like: “We are moving towards people not wanting Windows, hating Windows and choosing anything but Windows” which is quite successful at the moment.

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