Microsoft is experimenting with new Windows widget designs, here’s how to enable them


A few weeks ago, Windows Insiders spotted some slight changes to the Windows Widgets Board. Users report spotting new buttons to launch additional MSN services, refresh or add widgets, and get local content. It looks like Microsoft is experimenting with other ways to increase engagement, but the rollout has traditionally been hit or miss, with only certain Windows insiders getting the new layouts. That means it’s time to release users’ favorite ViveTool application.

Windows Widgets are far from the most popular or beloved part of Windows 11. Still, with third-party widget support looming on the horizon, Windows Widgets might become a slightly more useful space or exciting, not just a doorway to feed the public with tabloid news. Therefore, changes to Windows Widget layouts and functionality are worth testing to provide Microsoft with feedback on future improvements.

One of the redesigned variants of Windows Widgets

You can try your luck of getting a randomly redesigned Windows Widgets Board layout by activating a credential using the ViveTool app. The ID allegedly makes your device eligible to participate in the experiment with Microsoft to decide which design to give away. In case you missed it, we also have a separate guide on how to enable fullscreen Windows widgets.

A redesigned Windows Widgets toolbar

Important: Think twice before continuing. Enabling hidden features might break things, cause bugs and other software issues. Stay away from the preview builds of ViveTool and Windows Insider if you’re not ready for troubleshooting or dealing with the not-so-pleasant wonders of using preview software.

How to activate the new design of Windows widgets

The following guide works on systems with Windows 11 build 25212 and newer (Dev) or 22623.746 and newer (Beta).

  1. Get the ViveTool application from GitHub and extract the files to C:Vive. You can also use another folder to store the application; our variant makes it easier to navigate in Windows Terminal.
  2. Launch Windows Terminal as an administrator by right-clicking the Start menu (you can also press Win + X) and selecting Terminal (administrator).
  3. Switch to the Command Prompt profile by clicking the down arrow button on the tab bar.The Windows Terminal app showing how to switch from PowerShell profile to Command Prompt profile
  4. Open the folder containing the Vivetool files using the CD command. For instance, CD C:Vive.
  5. Type vivetool /enable /id:40772499 and press Enter.
  6. Restart your system, then open Windows Widgets.

To disable this setting, simply run the command in step 5 with disable instead of activating.

What do you think of the experimental layout changes in Windows Widgets? Share your opinion in the comments.

Credits for discoveries go to @FireCubeStudios and @GhostOfEarth


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