Microsoft quietly added the new “News and interests” feature to the Windows 10 taskbar. This feature can launch without you explicitly starting it, causing a big box to block part of your computer screen. Find out what you can do to control it.
If you use Windows 10 often, this might have happened to you: You are working on your computer when suddenly a big box like the one in Figure 1 fills the right side of your screen. The box containing the weather forecast, news feeds, and other contents is not only distracting but is also preventing you from working on the tasks you need to complete.
This box is the new “News and interests” feature that Microsoft quietly added to the Windows 10 taskbar through monthly updates. By default, the box launches whenever you hover your cursor over its button in the taskbar — no clicking required. And since the taskbar button is large (it displays both an icon and text, as Figure 1 shows) inadvertently hovering over it is easy to do.
Fortunately, you can disable this feature or at least configure it so that it won’t launch when you just happen to move your cursor over its button.
How to Tame the Big Box
If you find that the “News and interests” box is too distracting or a productivity killer, here is how to tame it:
- Right-click the feature’s taskbar button at the bottom of the screen. Alternatively, you can right-click an empty spot in the taskbar. This will bring up a menu of taskbar options.
- Select “News and interests” in the taskbar menu. The submenu shown in Figure 1 will appear.
- Click “Turn off” if you want to disable the feature. Alternatively, you can deselect the “Open on hover” option if you want the “News and interests” box to appear only when you explicitly click the feature’s button.
What to Do If You Change Your Mind
Disabling the “News and interests” feature removes its button in the taskbar. If you later find that you want the feature back, follow these steps:
- Right-click an empty spot in the taskbar to bring up the menu of taskbar options.
- Select “News and interests” in the taskbar menu.
- Click either the “Show icon and text” or “Show icon only” option in the submenu to enable the feature. Note that “Turn off” is not a toggle switch like the “Open on hover” option. As a result, clicking “Turn off” will not deselect the option and enable the feature.
The “Show icon and text” and “Show icon only” options control what is displayed in the feature’s taskbar button. For example, suppose it is cloudy and 64 degrees outside. The button will display an image of a cloud and the text “64oF” (see Figure 2) if “Show icon and text” is selected but only the cloud image if “Show icon only” is chosen.
Besides customizing how the feature’s taskbar button looks, you can personalize what is displayed in the box. The quickest way to do this is to click the gear icon in the right corner of the box and select “Manage interests”. In the page that appears, you can select the types of feeds you want to receive.
Have a Lot of Computers?
If you want to disable the “News and interests” feature on numerous Windows 10 computers, you can use Group Policy to quickly configure the machines. When the feature is disabled with a policy, users do not have the ability to re-enable it. We can help you create this policy if you need assistance.