Windows 11 to bring floating Live Tiles-like widgets to Start menu

  • The Start menu will get a new version of Live Tiles in the form of a floating panel with widget displays.
  • The Canary Channel version of Windows 11 build 26212 contains the feature hidden within.
  • This release also includes improvements to the Share UI, adjustments to the sign-in process, and a new Copilot integration hidden inside the Settings app.

For Windows 11, Microsoft is experimenting with a new Start menu design that includes a side panel to display adaptive cards, which is a fancy term for widgets like Windows 10 Live Tiles. User @thebookisclosed on X has observed the “Companions” feature, which is a part of the Windows 11 build 26212 release in the Canary Channel. 

Start menu widgets

Although it is still in its early stages and is unusable, the screenshots indicate that the Start menu Companions will eventually get a floating side panel that will display widgets from various apps. Users will also have the option of docking the panel to the left or right.

Developers will, of course, need to incorporate this functionality into their apps. You will be able to adjust it from the Settings app’s “Personalisation” section’s “Start” settings page. Furthermore, users will have the same level of customisation options for each widget as they do with the Widgets dashboard.

With the release of Windows 11, the Live Tile feature for the Start menu design was taken out of the operating system. However given that these widgets will show dynamic content from apps, it appears that Microsoft is attempting to bring back the Live Tile interface.

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Settings app with Copilot

The company is planning to integrate Copilot into the Settings app.

There won’t be a specific button in the Settings app to access the chatbot AI, but whenever you use the search function, a “Ask Copilot in Windows” option will appear in the drop-down menu, allowing you to ask the virtual assistant a question. The copilot may even adjust the system settings automatically if it comprehends the prompt and is capable of completing the task.

Share interface changes

The Share interface has also undergone a number of changes with build 26212, one of which is the addition of the capability to generate QR codes for links and cloud files when utilising Microsoft Edge. You can send emails right from the Share interface if you use Gmail and your account is linked to Windows 11. Moreover, clicking outside of the Share interface will no longer cause it to close; instead, you must click the close button to dismiss it.


Fiona Huang

Fiona Huang, an intern reporter at BTW media dedicated in Fintech. She graduated from University of Southampton. Send tips to

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