Simplified Chat Removal: Microsoft Streamlines Windows 11 Taskbar Customization

Microsoft is simplifying the process of eliminating Chat from the taskbar in Windows 11

Image Credit: The Verge

This week, Microsoft released a new preview build of Windows 11, bringing significant changes to the operating system's Chat integration. As described in Wayne's article, the update introduces several modifications to the OS.

One notable change is the replacement of the fly-out Chat interface with a shortcut to Microsoft Teams Free. When Chat was initially launched on Windows 11's taskbar in 2021, Microsoft aimed to promote the usage of Microsoft Teams on Home devices. They implemented the fly-out feature, which made it challenging for users to remove it from the taskbar.

By clicking on the Chat icon, users could access a flyout menu offering options such as initiating a call, sending messages, and starting a meeting. Chat relied on the free version of Microsoft Teams and was pre-installed on all Windows 11 devices, including the most recent development build.

Although Microsoft never disclosed specific usage numbers, it became apparent that Chat did not meet their expectations. Since Chat was primarily designed for home use, users were unable to utilize it to connect with their work or school contacts. Consequently, numerous help requests have flooded the internet seeking guidance on how to remove Chat from the Windows 11 taskbar.

In this latest build, Microsoft has made a significant update to the Chat feature, which is now known as Microsoft Teams -- Free. By default, Microsoft Teams -- Free is now pinned to the taskbar, but users have the option to remove it just like any other app on the taskbar. Microsoft plans to further improve and enhance Microsoft Teams -- Free by adding more features and making additional improvements. Stay tuned for these upcoming enhancements.

This change is beneficial for operating system users as it simplifies the process of removing Chat from the taskbar and even uninstalling the Microsoft Teams Free application from the operating system entirely. Once this change becomes available in stable versions of the OS, users will be able to right-click on the new shortcut and choose "unpin from Taskbar" to remove it. This improvement addresses the previous inconvenience users faced when attempting to remove Chat from current Windows versions, offering a more pleasant experience.

To clarify, the process of removing Chat from the taskbar in Windows 11 involves different steps than simply right-clicking on the icon and selecting "remove." Instead, users are required to follow these alternative steps:

Right-click on a blank area of the Windows 11 taskbar.

Choose "Taskbar Settings" from the context menu that appears.

In the Settings app, locate the option related to Chat and toggle it off to disable Chat on the taskbar.

Alternatively, users can directly open the Settings app and navigate to "Personalization" and then "Taskbar" to access the Chat toggle manually.

It's important to note that the change you mentioned has been implemented in a development build of Windows 11. While there's a slim possibility that the original Chat feature might be restored before the changes are implemented in stable Windows 11 versions, it is more likely that Microsoft will introduce these changes in the upcoming Windows 11 version 23H2 release, expected later this year.

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