You can hide the Chat, Task View, Widget and Search icons on the taskbar in Windows 11 or disable them altogether
The most relevant changes in Windows 11 compared to all previous versions and Windows 10, are definitely the Start menu, completely redesigned, and then also the taskbar. The latter, although it looks similar to that of Windows 7 and Windows 10, is instead very different in its operation. You can notice right away, for example, that right-clicking on it no longer shows any menu, but only a link to the settings.
However, even in the Windows 11 taskbar you can set icons to start your favorite programs that you can remove by right-clicking on them. The difference with Windows 10 is that there are some icons that you can’t remove with a simple right-click, but require a change in the settings.
These are the icons for search, task view and then the new widget and chat buttons that didn’t exist in Windows 10. These four buttons, which always appear on the taskbar after Windows 11 installation, can be removed if they are not used.
So in this guide, leaving aside the search button which is useful for everyone, let’s see how to remove chat, widgets and task view in Windows 11.
Hide taskbar buttons in Windows 11
Windows 11 lets you choose whether to display or hide the 4 default buttons, those of Chat, Widget, Task View and Search.
To do so, just right-click on an empty area of the taskbar and then open the Taskbar Settings. You can also get to that menu of options by opening Settings from the Start menu and then going to Personalization > Taskbar.
From here, it’s easy to use the switches to disable the 4 default items and then choose to remove Widget, Chat, Search, and Task View.
However, removing these icons does not mean removing these features from the system. For example, if we already know that we will never use Windows 11 chat or if we really don’t like widgets, we can not only remove the buttons but also uninstall or lock these features.
Excluding search and the activity viewer that are internal system features, let’s see how to uninstall and disable widgets and chat in Windows 11 (although you can always go back and reactivate them when you want).
Disable widgets in Windows 11
If we want to make sure that widgets are no longer displayed and can be reactivated from the taskbar settings, we can turn them off permanently by going through a change in the Windows 11 registry keys (being very careful not to make mistakes).
Open the registry key editor by searching for it on the Start menu and running it as administrator.
On the top bar of the Registry window, paste the following path
Right-click on the Microsoft folder on the left side of the window and select New > Key to create a new key named Dsh.
Now select Dsh, move to the right side of the window, right-click on an empty space and select New > DWORD 32 bit to create a new value named AllowNewsAndInterests and value 0.
At this point, you won’t be able to activate the widgets feature in Windows 11 even from the settings.
To reactivate the Widgets just go back to the registry editor, to the Dsh key, and change the value of AllowNewsAndInterests to 1.
In Windows 11 Pro and Enterprise you can also disable widgets from group policies. So open, from the Start menu, Group Policy (search for policy or gpedit and you will find this tool) and, on the left side, expand the folders according to this path:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Widgets.
Now press Allow Widgets to change the Not configured option to Disabled.
Disable Chat in Windows 11
If you never use Windows 11 Chat, besides removing the icon from the taskbar, it may also be convenient to uninstall the Microsoft Teams program so you don’t see it anymore.
Then go to Settings from the Start menu or by pressing the Windows – I keys together, then press on Apps in the list on the left side. Press on Apps and Features to find all the programs installed on your PC. Look for Microsoft Teams in the list, press the button with three dots next to it and choose the option that Uninstall the program.
If you don’t want to uninstall Microsoft Teams, you can disable the Chat feature of Windows 11, so that you can no longer enable it from the settings, using the group policy: Search for gpedit from the search, start editing the group policy and browse the folders on the left following this path:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Chat.
Here double click on Configure chat icon on the right side of the window and set it to Disabled.
Another solution to disable chat without uninstalling Teams is to hide the icon and then disable the automatic startup of the Microsoft Teams program. To do this, right-click on the icon in the Start menu to open Task Manager. Then go to the Startup tab, select Microsoft Teams and press the Disable button.