Microsoft Boosts Windows 11 Productivity with Taskbar


Microsoft’s latest Windows 11 update brings several changes to the operating system’s taskbar to help office workers get the most out of their time when attending Teams video conferences.

The update, released this week, lets users control audio through the Windows taskbar while a Teams video conference is running in the background. Users can also share content from PowerPoint or Excel by clicking the app’s taskbar icon, bringing Teams to the fore.

Windows 11 comes with Teams pre-installed and offers some Teams features without a Microsoft 365 subscription. Microsoft has integrated Teams real-time communications into the operating system to reduce the risk of people using a third-party product, said Raul Castanon, analyst at 451 Research.

“Windows 11 is the biggest operating canvas in which everything happens,” Castanon said. “The integration of Teams into the OS…means that users might be more inclined to use native rather than [over-the-top] communication.”

Microsoft has integrated Teams into other products. The company has added Teams-specific features to Surface tablets running Windows 11 and the Outlook email client.

With the latest taskbar update, people will see an active microphone icon appear on the right side of their taskbar while in a video meeting. They can turn audio on and off by clicking the icon without leaving an application or browser window open.

People who want to share the screen of an Excel or PowerPoint document can hover their mouse over the application icon in the taskbar, and a preview window will appear asking them if they are ready to share the live app content.

The Windows 11 taskbar gets an upgrade to make office workers more productive.

Other recent changes to the taskbar include a widget that users can hover their pointer over to check the weather and a dual-screen feature that keeps the clock and date visible on all monitors.

Microsoft released the taskbar changes alongside running Android apps on Windows 11. Users can download over 1,000 Android apps from the Amazon Appstore, including the Android audiobook app. ‘Audible and games like Subway Surfers. The Amazon app store is not pre-installed on the operating system.

There are additional hardware requirements to run Android apps. The PC will need 8GB of RAM, an SSD, and at least an 8th Gen Intel Core i3, AMD Ryzen 3000, or Qualcomm Snapdragon 8c processor.

Other recent Windows 11 changes include replacing the Microsoft Groove Music app with the combined music and video player Media Player. The company has also redesigned the Notepad interface with a new find and replace feature.

Maxim Tamarov is a news writer covering mobile and end-user computing. He has already written for daily news in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and the Transcript of the sun in Winthrop, Mass. He can be found on Twitter at @MaximTamarov.


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