Microsoft makes the Windows 11 Start Menu expandable with Start Menu Companions

Windows 11 Start Menu Companions

Microsoft has made a lot of controversial decisions when it comes to the Start menu in Windows 11, not least of which is the plan to introduce ads. In the latest beta build of Windows 11. However, there are some interesting changes afoot -- notably Start Menu Companions.

While not yet fully operational, Companions are essentially plugins or extensions for the Start menu. The display information -- such as weather or stock prices in a floating panel to the side of the Start menu, will blend the ideas of Live Tiles and Widgets into something new.

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The yet-to-be-released feature was spotted by the eager software detective Albacore. In a post shared on X, they revealed screenhots of the new Start Menu Companions, with the surprising news that it will be an uncharacteristically customizable feature.

Thanks to Microsoft’s still-unpopular decision to center-align the Start menu, the floating Companions dock can be displayed to either the left or the right.

It’s not clear just how this potentially exciting new addition could pan out. There was a great deal of interest when Microsoft floated the idea of Widgets in Windows 11, but it’s not a feature that ever really gained huge traction.

Just how popular Start Menu Companions proves to be will depend on a number of factors -- such as whether there will be a selection of third-party Companions available or whether it will only be possible to use those officially sanctioned by Microsoft.

It seems like something that has great potential, but Microsoft has something of a tendency to make a mess of things that have potential.

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