A feature that came with the latest Windows Update is the “News and Interests” taskbar widget for Windows 10. A feature that might make sense for the user experience on stationary PC’s is definetly something that can confuse users in multi-session environments – like such on Azure Virtual Desktop.

Enable news and interests option

How you can easily turn this feature off is what we’re covering in today’s blog post!

Turn off the feature via Group Policy / Registry

The easiest way I would recommend deactivating the features for all users is via Group Policy. As there is currently no official option to turn this feature off, you can achieve this by using a registry key.

Navigate to the Group Policy Management console on your Active Directory server and create a new Registry Key for your Session Hosts:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Feeds

Create a new entry:

Type: DWORD
Name: ShellFeedsTaskbarViewMode
Value: 2 

IMPORTANT! Value “2” deactivates the feature in the next couple of minutes from the virtual machine. If the value is set to “0”, the feature remains enabled!

That’s it! With that trick you can deactivate the widget easily.

Nevertheless I would be interested to know your opinion about the feature! Do you any sense in keeping it enabled on multi-session VMs? Let me know!

Cheers,
Patrick

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