Early users of Windows 11 have a lot of complaints about the taskbar: It’s rigid and artificially constrained compared to the tool in the last version of the operating system. Microsoft has heard your concerns, and is adding… a microphone mute button. Huh.
The new option is designed with web conferencing in mind, giving users a dedicated software button that stays in the same place no matter which of the myriad video meeting systems you’re using. Microsoft would prefer you to use Teams Chat, of course — so strongly that the first-party option is pinned to the Windows 11 taskbar by default — but the idea is that this will become a universal button. Of course, dedicated mic controls within apps and physical buttons on microphones and keyboards (like the Logitech MX Keys) will continue to work as designed.
The button will appear in Windows 11 Build 22394, and it will automatically show up when you’re in a Teams meeting. Eventually this functionality should expand to other video chat clients. Windows Insider users will be able to test it out before the feature expands to Windows users in general. Other changes in this preview version of Windows are mostly under the hood, addressing small bugs and unintended behaviors, but users will also be able to sort the apps list from smallest to largest.
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Michael is a former graphic designer who's been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.