Windows 11 adds much requested taskbar feature

Microsoft makes it easy for you to mute your microphone when you don’t want to be heard on Microsoft Teams calls. Rollout in the latest Windows 11 Dev Channel build is a new mute icon in the taskbar for when communication apps like Microsoft Teams are in use.

The first iteration of this icon works as you’d expect, although it’s currently only for select Windows 11 beta testers. Instead of having to manually search for the mute button in Teams, you can click the Microphone icon in the Windows 11 taskbar and choose the Stupid option. You can also use the icon to see the audio status of your call and which app has access to your microphone. The icon is present throughout your conversation, no matter how many windows you have open or what’s on your screen.

Windows 11's new mute icon in the taskbar.

“No more awkward or embarrassing moments when you forget to turn your microphone on or off. You can now communicate and collaborate with confidence and ease with the new conversation mute feature on Windows 11,” wrote Amanda Langowski and Brandon LeBlanc, heads of the Windows Insider program.

This initial mute button only works with the desktop version of Microsoft Teams with school or work accounts, and not all Windows 11 Dev Channel insiders may see it. Microsoft plans to ramp up the rollout of the icon over time and will soon include support for Windows 11’s chat app. Other communication apps like Slack, Zoom or Google Meet can take advantage of the feature and add the capability as well, though it seems up to those app developers to enable it.

Once beta testing is complete, Microsoft plans to roll out the mute icon to the regular version of Windows 11. It says it will be in a future maintenance update. If everyone has it, this would be the latest time-saving feature to be added to Windows 11. Other features include Snap Layouts, the Widgets app, and the centered Start Menu with links to the most recent files and apps.

The Windows Insider build, which brings this new microphone mute icon, also fixes several other issues in Windows 11, ranging from the file explorer and taskbar to search. If you really want to experience this for yourself, you can sign up your Windows 11 PC to the Windows Insider Program Dev Channel to get it. But, as Microsoft said, not every Windows Insider will see this. And keep in mind that Windows 11 Dev Channel builds are known to be unstable.

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