Say Goodbye to the Chat Feature in Windows 11 Taskbar

Microsoft has made a significant move into the enterprise chat/communication market with its Teams software, which has gained a whopping 250 million monthly active users. Now, Microsoft aims to replicate this success in the consumer space by integrating the Teams-powered Chat function into the Windows 11 Taskbar. In this article, we'll explore what the Chat feature in Windows 11 is all about and how you can disable it if you find it unnecessary.

Microsoft previously introduced the Skype-inspired People add-in on the taskbar as a social integration feature. However, it failed to gain traction among consumers, and most users ended up removing it. With Chat, Microsoft is making another attempt to win back the personal messaging market, leveraging the massive user base of Windows 10, which stands at 1.3 billion installations. This time, Microsoft seems to have learned from its mistakes and has implemented a better onboarding experience. Let's dive into what you can expect from Chat in Windows 11.

What is Chat in Windows 11?

After updating your computer to Windows 11, you'll immediately notice the Chat feature along with the new taskbar design. So, what exactly is Chat, how does the signup experience work, and how is it different from the traditional Teams app? Let's explore everything in detail.

Chat is an Instant Messaging add-on in Windows 11 powered by Microsoft Teams. The Chat icon is conveniently placed next to the Windows 11 widgets on the Taskbar. Let's set it up.

Set up Chat in Windows 11

To set up the Chat function in Windows 11, follow these steps:

  1. After successfully updating to Windows 11, click on the Chat icon on the Taskbar.
  2. You'll immediately notice that it's powered by Microsoft Teams software. Click on “Get Started”.
  3. Choose your Microsoft account or use another account to sign in for the service.
  4. Microsoft will then ask you to confirm your name, phone number, email, and whether you want to sync your Skype or Outlook contacts. Make any necessary changes and click on “Let's go”.
  5. Unfortunately, you can't sync Gmail contacts.
  6. Microsoft will pull up your individual contacts from the Teams app, which will be displayed in the Chat menu. You'll see your synced contacts as well as recent chats from the Teams app.

The Chat function is feature-rich, allowing you to use emojis, add gifs using Giphy integration, create polls, and more.

How is Chat Different from Microsoft Teams App?

It's important to note that Chat is quite different from the traditional, full-fledged Microsoft Teams app. In the Chat group, you won't see any channels or Teams. If you have business needs, it's better to use the Microsoft Teams app. Chat, on the other hand, is strictly aimed at consumers for personal and group chats.

While Chat is powered by Microsoft Teams and carries a similar user interface, it's by no means a replacement for your current Teams setup. Your conversations from the Chat app won't appear in Microsoft Teams either. This may cause confusion among users since both Chat and Microsoft Teams have the same logo but serve different purposes.

How to Disable Chat from the Windows 11 Taskbar

If you already use WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, or Signal as your preferred way of communication among friends and family, you may find the Chat feature irrelevant and accidentally press it while interacting with the Windows 11 Taskbar. Although you can't completely disable the Chat function in Windows 11, you can remove the shortcut from the taskbar. Here's how:

  1. Open the Settings app on your computer (Use Windows + I keys).
  2. Go to “Personalisation” > “Taskbar”.
  3. Disable the Chat toggle in the menu.

That's it! You won't see the Chat icon on the Windows 11 taskbar anymore.

In conclusion, Microsoft is clearly shifting its focus away from Skype. After replacing Skype Business with Microsoft Teams, the company now aims to do the same for the consumer version of Skype. Currently, Microsoft is maintaining both Microsoft Teams and Chat with the same icon. It will be interesting to see how the company differentiates both products with the official launch of Windows 11.