Windows Wednesdays – Quick Settings

By now, you may have noticed that Windows 11 has a new menu that appears when you click the Network, Volume or Power glyph in the Taskbar’s Notification Area:

(I added the red outline for clarity. When you hover your mouse pointer over any of those three glyphs, the section of taskbar indicated by the outline will appear to light up slightly.) The menu that appears is called the Quick Settings menu:

This is actually a bit annoying if your goal is simply to connect to a wireless network, because it adds a step. In Windows 10, you could simply click on the network glyph, which would pop up a list of available wireless networks, choose a network from that list and enter the password for it. In Windows 11, this menu first appears. Next, you have to click on the “>” button next to the Network glyph (which now looks the same as the wireless network icon in Mac OS and on most smartphones if you’re connected to a wireless network, looks like a monitor with a little antenna sticking up next to it if you’re connected to a wired network, or looks like a wire representation of a globe if you’re not connected to a network). For me, at least, this is not intuitive, and when connecting to a new wireless network, I often find myself staring at the Quick Settings Menu, as I try to remember what I’m supposed to do next. In any case, once you click on the “>” button, you can finally click on the desired wireless network and enter the password for it.

The other icons that appear on my Quick Settings menu, shown above, are the default icons, as I haven’t changed them. They are: Bluetooth (“C1L” happens to be the name of my Bluetooth earbuds, which I am using right now as I type this), VPN, Airplane Mode, Focus Assist, Night Light, (screen) Brightness, Audio Volume, Power settings (the battery), Quick Settings Menu Settings (the pencil) and Windows Settings (the gear). But the nice thing about the Quick Settings menu is that you can change what appears on the Quick Menu. A little bit. So, I’ll go ahead and click the pencil glyph so you can see whyI haven’t changed my Quick Settings menu.

The buttons shown in the upper part of the Quick Settings Menu can now be removed, by clicking on the crossed-out pushpin in each button’s upper right corner, and even rearranged, just as you can rearrange pinned icons on the Start Menu. But rearranging these buttons is of limited value, because there just aren’t that many of them, and rearranging them here has no impact beyond how they appear on the Quick Settings Menu. The ability to rearrange the buttons would be of more value if you could add more buttons. Well, in fact, you can add more buttons; just click the + Add button at the bottom:

This is the list of additional buttons you can add to the Quick Settings Menu. As you can see, it’s not a long list, and the reason I haven’t added any buttons to my Quick Settings Menu is because I have no use for any of them. But each of them is potentially useful to somebody. If you have a use for any, then add away, and click the Done button when you’re finished.

Adding more buttons to the Quick Settings Menu will not change the glyphs that appear in the Notification Area in any way. But adding them will make the corresponding functions more convenient for you to get to — if you can remember to click on the Network, Volume or Power glyph in the Notification Area to get to them!

Next week, we’ll begin exploring the Quick Settings Menu buttons.

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