Microsoft, in one of its recent updates to Windows 10, has changed the default behavior of the operating system, albeit in a minor way. New personal computers running Windows 10 will arrive with the News and Interests feature on by default. Personally, with my previous PCs, I did not pay much attention to this feature, but that changed with my most recent laptop purchase.
SEE: Checklist: Securing Windows 10 systems (TechRepublic Premium)
News and Interests is much as you would expect—a display of headlines from various sources highlighting the news of the day. It is in the system tray (lower right-hand corner) of the standard Windows 10 taskbar. The default icon represents current weather conditions in your local area. When you hover over or click it (depending on current settings), you will get a fly-out window of headlines, as shown in Figure A.
However, as you can see, some of the default choices for “important” headlines are suspect at best and sensational at worst. So, of course, my first instinct was to turn the feature off, but on second thought, perhaps we can make it more useful with some configuration changes.
How to turn off or modify News and Interests in the Windows 10 taskbar
The settings for News and Interests in Windows 10 are in taskbar settings. Right-click or alt-click on a blank spot on the taskbar and select “News and Interests” from the context menu. As you can see in Figure B, you are given several choices, including turning the feature off.
But if you would like to change the news the feature deems “important” to something that actually represents your personal interests, we will have to dig deeper. Hover over or click the weather icon on the taskbar and then click the extended menu button (…) in the upper right corner, as shown in Figure C.
From that menu, click the item that says, “Manage interests.” It will take you to a webpage (Figure D) where you can adjust the default feeds of news and interests to meet your personal tastes. Note that the feed is supplied by MSN and its various affiliates. As far as I know, that cannot be changed.
As you scroll down the page, you can see that there are dozens of potential choices to make, including news from local areas, specific sports, specific entertainment platforms, etc. If you have an interest, it likely has a category on this page. Changing the settings to match your personal interests should cut down on the suspect and sensational headlines produced by the default settings.
At the foot of the page there is a section showing followed and hidden publishers. Click the “Tune your feed” link in the left-hand navigation bar to run through lists of publishers, marking their feeds as either follow or hidden. This will further fine-tune your news feed to match your personal interests.
While making my own personal choices in the News and Interests feature of Windows 10 did help home in on my interests, there were still many headlines down the feed that just did not interest me at all. So, while these tweaks helped, the newsfeed for this feature is far from perfect. I am still on the fence whether the News and Interest feature is worth the trouble. What do you think?