Even before the release of the operating system Windows 11, it became known that its hardware requirements are significantly higher than those of Windows 10. For example, it needs at least 4 GB of RAM. And so the question inevitably arose – what to do those who have at their disposal an old PC or laptop with a small amount of RAM. Well, it turned out to be quite possible. And in today’s guide, we’re going to talk about how you can disable some of the new features that came with Windows 11 to reduce its appetite for RAM.  

What’s new in Windows 11

You’re probably aware that the built-in Microsoft Teams chat plays a prominent role in the system. The application has integrated into the taskbar and allows users to communicate by text, voice or video. Also in the new system there is the so-called “Widget Board”, which is also anchored in the taskbar. It allows you to display widgets, view news, and manage other functions. And, of course, the work of these features is reflected in the consumption of RAM.  

How to disable Teams

According to former Microsoft employee Michael Niehaus, it is possible to disable these features to improve system performance. To manually disable Teams autorun in Windows, do the following:
  • Launch the Teams app.
  • Go to “Settings” -> “General” -> “Applications”
  • Deactivate the “Automatically launch applications” option
  • Restart the messenger.
It is important that deactivation via the “Autorun” tab of the “Task Manager” does not deactivate autorun. The next time you start the program, it will restart automatically. You can also disable autorun through the registry.
  • Go to the registry branch – HKEY_Current_User\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run.
  • Delete there the com.squirrel.Teams.Teams parameter.
  • Reboot the system.
  • If you want everything back the way it was, Microsoft suggests using the ready-made PowerShell script.
Finally, you can remove the Chat icon. This is done like this:
  • Open the Start menu, then go to Settings.
  • Open the “Personalization” section and select the “Taskbar” category.
  • In the list of panel items find “Chat” and disable its icon
  • After that, the application will no longer loom in front of your eyes.

How to disable widgets

The second number on the list to disable will be the widget function. The thing is that this system uses WebView 2 processes, which quite heavily load the system. And if the icon of the program to run widgets hangs on the taskbar, these processes run and work in the background. So, let’s talk about how to disable widgets and free up some RAM. To disable mini-apps or widgets on Windows 11, you have to use the Settings menu. The algorithm is as follows:
  • Go to the Preferences menu by left-clicking on the empty space on the taskbar and going to “Taskbar Preferences.” This mode is also available through the Win + I hotkey, then go to the section “Personalization – Taskbar”.
  • Here, look for the “Mini-Apps” button and disable it
  • After that, the widget button with news and other goodies will disappear from the taskbar.
Similarly, this is implemented through the registry. Do it as follows:
  • Open the registry editor – hotkey Win + R and enter the command “regedit” (without quotes) or search through the system search in the “Start” menu.
  • Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
  • Looking for a DWORD parameter named “TaskbarDa” (without quotes). If it does not exist, create it.
  • After creating it, we open it and set its value to “0” to disable the widget button or “1” to enable it.
  •  The change happens immediately, but if it does not work, restart the computer.
Finally, you can use the “Local Policy Group Editor”. This only works on the Windows 11 Pro version.
  • Open “Run” (Win + R) or the Start menu and run the command “gpedit.msc”.
  • In the “Local Group Policy Editor”, open “Local Computer Policy – Computer Configuration – Windows Components – Widgets”, then look there for the “Allow Widgets” parameter.
  • In it, select the “Disabled” option and save the settings
After this button with the news and widgets should disappear from the taskbar of Windows 11. Usually you do not need to reboot. This way you can slightly reduce the greediness of the system to RAM. Of course, you can not free up much, but even a gigabyte or two may be useful.