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What’s This New “People” Icon in My Taskbar?

One of the easiest ways to determine if your Windows 10 machine has been updated to the “Fall Creators Update” is the appearance of a new icon to the immediate left of the notification area of the Windows taskbar. Hover your mouse pointer over it, and you’ll see it’s labeled “People”.

People Icon

It’s a new feature in Windows 10. My sense is it’s somewhat half-baked, and ultimately more annoying than useful.

But perhaps that’s just me.

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The concept

The idea is this: you can pin an icon for a contact to your taskbar. Presumably, you’d do this for a contact with whom you interact frequently. As we’ll see below, it makes contacting them somewhat easier.

Note that this only applies to contacts in supported apps. Right now, that appears to include the contacts in your Microsoft account — typically those that appear in the Windows 10 Mail application (when configured for your Microsoft account) and Skype. Contacts you have in other accounts or other programs are not included.1

Click on the People icon in your taskbar and you’ll be shown a list of suggested contacts you might be interested in pinning to the taskbar.

Pinned People Suggestions

Click on one of those contacts and two things will happen:

  • You’ll be shown information about the contact.
  • The contact will be added as an icon on your taskbar.

Pinned contact display

Now, whenever you click on that icon in the taskbar, this contact information window will pop up.

Using a pinned contact

The items in that information window are somewhat useful.

  • Clicking on the phone currently seems to do nothing.
  • Clicking on the email address launches your default email program with a new message to this contact opened.
  • Clicking on contact details displays more information about the contact, with controls to pin or unpin the contact from the Start menu or taskbar, edit the contact information, and more.

The most interesting view, however, is when you click on what looks like a back-arrow at the top of the window.

People Backarrow

This displays a tiled set of apps with which this contact is linked. Typically, that includes the People app, the Mail app, and Skype.

Pinned contact tiles

These tiles appear to be more useful.

  • People: returns to the contact information page.
  • Mail: opens the mail app within the pop-up window. It’s not clear, but at the bottom is a “+” you can click on to compose a new message to that contact. (I’m not sure why this doesn’t happen automatically.)
  • Skype: opens Skype within the pop-up window, with the various contact options available for that specific contact.

There’s probably more, but I have to say the interface feels confusing, and as I said above, half-baked. Repeated calls to “combine duplicate contacts” that have already been combined (information for the same contact across multiple applications is linked or merged) is just one example.

In my opinion, it’s not ready for prime-time, so I’m ready to have it go away.

Turning off the people icon

Right-click on an empty area of the taskbar. In the resulting pop-up menu, make sure that “Show People button” is unchecked.

Show People button

That’s really all that’s necessary.

If you like, you’ll find some additional settings in the Settings app. Click the Start menu and search for “Taskbar settings”. Scroll to the bottom of the resulting app page, and you’ll find the setting to control the People button’s presence, as well as a couple of notification options.

Taskbar Settings for People

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Footnotes & references

1: You could export from the other program or account, and then import into your Microsoft account, but you’d still be maintaining two separate sets of contacts.

4 comments on “What’s This New “People” Icon in My Taskbar?”

  1. The latest iteration of windows 10 hasn’t gotten to my computer yet so I can’t tell for sure what this is. Could it be related to the people app that first appeared in windows 8 and is only available if you sign into your computer with a Microsoft account? (I understand there are also other apps that are only available from a Microsoft account although I don’t know what these other apps are off hand). Anyway, I always sign in with a Microsoft account and have been using the People app since it first appeared on my computer. Most of the entries are my wife’s since she has many more contacts. You can store anything there including your Christmas Card list, your friends, relatives, coworkers, businesses you work with, geneology, anything. The entries appear in my hotmail account. I’ve eliminated the contacts from my other mail accounts and use the people app exclusively. Anyway what I wanted to convey is that it is very useful at least to me. If you sign in with a local account then you might be missing something useful. You could probably do the same thing by pinning the People app to the task bar, but Microsoft has already done it for you.

  2. i’m sorry, but this is just more useless bloat from MickeySoft. They appear to be using the ” build it, and they will come ” style of adding ” features “. I like Windows 10, but come on, quit adding childish ” features “.

  3. I don’t want anything to do with this new taskbar i’m seventy years old and don’t need any of this bloody nonsense.

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