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