The Windows Game Bar has been a part of Windows 10 now for a few feature update cycles.

It was developed to give gamers quick access to multiple capabilities during their gaming and/or streaming sessions on a Windows 10 PC.

It has slowly developed over these last few iterations to become a valuable tool for quick access in the midst of a gaming session. The Windows 10 Game Bar in conjunction with Game Mode brings a new focus to PC gaming that had been lapsed for some time in Redmond.

Well recently, the Windows Game Bar, invoked by pressing the Windows Key + G, had a huge tweak that has turned it into an overlay. That overlay reminds me a lot of the desktop gadgets we used to have on previous versions of Windows. This new preview of the overlay, currently available to Windows Insiders, has the potential to become a Windows Gadget Control Center that not only benefits gamers but enthusiasts who love to keep a close eye on their system vitals and other functionality. 

Windows Game Bar Overlay Full Screen
Windows 10 Game Bar Gadget Overlay IClick image for full-size view)

As you can see above in that screenshot, there are quite a few applets already available with this new overlay version of the Game Bar.

  • Captures
  • Audio
  • Performance (CPU, GPU, RAM)
  • Xbox Social (Beta)
  • Xbox Chats (Beta)
  • Spotify

It is one thing to have these applets, aka gadgets, available in the overlay mode but what if you want to keep a closer eye on something while not only gaming but just working at your computer?

Well, by complete accident earlier today, I discovered you can pin each applet so that it remains visible on the desktop when you exit the overlay. It remains on top of other windows you open and uses your dark or light mode OS choice to make the overlay match your OS.

Windows Game Bar Performance Applet Pinned to Desktop
Windows Game Bar Performance Applet Pinned to Desktop

The gadgets from the Game Bar remain pinned in the same spot where you pinned them in the overlay. So adjust its position in overlay mode before pinning it in place. This will help you make sure it is in the right place for your purposes. Once pinned, you can click the carrot arrow on the right side of the window to collapse down to just the title bar with the three key data points remaining visible.

This can be done with all of the items in the overlay and could make for a very crowded screen so be sparing about how many you lay across your desktop. 

If you used desktop gadgets in previous versions of Windows, these will be very familiar. I wonder if that might be where this is headed? I have longed wanted to be able to have some of this type of information and other bits visible from the desktop. Kind of like having a Live Tile on constant display rather than hidden behind the Start button.

It will be interesting to see where this goes as they continue to try it out with Windows Insiders. Currently, it integrates with Mixer, Spotify, and Twitter for broadcasting, listening to your music, and sharing captures on social media.

Check out the screenshot gallery of the various settings pages for the overlay.

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