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From a technical standpoint, there's no inherent reason why the preinstalled Teams symbol should have a special status. The same applies to widgets, which also require their own unique management.
Administrators are confronted with this peculiarity when distributing a preconfigured taskbar to computers in the network through group policies. These icons remain unaffected and need to be administered in a different way, which is made even more complicated than necessary by some quirks.
Remove the Teams Chat icon
You can remove the Teams Chat icon through the Settings app. The relevant option can be found under Personalization > Taskbar.
Outdated Group Policy
If you wish to remove the icon through Group Policy, there is a setting available under Computer Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Chat. It is called Configures the Chat icon on the taskbar.
The issue with this setting is that it no longer applies to Windows 11, and Microsoft has not provided an alternative policy.
GPP as an alternative
So, for the central management of the taskbar, you'll need to find a way to set the respective registry keys directly. Group Policy Preferences are a suitable option.
To do so, you can create a new registry item under User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry and enter the following information:
- Hive: HKEY_CURRENT_USER
- Key path: Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
- Name: TaskbarMn
- Value type: REG_DWORD
- Value data: 0
Configure the Search field
Microsoft provides several display options for the Search field in the taskbar, including the ability to completely hide it. A corresponding setting is available through the GUI on the same page where you hide the Chat icon.
For this purpose, there is also the Group Policy Configures search on the taskbar.
When enabled, this policy offers the same four options as the Settings app:
- Search icon only
- Search icon and label
- Search box
If you've copied the administrative templates for Windows 11 22H2 from the official ADMX download into a central store, you won't find this setting. That's because it was introduced later with an update, but Microsoft has not yet updated the ADMX bundle.
In this case, you will need to copy the latest version of search.admx and its associated language files from a workstation into the Central Store to access this setting.
Unlike other preinstalled icons on the taskbar, the Chat icon and the Search field require specific administration. They cannot be modified directly; they can only be managed through the Settings app.
While there is a Group Policy for central management of the Chat icon, it no longer has any effect under Windows 11. Therefore, you need to set the relevant registry key directly to control it.
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The Search field can be customized via Group Policy, but this policy is not included in the ADMX download for Windows 11 22H2. To manage it, you will need an up-to-date version of the search.admx and search.adml files from a workstation.