Microsoft may restore these popular Taskbar features in Windows 11

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 20, 2023
Windows 11 News

When Microsoft launched Windows 11, at least some users who upgraded to the new operating system were disappointed by the taskbar of the operating system.

The problem was not that Microsoft changed the default alignment to center from left, but that taskbar features of previous versions of Windows were not supported anymore.

Among the complaints were that the taskbar could not be moved to the top or sides anymore, that other customization options were missing, and that Microsoft removed support for taskbar labels and icon behavior.

Taskbar item labels display the name of applications on the taskbar. Windows 11 displays only icons at the moment and users may need to hover over icons to find out more about the program they represent.

Item grouping is also the default right now on Windows 11. When a Windows 11 user opens multiple instances of a program, e.g., several browser windows, then all of the open windows are grouped together under a single icon on the taskbar.

Previous versions of Windows supported ungrouping taskbar icons, so that each program instance was displayed separately on it, and the option to display taskbar labels for all of the open programs.

At least these two missing features could be reintroduced in Windows 11 soon. The latest Windows 11 Developer builds include these two options. While Microsoft has been working on these for some time, the latest version seems to be almost ready for launch in stable versions of the Windows 11 operating system.

taskbar labels windows 11

The news comes from Albacore on Twitter, who analyzed the behavior and took it for a test drive. They published a short video on Twitter to demonstrate the functionality.

The screenshot above shows taskbar labels on Windows 11's taskbar. Taskbar labels remain, even when making changes to the taskbar settings. Center or left aligned items work already and it seems that little work is left before the feature could launch in Windows 11.

Closing Words

Microsoft removed customization options in Windows 11 and the restoration of some of these features is a welcome change. While most Windows 11 users may stick with the defaults, some may prefer labels or ungrouped icons on their taskbar, and it looks as if they can customize Windows 11 soon to make that a reality.

Now You: do you prefer taskbar labels or icons, groups or ungrouped?

Microsoft may restore these popular Taskbar features in Windows 11
Article Name
Microsoft may restore these popular Taskbar features in Windows 11
Microsoft is working on reintroducing two taskbar features that it removed when it launches the Windows 11 operating system.
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  1. DontFixWatsNotBroken said on April 22, 2023 at 1:06 pm

    Bring back Balloon Notifications & do away with that horridly annoying Tile!

    Or just do not fix what isn’t broken!

  2. Who Ate Gilbert's Grapes? said on April 21, 2023 at 8:35 am

    /laughs in Linux

    With Windows, what you see is what you get. Sure, you may have some tweak tools but the [modern Windows] desktop is the desktop. You can’t just switch to something extra light like OpenBox or FluxBox for example.

    With Linux, you have so many options with Desktop Environments and Window Managers.

    1. Petescape said on April 26, 2023 at 10:22 pm

      Big fat ugly taskbar thin

      After the registry key with TaskbarSi no longer worked, I disabled id:26008830
      using ViveTool Gui . (Win.11 build 22621).

      My clock is ElevenClock in 3 small lines:


    2. basingstoke said on April 24, 2023 at 1:11 pm

      Aww, Linux users yapping about Windows :)

      I agree that modern Windows is garbage (I use 7, which, despite being windows, is infinitely more customisable than newer iterations), however even newer Windows OS runs circles around Linux when it comes to ease of use – Linux is still too obscure to be a worthy contender. Try searching an error message for Windows and you’ll get pages upon pages, and at least half a dozen fixes – the amount of time I got an error in Linux and researching it turned up nothing of value… what’s the point?

      We expect any OS to be imperfect, but you can “fix” just about anything on Windows, because due to huge user base, all paths are “well trodden”, hard to say that about Linux.

  3. Fred said on April 21, 2023 at 7:43 am

    The option to reduce the height for the taskbar is my priority. It is too thick and ugly, and takes up too much vertical space.

    There used to be registry and GPEdit settings to reduce the height. The GPEdit setting is still there, but it has no effect.

    Could Microsoft please restore this option.

  4. Some Dude said on April 21, 2023 at 2:08 am

    Neither of them has programmed since the 90s. In Gates’ case, probable since the 80s.

  5. Leonardo said on April 20, 2023 at 11:18 pm

    Edge, Cortana and Defender are worse than garbage, filth created in the sewers of Redmond by the rats Satya and Gates.

  6. Joe Hardy said on April 20, 2023 at 10:32 pm

    I would agree. If Big Tech is going to cut thousands of people pick the people that keep coming up with stupid changes to the UI. These changes just anger people who have spent years learning how to use their machines, either at home or at the office, and then – ZAP! – nothing works like it used to.
    Taskbars / context menus / advertisements / updates that make printers stop working / telemetry that keeps tracking us / updates that wipe out file associations and on and on. Why change PRT SCN to open an app? Just snapeshot it and be done. What focus group thought that would be a good idea? And what development group didn’t have enough to do and implemented it?

    1. JC said on April 21, 2023 at 5:28 pm

      Here! Here!

    2. Seeprime said on April 21, 2023 at 12:40 am

      Well stated, Joe Hardy.

  7. Anonymous said on April 20, 2023 at 9:33 pm

    Change is horrible. I’m still waiting for the Windows 3.0 look to come back.

    1. John G. said on April 21, 2023 at 7:24 am

      If a computer is needed for working purposes, W11’s taskbar is the worst possible.
      If needed for porn, you only need one hand. So in that case, W11’s taskbar is enough.

  8. SomethingHappened said on April 20, 2023 at 6:12 pm

    How come it takes almost two years? Do you think it will take another two years for small taskbar? The old taskbar was all that was required. The new one doesn’t add anything new. Please fire the person who thought it was a good idea to merge failed 10X OS into Windows 10.

  9. John G. said on April 20, 2023 at 5:51 pm

    I don’t believe Microsoft at all, because it cut features to return those same features to the users drop by drop, like giving alms to the poor people in an act of fake mercy. They can’t simply assume that the W11’s taskbar is the worst and biggest fiasco ever done by a development team. Believe me, pride will lead them to the ruin and oblivion. Thanks for the article!

  10. assurbani said on April 20, 2023 at 5:20 pm

    better late than never.
    does microsoft acknowledge the defeat or will it introduce it as a new innovation?

  11. Phil said on April 20, 2023 at 4:38 pm

    im going back to Windows 11 but not 22H2

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