Windows 11 users rejoice – the case of the disappearing taskbar has been solved

Earlier this month, some Windows 11 users noticed that their taskbar was behaving strangely and disappearing following a recent update – and it looks like Microsoft has now released a fix for the annoying bug.

A new preview build has been released in the Beta Channel of the Windows Insider Program this week that looks like it’s bringing fixes for multiple reported issues, including the taskbar problem, which saw it appearing as a blank space for some users, before slowly reloading. 

The Windows Insider Program is a Microsoft-run community for professionals and Windows enthusiasts who would like the most up-to-date information about new developments, and the ability to try new features and versions of Windows in order to provide feedback ahead of their release to the wider user base. 

BetaNews also writes of another taskbar-related error that’s apparently been plaguing users for weeks: whenever they would load Windows 11, it would take several seconds for the taskbar to appear. 

These sorts of task-bar related issues are annoying for a number of reasons, the biggest of which is that it becomes a lot harder to start and run applications, and limits the user’s ability to actually engage with the OS, since the Windows 11 taskbar is such an essential part of the operating system’s user interface. 

A woman sitting at a computer and smiling

(Image credit: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock)

The nature of the Beta Channel update

The newly-created fix is only available in the Beta, Dev, and Canary Channels of the Windows Insider Program for now. This means that Microsoft is still testing and collecting feedback about the build, and it will probably take a couple of weeks before it makes its way to the Stable Channel (through which most users get updates that are in their final iteration and deemed ready for release by Microsoft). BetaNews speculates that this release could fall on March’s Patch Day which is March 12, 2024.

At the moment, the build that’s currently available in the Beta Channel doesn't introduce any major new features, and the focus of this update is specifically the fixes for the reported issues above. Other updates in the preview build, according to an official Windows Insider Blog post, include a new badge for Widget notifications to notify users when there are unread Widget notifications, and higher quality Widget icon images that should appear sharper. 

While Windows 11’s taskbar problems did take a little while to be addressed by Microsoft, and seems the vocal backlash finally got the company to spring into action, it’s good that the problems seemed to have been finally fixed. If you absolutely cannot stand the faulty taskbar behavior, you can join the Windows Insider Program (which is free), and then join the Beta Channel.


TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

You might be waiting a while yet for Wi-Fi 7 support in Windows 11 – but Microsoft is on the case

Windows 11 is now adding support for Wi-Fi 7, those who want to use the much-improved wireless standard will doubtless be pleased to learn – but it’s only in testing currently.

That’s despite the fact that there are already Wi-Fi 7 routers out there, and the standard has been officially finalized by the Wi-Fi Alliance (the Wi-Fi Certified 7 program was announced at the start of January 2024, in fact).

As you might guess, it’ll be some time before official Wi-Fi 7 support comes through to the release version of Windows 11, as it’ll need to progress through testing channels first.

Right now, it’s only in the Canary (earliest) test channel with build 26063, a preview release that flew under our radar somewhat, but an important one in this respect. However, it’s also been added for Dev channel testers, Microsoft informed us in the usual blog post on build 26063 (as flagged up by XDA Developers).

WiFi 7 in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

As the software giant also pointed out, Wi-Fi 7 (aka 802.11be) is in the order of 4x faster than Wi-Fi 6 and more like 6x quicker than Wi-Fi 5.

If you want to know more about how this new wireless standard takes some big strides forward – and it isn’t just about raw speed, though that is, of course, very important – check out our guide to the ins-and-outs of Wi-Fi 7.

Analysis: Wireless party

In fairness to Microsoft, while it appears to be pretty late to the wireless party, and Wi-Fi 7 may have officially kicked off (at least in some countries, the US, Australia, and UK included), it's still early days for the standard.

The standard may be effectively set in stone now, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be tweaks going forward. There will inevitably be firmware updates for existing Wi-Fi 7 routers to fix or modify things going forward as needed, although all the big cogs in terms of features are now in place.

Windows 11 is one of the final pieces of the puzzle to be added for Wi-Fi 7 support, then, for laptops which sport Wi-Fi 7. And of course as mentioned, you’ll need a Wi-Fi 7 router to benefit from faster wireless speeds. (Those devices are expensive right now, too, it should be noted – though that’s generally true of any cutting-edge tech).

With Wi-Fi 7 we’re getting performance which makes wireless online gaming a reality in terms of it being close to wired (Ethernet) performance, and certainly much better than other fudges for PCs that aren’t plugged directly into the router (such as powerline adapters, which can be notoriously flaky in some scenarios).

What about Windows 10 support for Wi-Fi 7? We’re still not sure on that score, although the last we heard was that it is inbound – but there’s no sign of that yet.

You might also like…

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Latest Microsoft Edge update comes with new features – and a strange case of missing sidebar settings

Microsoft released a new update for its web browser, Edge 119, through its Stable Channel (one of Microsoft’s release channels for new versions of Edge) on November 3. 

This update introduced many new features, including SplitScreen and an improved Sidebar app. Microsoft has also snuck in an interesting quirk into the settings of the sidebar: the toggle for turning Edge's sidebar on and off has seemingly disappeared. This has caused alarm for some users as some think this means that you can’t disable (or enable it) in some cases.

Before this update, there was an “Always Show Sidebar” setting that allowed you to enable or disable the sidebar in Edge which would be found by entering edge://settings/sidebar into Edge’s address bar. Version Edge 119 moves this toggle to Copilot’s settings. Windows Copilot is Microsoft’s new AI-fuelled assistant that the company is positioning to function all throughout Windows and many Microsoft products, including Edge. 

There does appear to still be a way to be able to turn the sidebar on and off by turning on the Show Copilot option. You can keep the sidebar on and choose to turn off Copilot, which should remove the Copilot icon, but doing that will hide the “Auto-hide Sidebar” option. You will not be able to toggle the sidebar as that specific setting will no longer be accessible. 

Microsoft put out the following description about this sidebar toggle change, according to NeoWin

“Always show sidebar: 

This setting is not available when Copilot in Edge is off”

This could be confusing to some users, especially if they don’t want to use Copilot at the moment. You can still disable Copilot, but it seems like it disables even the ability to enable and disable the sidebar, which many users (including those who aren’t sold on Copilot yet) like using. NeoWin goes as far as to posit that moving this setting to the Copilot settings feels like Microsoft is trying to push users towards using it to grow engagement. 

Regardless of where you stand on Copilot, there is still a way to turn the sidebar on or off (although, a roundabout one at that). To do this, go to:

Settings > Sidebar > Copilot > Always Show Sidebar


TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More