Microsoft admits it won’t be fixing Windows 11’s taskbar for a while

When it launched, Windows 11 came with some major changes – and it looks like one of the most unpopular tweaks is here to stay, with Microsoft admitting that adding missing features to the taskbar simply isn’t a priority.

As Windows Latest reports, Microsoft has revealed that some of the biggest requests from users won’t be appearing any time soon.

The taskbar, which usually runs along the bottom of your screen, has been an important part of Windows since Windows 95, and with Windows 11, Microsoft decided to radically redesign it, including rebuilding it from scratch.

This left the Windows 11 taskbar missing some big, useful, features that people have been using for decades. One of the most noticeable features missing in action was the ability to drag and drop files or applications to the taskbar, either to pin them there for easy access, or to open them in an app already pinned to the taskbar.

This seemingly little feature was actually really useful, so many people were upset to find it missing in Windows 11. Microsoft has stated that drag and drop is coming to Windows 11 with the 22H2 major update later this year.

However, in a Windows Insider video, which you can view below, the Windows 11 development team revealed that other features won’t be coming any time soon.

Restricted movement

Another big complaint about Windows 11’s taskbar is the fact that you can’t reposition it. Many people liked to move the taskbar in previous versions of Windows to the side of the screen, or even to the top. With Windows 11, it’s stuck at the bottom, and that’s not going to change for a while, at least.

This is because, according to the Windows 11 development team, the animation flow of the Start menu in Windows 11, can’t handle a different taskbar position just yet. “Think about having the taskbar on the right, all of a sudden the reflow and the work all of the apps or Start menu have to do,” the team admitted.

Because the taskbar has been rebuilt from scratch, Microsoft is prioritizing adding features such as drag and drop, which involves extensive testing from volunteers. Sadly, it seems like the company doesn’t think moving the taskbar is as important.


Analysis: unfinished business

Man upset using a laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

While it’s understandable that Microsoft has more important features to add to Windows 11, the fact that it launched with a taskbar missing so many features is pretty remarkable. Being able to move the taskbar gives people a greater level of freedom when configuring Windows to behave the way they prefer.

So, by not including this feature, there will be a large number of people who are annoyed and frustrated by Windows 11, and it gives the feeling that the operating system launched in an unfinished state, which is something our Windows 11 review pointed out.

It’s no surprise, then, that Windows 11 is struggling to get people to upgrade as fast as Windows 10 had managed.

If Windows 11 had been open source, like Linux, then we’d wager someone would have already added the ability – one of the benefits of being open source. Thankfully, there are also tools such as Start11 from Stardock which adds extra functionality to both the Start menu and taskbar – including the ability to change the taskbar’s position – which Microsoft is seemingly struggling with.

This isn’t the first time teams like Stardock have stepped in to fix unpopular changes to Windows – we saw a plethora of third-party apps that brought the Start menu back to Windows 8 after Microsoft unwisely dropped it.

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Microsoft admits it won’t be fixing Windows 11’s taskbar for a while

When it launched, Windows 11 came with some major changes – and it looks like one of the most unpopular tweaks is here to stay, with Microsoft admitting that adding missing features to the taskbar simply isn’t a priority.

As Windows Latest reports, Microsoft has revealed that some of the biggest requests from users won’t be appearing any time soon.

The taskbar, which usually runs along the bottom of your screen, has been an important part of Windows since Windows 95, and with Windows 11, Microsoft decided to radically redesign it, including rebuilding it from scratch.

This left the Windows 11 taskbar missing some big, useful, features that people have been using for decades. One of the most noticeable features missing in action was the ability to drag and drop files or applications to the taskbar, either to pin them there for easy access, or to open them in an app already pinned to the taskbar.

This seemingly little feature was actually really useful, so many people were upset to find it missing in Windows 11. Microsoft has stated that drag and drop is coming to Windows 11 with the 22H2 major update later this year.

However, in a Windows Insider video, which you can view below, the Windows 11 development team revealed that other features won’t be coming any time soon.

Restricted movement

Another big complaint about Windows 11’s taskbar is the fact that you can’t reposition it. Many people liked to move the taskbar in previous versions of Windows to the side of the screen, or even to the top. With Windows 11, it’s stuck at the bottom, and that’s not going to change for a while, at least.

This is because, according to the Windows 11 development team, the animation flow of the Start menu in Windows 11, can’t handle a different taskbar position just yet. “Think about having the taskbar on the right, all of a sudden the reflow and the work all of the apps or Start menu have to do,” the team admitted.

Because the taskbar has been rebuilt from scratch, Microsoft is prioritizing adding features such as drag and drop, which involves extensive testing from volunteers. Sadly, it seems like the company doesn’t think moving the taskbar is as important.


Analysis: unfinished business

Man upset using a laptop

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

While it’s understandable that Microsoft has more important features to add to Windows 11, the fact that it launched with a taskbar missing so many features is pretty remarkable. Being able to move the taskbar gives people a greater level of freedom when configuring Windows to behave the way they prefer.

So, by not including this feature, there will be a large number of people who are annoyed and frustrated by Windows 11, and it gives the feeling that the operating system launched in an unfinished state, which is something our Windows 11 review pointed out.

It’s no surprise, then, that Windows 11 is struggling to get people to upgrade as fast as Windows 10 had managed.

If Windows 11 had been open source, like Linux, then we’d wager someone would have already added the ability – one of the benefits of being open source. Thankfully, there are also tools such as Start11 from Stardock which adds extra functionality to both the Start menu and taskbar – including the ability to change the taskbar’s position – which Microsoft is seemingly struggling with.

This isn’t the first time teams like Stardock have stepped in to fix unpopular changes to Windows – we saw a plethora of third-party apps that brought the Start menu back to Windows 8 after Microsoft unwisely dropped it.

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Unhappy with the Windows 11 taskbar? The Start11 app offers its help

If you upgraded to Windows 11 and were surprised to see how different the Start menu was, you're not alone. Since its release in October 2021, the latest version of the Taskbar, usually found at the bottom of the desktop screen of every Windows release since Windows 95, has divided its users.

The latest iteration of the taskbar has some confusing design features and updates, including changes to icon pinning. Microsoft acknowledged – and continues to acknowledge – feedback, responding with update releases that in the past, have restored some features. Still, users are expecting faster progress.

This is where Stardock comes in with Start11, its app to improve the start menu. Start11 incorporates additional features to the menu, including visual changes like reverting the look to a Windows 7 start menu, rearranging the layout, and more.

Understanding what an asset Start11 can be for Windows users, TechRadar spoke to Brad Sams, VP & General Manager at Stardock, about how Start11 came to be, and what the company has in store for the program's future.

It's only just begun for Start11

Brad's Start11 config on his PC

(Image credit: Brad Sams)

We first asked Sams what his preferred setup was for his Start11 configuration on his PC. “My preferred setup is with the Start button on the far left next to the weather widget, icons centered and ungrouped, in a dark color,” Sams reveals. “I have attached an image that shows my layout (see above) so you can see it for yourself!”

Why did Stardock decide to create Start11, especially so soon after the launch of Windows 11? “The StartX line of applications (as we refer to them) started with Windows 8 as a way to return the Start menu to that specific version of Windows after Microsoft removed it,” Sams explains. “With Start10, the application allowed users of Windows 10 to reenable a classic Start menu experience with a bit of customization as well.”

“With Windows 11, we wanted to bring back a Windows 7-style Start menu and a modern-style menu that fit the ethos of the OS but was designed for a left-aligned placement,” Sams continues. “As we've worked more on Start11, we've been focusing less on reenabling classic Windows functionality, and more on allowing our customers to completely customize their Windows 11 Start experience. 

Sams told us that because Windows 11 was released with an entirely new Start menu design, the company wanted to add value to it, and was able to do so by allowing the user to tweak the layout. 

“With Start11, you can remove the 'recent documents' section, add folders, change icon sizes, and a whole bunch more,” says Sams. “Our newest update for the app brings ungrouping back to the taskbar, which is ultimately going to accomplish our main goal: making Windows 11 more personal and productive for our users.”

Start11 on Windows 11

(Image credit: Stardock)

We’ve been focusing less on reenabling classic Windows functionality and more on allowing our customers to completely customize their Windows 11 Start experience.

Brad Sams

The Start menu in Windows 11 got a mixed reception when it was first released. We're now approaching a year since Windows 11 was first announced in June 2021, and that reception hasn't changed. We wondered what Sams first thought of the revised Start menu. “I will always applaud Microsoft for trying new designs with Windows; it’s not easy to design software that works for 1+ billion people.”

“It’s clear that the company wanted something fresh and familiar, which is why the included Start menu is centered but also feels a lot like an app launcher from a mobile OS,” continues Sams. “I don’t think that the design is inherently bad, but what it lacks is flexibility. 

Windows 11 is rigid in its layout and doesn’t allow the user to create an experience that matches their workflow,” Sams elaborates. “Instead, it forces you to fit their mold. As an example, while you can left-align your Start menu, it feels out of place because it’s designed for a centered experience. The beauty of Start11 is that if you don’t like certain features (like the search bar being at the top), you can change that.”

We are in the process of evaluating ideas that make sense for our power users, but have nothing to announce currently.

Brad Sams

There was a recent blogpost from Stardock about almost breaking a component in Windows 11 when trying to bring in a new feature. We wanted to know if Sams and the team had experienced any challenges in developing Start11. “When we were building the ungrouping experience that we are shipping with Start 11 v1.2, we had two options: reenable the Windows 10 taskbar experience in Windows 11, or rebuild a new taskbar in-house,” Sams explains.

“The quick and easy way is to simply flip a few registry keys, do a little memory patching, and actually reenable the native Windows 10 taskbar in Windows 11. The problem is that if Microsoft decides to pull any of these assets from the OS, the experience will break, and that’s not a scenario we can support.”

“Many of our corporate customers use our StartX apps because it allows them to keep a static experience across every device despite what Microsoft releases with each OS update,” Sams continues. “To make sure we hold true to this principle, we had to build a new taskbar in-house to be able to support our features for the life of the OS.”

Stardock Start11 on Windows 11

(Image credit: Stardock)

With Start11 constantly being updated, Sams was tight-lipped about what users could expect to see in future updates. “This is where the fun begins. Now that we have an in-house taskbar, the door to add new features to it is wide open,” Sams reveals. “We are in the process of evaluating ideas that make sense for our power users, but have nothing to announce currently.”

Finally, some of us on the team remember using ObjectDock, Stardock's app that would bring the Dock of macOS to Windows. As Start11 enables start menus from previous Windows releases, we wondered if ObjectDock could appear on the app in the future. “ObjectDock is a Stardock classic and was the first app I ever used from the company. In fact, it’s how I got connected to the CEO of Stardock, Brad Wardell, many years ago. That connection eventually led to me joining the company to lead the software team.”

Sams continues: “We have discussed updating the app internally, but currently our objectives are focused on making sure that many of our apps are refreshed for Windows 11. Unlike previous versions of Windows where Microsoft provided a long runway from announcement to release, Windows 11 was announced in June and shipped in October – considering the breadth of the Object Desktop portfolio, we still have a lot of work to do.”

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Unhappy with the Windows 11 taskbar? The Start11 app offers its help

If you upgraded to Windows 11 and were surprised to see how different the Start menu was, you're not alone. Since its release in October 2021, the latest version of the Taskbar, usually found at the bottom of the desktop screen of every Windows release since Windows 95, has divided its users.

The latest iteration of the taskbar has some confusing design features and updates, including changes to icon pinning. Microsoft acknowledged – and continues to acknowledge – feedback, responding with update releases that in the past, have restored some features. Still, users are expecting faster progress.

This is where Stardock comes in with Start11, its app to improve the start menu. Start11 incorporates additional features to the menu, including visual changes like reverting the look to a Windows 7 start menu, rearranging the layout, and more.

Understanding what an asset Start11 can be for Windows users, TechRadar spoke to Brad Sams, VP & General Manager at Stardock, about how Start11 came to be, and what the company has in store for the program's future.

It's only just begun for Start11

Brad's Start11 config on his PC

(Image credit: Brad Sams)

We first asked Sams what his preferred setup was for his Start11 configuration on his PC. “My preferred setup is with the Start button on the far left next to the weather widget, icons centered and ungrouped, in a dark color,” Sams reveals. “I have attached an image that shows my layout (see above) so you can see it for yourself!”

Why did Stardock decide to create Start11, especially so soon after the launch of Windows 11? “The StartX line of applications (as we refer to them) started with Windows 8 as a way to return the Start menu to that specific version of Windows after Microsoft removed it,” Sams explains. “With Start10, the application allowed users of Windows 10 to reenable a classic Start menu experience with a bit of customization as well.”

“With Windows 11, we wanted to bring back a Windows 7-style Start menu and a modern-style menu that fit the ethos of the OS but was designed for a left-aligned placement,” Sams continues. “As we've worked more on Start11, we've been focusing less on reenabling classic Windows functionality, and more on allowing our customers to completely customize their Windows 11 Start experience. 

Sams told us that because Windows 11 was released with an entirely new Start menu design, the company wanted to add value to it, and was able to do so by allowing the user to tweak the layout. 

“With Start11, you can remove the 'recent documents' section, add folders, change icon sizes, and a whole bunch more,” says Sams. “Our newest update for the app brings ungrouping back to the taskbar, which is ultimately going to accomplish our main goal: making Windows 11 more personal and productive for our users.”

Start11 on Windows 11

(Image credit: Stardock)

We’ve been focusing less on reenabling classic Windows functionality and more on allowing our customers to completely customize their Windows 11 Start experience.

Brad Sams

The Start menu in Windows 11 got a mixed reception when it was first released. We're now approaching a year since Windows 11 was first announced in June 2021, and that reception hasn't changed. We wondered what Sams first thought of the revised Start menu. “I will always applaud Microsoft for trying new designs with Windows; it’s not easy to design software that works for 1+ billion people.”

“It’s clear that the company wanted something fresh and familiar, which is why the included Start menu is centered but also feels a lot like an app launcher from a mobile OS,” continues Sams. “I don’t think that the design is inherently bad, but what it lacks is flexibility. 

Windows 11 is rigid in its layout and doesn’t allow the user to create an experience that matches their workflow,” Sams elaborates. “Instead, it forces you to fit their mold. As an example, while you can left-align your Start menu, it feels out of place because it’s designed for a centered experience. The beauty of Start11 is that if you don’t like certain features (like the search bar being at the top), you can change that.”

We are in the process of evaluating ideas that make sense for our power users, but have nothing to announce currently.

Brad Sams

There was a recent blogpost from Stardock about almost breaking a component in Windows 11 when trying to bring in a new feature. We wanted to know if Sams and the team had experienced any challenges in developing Start11. “When we were building the ungrouping experience that we are shipping with Start 11 v1.2, we had two options: reenable the Windows 10 taskbar experience in Windows 11, or rebuild a new taskbar in-house,” Sams explains.

“The quick and easy way is to simply flip a few registry keys, do a little memory patching, and actually reenable the native Windows 10 taskbar in Windows 11. The problem is that if Microsoft decides to pull any of these assets from the OS, the experience will break, and that’s not a scenario we can support.”

“Many of our corporate customers use our StartX apps because it allows them to keep a static experience across every device despite what Microsoft releases with each OS update,” Sams continues. “To make sure we hold true to this principle, we had to build a new taskbar in-house to be able to support our features for the life of the OS.”

Stardock Start11 on Windows 11

(Image credit: Stardock)

With Start11 constantly being updated, Sams was tight-lipped about what users could expect to see in future updates. “This is where the fun begins. Now that we have an in-house taskbar, the door to add new features to it is wide open,” Sams reveals. “We are in the process of evaluating ideas that make sense for our power users, but have nothing to announce currently.”

Finally, some of us on the team remember using ObjectDock, Stardock's app that would bring the Dock of macOS to Windows. As Start11 enables start menus from previous Windows releases, we wondered if ObjectDock could appear on the app in the future. “ObjectDock is a Stardock classic and was the first app I ever used from the company. In fact, it’s how I got connected to the CEO of Stardock, Brad Wardell, many years ago. That connection eventually led to me joining the company to lead the software team.”

Sams continues: “We have discussed updating the app internally, but currently our objectives are focused on making sure that many of our apps are refreshed for Windows 11. Unlike previous versions of Windows where Microsoft provided a long runway from announcement to release, Windows 11 was announced in June and shipped in October – considering the breadth of the Object Desktop portfolio, we still have a lot of work to do.”

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Start11 continues to solve Windows 11’s taskbar issues before Sun Valley 2 arrives

Stardock has updated its Start menu for Windows 11, which brings more options to help manage the Taskbar.

Since the release of Windows 11 in November 2021, reception to the new Start menu has been mixed at best. The centered icons and the fewer features of the Start menu have frustrated some, and while feature updates from Microsoft have refined the Taskbar, users are still wanting more customization.

The recent 1.2 version of Start11 brings the ability to group multiple icons into one on the taskbar, alongside bringing drag and drop to the taskbar from today (March 17), instead of waiting for a future Windows 11 update, most likely Sun Valley 2.

The app is available as a free download for 30 days, after which you can buy a license for $ 4.99 / £5.99 / AU$ 5.99 for your PC.


Analysis: Take note, Microsoft

Start11 on Windows 11

(Image credit: Stardock)

The impressive aspect of Start11 isn't that you can use features that were removed in Windows 11. Rather, it's how you can customize it to levels that Microsoft wouldn't consider including.

From the color scheme of the Taskbar, to changing the design to better mimic the Start menus of Windows XP and Windows 8, Start11 offers that level of curation that Microsoft seemingly hasn't thought of.

In our review of Windows 11 we noted that it was the first step of a reboot to Windows as a whole. We're already seeing the results of this with Windows Media Player returning, and other apps that are finally seeing a design refresh.

But the Start menu is an iconic feature of Windows, ever since it debuted in Windows 95, so any change was bound to spark some debate between users. However, Start11 looks set to ease those concerns, regardless of what Microsoft may have planned for the Start menu in the future.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More

Start11 continues to solve Windows 11’s taskbar issues before Sun Valley 2 arrives

Stardock has updated its Start menu for Windows 11, which brings more options to help manage the Taskbar.

Since the release of Windows 11 in November 2021, reception to the new Start menu has been mixed at best. The centered icons and the fewer features of the Start menu have frustrated some, and while feature updates from Microsoft have refined the Taskbar, users are still wanting more customization.

The recent 1.2 version of Start11 brings the ability to group multiple icons into one on the taskbar, alongside bringing drag and drop to the taskbar from today (March 17), instead of waiting for a future Windows 11 update, most likely Sun Valley 2.

The app is available as a free download for 30 days, after which you can buy a license for $ 4.99 / £5.99 / AU$ 5.99 for your PC.


Analysis: Take note, Microsoft

Start11 on Windows 11

(Image credit: Stardock)

The impressive aspect of Start11 isn't that you can use features that were removed in Windows 11. Rather, it's how you can customize it to levels that Microsoft wouldn't consider including.

From the color scheme of the Taskbar, to changing the design to better mimic the Start menus of Windows XP and Windows 8, Start11 offers that level of curation that Microsoft seemingly hasn't thought of.

In our review of Windows 11 we noted that it was the first step of a reboot to Windows as a whole. We're already seeing the results of this with Windows Media Player returning, and other apps that are finally seeing a design refresh.

But the Start menu is an iconic feature of Windows, ever since it debuted in Windows 95, so any change was bound to spark some debate between users. However, Start11 looks set to ease those concerns, regardless of what Microsoft may have planned for the Start menu in the future.

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Ditch the Microsoft Teams icon from the taskbar to speed up Windows 11

There is a lot to take in if you've moved to Windows 11 from Windows 10, with many of the major changes visible in the taskbar. Yes, there is the repositioned Start button and the centered shortcuts, but there are plenty of other changes too. Just look to the right-hand side of the taskbar, and you'll notice all manner of changes since previous versions of Windows.

As Microsoft has tried to encourage people away from using the likes of Slack and Zoom, the company has been pushing its own Microsoft Teams app. A seemingly innocuous addition to the taskbar has been a shortcut to Teams, and while you may resent giving up space to the icon if you're not a user of the app, there are more reasons to hide the icon than simply saving space in your taskbar.

You might be surprised to learn that so long as the Microsoft Teams icon is housed in the Windows 11 taskbar, it is firing up processes in the background. These Microsoft Edge WebView2 processes are associated with the browser rendering engine, and they use up system resources that could be put to better use.

Drain on resources

The same is true of the Widgets icon that sits in the taskbar but, as developer Michael Niehaus points out, there is key difference between the two icons. While Widgets only launches processes when the icon is clicked, the mere presence of the Teams icon is enough to use up many megabytes of RAM.

If you're not using Teams, you might want to consider simply uninstalling the app. But to avoid the problem of having to reinstall it should you find you need it further down the line, there is an alternative – just hide the icon. This simple act is enough to prevent Teams from gobbling up resources in the background.

If you try right-clicking the Teams icon to delete it, you'll notice that no context menu appears. To remove the icon you will instead have to head to Windows 11's Settings app and go to Personalization > Taskbar, before moving the 'Chats' toggle to the 'Off' position.  

Via Ars Technica

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Windows 11 taskbar is getting fixed (but not in a hurry)

Windows 11 is receiving further attention in terms of ironing out bugs with the taskbar, and there’s been some fresh buzz from the grapevine suggesting that a major change to drag and drop functionality won’t appear until late in 2022.

Windows Latest pointed out that the major development in the works requested by many – the ability to drag and drop apps onto the taskbar, to swiftly and easily create shortcuts to the most commonly used programs – is still underway as previously rumored, with Microsoft testing the feature internally.

The word from sources at Microsoft is that this capability will come to preview builds in a few months, but won’t arrive in the release version of Windows 11 until later in 2022 – it’ll come as part of the 22H2 update.

This aside, Microsoft is also busy on minor fixes for the taskbar, and that includes resolving an issue whereby the battery icon tooltip sometimes mistakenly shows a charge level above 100%. This fix has been applied with the latest preview build 22523 (which emerged a couple of weeks back), and so it should be delivered in a cumulative update soon enough.

Other taskbar bug squashing in that preview build includes fixing an issue where app icons could overlap with the date and time display on secondary monitors, and the solution for a gremlin with ARM64-powered PCs which caused the taskbar’s core UI (search box, Start menu) to become unresponsive.


Analysis: Microsoft dragging (and dropping) its heels – but better late than never

The Windows 11 taskbar has drawn a lot of criticism for some of the changes made by Microsoft in terms of options for tweaking this part of the UI, and in particular losing the drag and drop functionality which is a simple and core part of the Windows experience, let’s face it.

As to the timeframe of the potential return of this feature – and remember, this is just rumored, and only the plans apparently underway at Microsoft currently (which could presumably change) – it’s a little disappointing that we may not get drag and drop back until much later in 2022, in theory.

That said, remember that there isn’t a 22H1 update, as Windows 11 has dropped to a once-per-year cadence for delivering major upgrades, but it’s a long wait until what could be September or October 2022 (or possibly even later) for this feature to make its much-requested return.

We had hoped that maybe Microsoft could squeeze this move in with some kind of a feature pack update beforehand – or online service pack as the company has renamed these with Windows 11 – but it seems not, and drag and drop will only be in testing when it comes to the near-term future.

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