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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Google Chrome 100 won’t break the internet – but could change how you search it

Searching for a query in Google Chrome could soon get much easier, thanks to an upcoming feature that adds a sidebar as you browse the web.

With Google's Chrome web browser approaching version 100, we're already seeing some features that can help change the way you use the browser, such as improvements to closing tabs in Android, and it's likely that we may see other features appear as we approach the big release.

If you have multiple tabs open at once, this could be a great feature for searching as you browse. However, it looks like the sidebar will only show in one tab – it won't stay in the same place as you switch between different tabs.

However, this is still a feature in testing, so the sidebar could change before it appears in a final version of Google Chrome.


How do you enable the side search bar?

Google Chrome Canary showing how to enable Side Search

(Image credit: TechRadar)

As it stands, the sidebar isn't available in Google Chrome 99, but it is in the test version of Chrome, called Canary.

Go to chrome://flags when running Google Chrome Canary version 100, and you'll be brought to the flag page, where you can enable many features in testing.

In the search bar, type in 'Sidebar' and you'll be greeted with three options. Enable all of these, then close and open up the browser.

Search for a query and select the first result. A 'G' icon will appear alongside the address bar. Click on this, which will make the sidebar appear. You can then use this to search for anything else while you browse in the main window.

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Google Chrome 100 won’t break the internet – but could change how you search it

Searching for a query in Google Chrome could soon get much easier, thanks to an upcoming feature that adds a sidebar as you browse the web.

With Google's Chrome web browser approaching version 100, we're already seeing some features that can help change the way you use the browser, such as improvements to closing tabs in Android, and it's likely that we may see other features appear as we approach the big release.

If you have multiple tabs open at once, this could be a great feature for searching as you browse. However, it looks like the sidebar will only show in one tab – it won't stay in the same place as you switch between different tabs.

However, this is still a feature in testing, so the sidebar could change before it appears in a final version of Google Chrome.


How do you enable the side search bar?

Google Chrome Canary showing how to enable Side Search

(Image credit: TechRadar)

As it stands, the sidebar isn't available in Google Chrome 99, but it is in the test version of Chrome, called Canary.

Go to chrome://flags when running Google Chrome Canary version 100, and you'll be brought to the flag page, where you can enable many features in testing.

In the search bar, type in 'Sidebar' and you'll be greeted with three options. Enable all of these, then close and open up the browser.

Search for a query and select the first result. A 'G' icon will appear alongside the address bar. Click on this, which will make the sidebar appear. You can then use this to search for anything else while you browse in the main window.

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You won’t be able to escape Microsoft Teams inside Outlook soon

Escaping Microsoft Teams will soon be trickier than ever after the company announced another partnership for its video conferencing software.

The software giant has revealed that it is working on a new feature that will let users run apps built for Microsoft Teams within its Outlook email service.

The move should make online collaboration and communication a much more seamless and smoother experience, meaning users shouldn't need to constantly switch between Teams and Outlook to stay on top of their work.

Outlook and Teams

According to the official entry on the Microsoft 365 roadmap, the feature is currently in development, with a scheduled release date of December 2022. When released, it will be available for all web and desktop Outlook users across the world.

As well as running apps built for Teams within Outlook, users will also be able to acquire and use these updated Teams apps (including personal tabs and/or search-based message extensions) without leaving the email platform.

The feature could also form part of the highly-rumored all-new Windows 11 email service reportedly in development. Codenamed “Project Monarch”, the service looks to greatly improve email on Windows 11, offering a truly cross-platform experience for users looking to embrace hybrid working.

The new app will reportedly feature an overhauled interface similar to Outlook web, including the rounded corners and icons already seen in a raft of new Windows 11 apps as Microsoft looks to offer a unified design approach across its software suite.

Microsoft has been hard at work recently on a series of updates and upgrades for Outlook as it looks to breathe new life into the often-maligned software. 

This includes an upcoming upgrade that will allow Outlook web users to customize the color of the events in their calendar app, the launch of spelling and grammar checks for Outlook on mobile platform, and another update to let users set a notice showing where they are working, whether that be at home, in the office, or elsewhere.

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Windows 11’s new emoji – including Clippy – won’t be coming to Windows 10

Windows 11 has just got some nifty looking new emoji, as you may recall, which are Fluent-style and modern-looking affairs – but these won’t be coming to Windows 10.

They landed earlier this week as part of a preview update for Windows 11, so are officially still only in testing even on that OS, although Microsoft will send them fully live for Windows 11 in December (on Patch Tuesday, which will be December 14).

The emoji – which include the paperclip being replaced by Clippy, the iconic assistant who pestered, er, we mean helped us in Word back in the day – will not arrive in Windows 10, or at least that appears to be Microsoft’s plan as reported by Windows Latest.

The tech site claims that Microsoft has no intention of drafting the modern emoji over to Windows 10, and that they will remain exclusive to Windows 11, at least for the time being anyway. Windows Latest does further observe that Microsoft might change its mind in the future, though.


Analysis: Emoji aren’t high on most folks’ Windows 10 wish-lists

Of course, many Windows 10 users will say that they won’t especially be losing much sleep over the lack of refreshed emoji, and that’s a fair point. They aren’t a huge deal, and not a reason anyone would be upgrading to Windows 11, that’s for sure.

That said, they are nice to have, and it wouldn’t be much of an effort to pipe them over to Windows 10. Maybe Microsoft feels that they’d stick out a bit as odd, as the old operating system hasn’t had the benefit of the Fluent Design-style makeover that Windows 11 arrived with.

Whatever the reasoning right now, we could see them ported over eventually, as the report observes. In the meantime, Windows 10 users will just have to stick with their tired old vanilla emoji.

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The Sony WH-1000XM4 won’t reinvent noise-cancelling headphones – and they don’t need to

Rumors of the Sony WH-1000XM4 – the successors to the best headphones we've ever tested – have been ramping up in recent months, coming to a head when a Walmart listing that appears to describe all the specs of the new headphones was leaked. 

While the existence of the XM4s is yet to be confirmed by Sony, the Walmart listing revealed the kind of changes (or lack thereof) we can expect over the Sony WH-1000XM3.

Now, normally we would expect a brand to make some significant changes when bringing out a successor to its last pair of headphones. In this instance, however, we’re relieved that Sony hasn’t tinkered too much with its class-leading noise-cancelling headphones.

Instead, it looks like the company is making some very considered tweaks to the XM3, which could genuinely improve the user experience without detracting from a winning design. As they say, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. 

What’s new with the Sony WH-1000XM4?

According to the leaked listing, one of these tweaks is the ability to connect more than one audio source to the headphones at once; multipoint pairing is something users of the XM3s have been calling out for, and it will allow you to pair the WH-1000XM4s with your laptop and your smartphone at the same time. 

There should also be a slight improvement to the sound quality. A feature known as  “Edge-AI” can restore the detail lost in highly compressed audio files by upscaling them in real time, which Sony says delivers sound “as close as possible to that of a wired connection.”

Wireless headphones have long been considered inferior to their wired counterparts in terms of audio fidelity, so this tweak will likely appease audiophiles who haven’t yet committed to cutting the cord.

Connectivity in general should be improved too, as Sony makes the leap from Bluetooth 4.2 to Bluetooth 5, which brings faster pairing times, connectivity over longer distances, and stronger pairing in high traffic areas.

sony wh-1000xm3

The Sony WH-1000XM3.

Anyone who has used the Sony WH-1000XM3s to make phone calls should notice an improvement in the sound quality as well, with a feature called Precise Voice Pickup that uses the headphones’ five microphones and advanced audio signal processing to make your voice sound clearer.

The noise cancellation that made the Sony WH-1000XM3s so popular is also due an upgrade. According to the leaked listing, a feature called Adaptive Sound Control will “learn to recognize locations you frequently visit, such as your workplace or your favorite cafe.”

“In addition it automatically detects what you’re up to – for example, walking, waiting, or traveling – and then adjusts ambient sound settings to best suit the situation,” says Sony. This is a feature that’s already been brought to the XM3s via a firmware update, so we've had a bit of a preview already. 

These are all smart tweaks to already-great features. So what’s staying the same with the Sony WH-1000XM4?

What’s staying the same?

Aside from these little tweaks and upgrades, the new XM4s seem to be very similar to their predecessors.

It looks like there won’t be any material changes to the design of the Sony WH-1000XM4s, which we think is a great thing. We loved how comfortable the XM3s felt, with big padded earcups and a soft headband.

They also looked great, with a sleek, minimalist build that appeals to a wide range of people, and we liked the touchpad controls – another feature that will be making a return. 

The sound quality shouldn’t change substantially either, aside from that AI upscaling feature that will help to curb the data loss from highly compressed files. Judging from the leaked listing, the XM4s will use the same 40mm drivers as their predecessors and support for Sony’s LDAC transmission technology – and as the XM3s are among the best-sounding headphones on the planet, we’re happy to see that the audio profile hasn’t been tweaked too much.

Some may be disappointed to find that there’s no improvement to battery life – but with 30 hours of juice, the Sony WH-1000XM3 weren’t exactly short-lived. Plus, with a return of USB-C fast charging, the XM4s shouldn’t take too long to top up. 

A considered approach

Sony has a history of making careful tweaks to its products with each upgrade, and it’s something we’ve seen with the brand’s noise-cancelling 1000X range before. 

It’s a great way of instilling a sense of trust in the products, and it makes us feel confident that each new upgrade will bring genuinely useful updates, rather than skin-deep design changes that don’t really improve the experience of using the headphones. 

Sony wouldn’t be able to be subtle with its upgrades to the 1000X series if the original product wasn’t so good – and in a market where every company is trying to outdo one and other with headline-grabbing features like gesture controls and built-in AI (like the TicPods Pro 2), it’s a risky move to let the sound, feel, and look of the headphones speak for itself. That's especially true with the first-ever Apple over-ear headphones looking like they're going to launch in a matter of weeks and shake up the headphones market.

Trends (or gimmicks, if you prefer) like virtual 3D audio, bone conduction, and crazy form factors (see: the Bose Frames) may come and go – but we don’t think there will ever be a time when people won’t want a great-sounding pair of noise-cancelling headphones that do their job with minimal fuss. 

Hopefully, that’s exactly what the Sony WH-1000XM4 will do when they’re finally released – and with this recent leak, it’s only a matter of time before we can get our hands on them and find out for ourselves.

Can't wait until then? Check out the best Sony WH-1000XM3 deals we've found today:

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Nearly 100 Apple Stores in the US will reopen this week, but most won’t let you inside

Almost 100 more Apple Stores are reopening in the US this week, but in most locations, they still won’t let you walk inside: instead, they’re offering curbside or storefront service only.

Apple Stores began reopening in early May with a four-state rollout, which expanded to 11 states later in the month. The next wave of openings will enlarge that list to 28 states, with the majority of locations located in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas, according to 9to5Mac

It’s not totally clear why some locations are permitting in-store service while others aren’t, but it likely depends on local laws in various state, which have had different approaches to reopening public spaces as the coronavirus outbreak continues. Most of the Apple Stores reopening this week are restricted to curbside and storefront service only, but those that allow in-store service are almost all located in California, Florida, and Texas.

It’s also not clear when locations that only offer storefront and curbside service will open further to allow customers inside, but in the meantime, they’ll still permit order pick-ups (say, if you order an iPhone 11 for in-store pickup) and Genius Bar appointments so long as folks engage in state-required protective measures, like wearing masks and/or submitting to temperature checks.

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Apple Store reopenings: a different case in different countries

Following the course of the coronavirus outbreak, Apple Stores in China closed in February and began reopening in March right as the company confirmed that US stores would be closed ‘until further notice.’

While that seemed indefinite, a leaked internal memo revealed Apple had set a target of early May for reopening US stores, and has followed that projected window. Given the company has safely reopened Apple Stores across countries recovering from the Covid-19 outbreak, we’ll likely see more US locations turn their lights back on in the coming weeks. 

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