As you’re probably aware, Microsoft is A/B testing new designs for the ‘search’ feature on Windows 11 taskbar in the production builds. The A/B test includes a design that is similar to Windows 10’s search bar.
The taskbar is one of the most disliked features of the new operating system and many were hoping for instant improvements following Windows 11’s original release. For example, many of us have hoped that ability to move or resize the taskbar would be added to Windows 11. Instead, Microsoft is experimenting with design tweaks for the taskbar.
This new search bar is smaller than the search bar on Windows 11 and it certainly fits in Microsoft’s WinUI or Fluent Design. Of course, it works in pretty much the same way. If you click on the search bar, a search UI will pop up on the desktop, allowing you to search files on the internet or local storage.
The problem with Windows 11’s updated search bar is that it replaces the tiny search icon that many people preferred over a large search text banner. While Windows 10 allows you to switch between the search (magnifying glass) button and bar, an option to disable this new design is not available on Windows 11.
This is frustrating for a number of reasons. Thankfully, it looks like Microsoft is finally addressing people’s complaints about the restricted search bar feature in Windows 11
In the latest preview builds, Microsoft has finally started testing a feature that lets you switch between search designs for the taskbar.
There are four new options in Settings > Personalization > Taskbar: Hide (this would simply remove the search feature from the taskbar), search icon only (a simple magnifying glass button), search box (a giant search bar), and search button (a button with a small search text).
Of course, it goes without saying that Microsoft is messing around with unwanted taskbar features instead of bringing back the basic functionalities removed with Windows 11.
Thankfully, Microsoft is not planning to change the functionality of Search in any way, so you could always use it to search for apps, documents, and pictures on the internet or the computer’s local storage.
This new toggle is being tested in the preview builds and we don’t know when it will begin rolling out to all testers. At the same time, there’s no indication of when the feature will become available in Windows 11 version 22H2 (production).