Windows 11’s most controversial change is its taskbar. Microsoft redesigned the taskbar by locking it at the bottom of the screen. It still shows your pinned apps, running apps, open windows, and system. However, some Windows 11 taskbar features are limited. For example, it cannot be moved to any other screen edge.
Another limitation is users cannot ungroup taskbar icons. This is one of the most criticised changes in the OS. A Feedback Hub post titled “update the Windows 11 taskbar to support never combining app icons and showing labels” has more than 26,000 upvotes and 2,000 comments. One user explains how it is the “biggest annoyance of Windows 11”.
“There is no point of having all this taskbar real estate when only a couple of inches of it is getting used,” they noted. Another user explained how they needed to rely on third-party tools to use an option that should have been included in Windows 11.
“Without the never combine feature, the taskbar is no better than the MacOS dock for me,” another user added. There are several other limitations too. For example, you cannot add toolbars or third-party extensions to your taskbar or move it to any other screen edge.
The taskbar experience is a step backwards from previous versions of the OS, including Windows 8. The official and technical explanation for the downgrade is the Taskbar was rebuilt from the ground up, which means all features need to be rebuilt.
Legacy features are coming in the fall
According to sources familiar with the development, Microsoft is finally working on returning the ability to ungroup taskbar icons/items or buttons. The feature is called the “never combine” Taskbar, which was first added to the OS with Windows 7.
With this feature, you can restore the classic Windows 10 behaviour where the same app won’t be grouped under one icon.
The feature is coming in the fall, and Microsoft is also restoring the ability to show app titles, which was removed with Windows 11 21H2. The never combine option is present in the public builds, but it doesn’t work now, and codes to make the feature work are missing.
On Patch Tuesday, Microsoft released Windows 11 Moment 2 update (KB5023706), which brought back the switch between two modes of the taskbar on tablets – expanded and collapsed. Last year, Microsoft also added back the ability to drag and drop files between app icons on the Taskbar.
We expect more functionality to return over the coming months, including moving the taskbar to the screens’ top, left or right side.